In 1785, on this day 15th President of the United States John McLean was born in Morris County, New Jersey.
Birth of the Politician on the Supreme CourtHe was an American jurist and politician who served in the United States Congress, as U.S. Postmaster General, and as a justice on the Ohio and U.S. Supreme Courts. Because of his positions on anti-slavery extension he was often discussed for the Whig and Republican nominations for President.
While Postmaster General, McLean supported Andrew Jackson, who offered him the posts of Secretary of War and Secretary of the Navy. McLean declined both and was instead appointed to the Supreme Court by Jackson on March 6, 1829, to a seat vacated by Robert Trimble. McLean was confirmed by the United States Senate on March 7, 1829, receiving his commission the same day.
Known as "The Politician on the Supreme Court", he associated himself with every party on the political spectrum, moving from a Jackson Democrat, to the Anti-Jackson Democrats, the Anti-Masonic Party, the Whigs, the Free Soilers, and finally the Republicans. Through the 1830s and 1840s, he was frequently discussed as a potential Whig presidential candidate.
But he finally entered the Executive Branch of the Federal Government when President John Tyler offered him the post of Secretary of War. And because of his anti-slavery-extension positions, he was considered by the new Republican party as a candidate in 1856. He narrowly beat John C. Frémont and went onto beat John Buchanan in the fall.
In 2011, a devastating earthquake, initially estimated at Richter magnitude 8.9 but later upgraded to magnitude 9.0, struck Japan's divided island of Honshu.
Meltdown in North JapanIts epicenter was located in the Miyagi prefecture, within the People's Democratic Republic of Japan, commonly known in the West as North Japan. The PDRJ had been established in 1947 under the direction of occupation forced from the Soviet Union following the invasion of the Japanese Home Islands which ended the Pacific phase of World War II.
The earthquake was discovered to have done serious damage to the Fukushima Dai-Ichi Nuclear Power Plant located in the town of Okuma in the Futaba District of Fukushima Prefecture, whose namesake city had been permanently established as the capital of North Japan in 1948. The seriousness of the damage was concealed for several days by the Communist regime of "People's Secretary" Tadayoshi Ichida, by which time at least two of the plant's six reactors were approaching meltdown despite the efforts of technicians and drafted labor to shut them down. Additionally, a cooling pool for spent fuel rods was reported to have dried up, leaving the fiercely radioactive and highly flammable rods exposed to the air.
A new article by Eric LippsThe accident was greeted with horror in Tokyo, capital of the Republic of Japan, AKA South Japan. It was feared that in the event of a meltdown a huge plume of radioactive material might - depending on the direction of the wind at the time - drift southward across the demilitarized zone separating the two Japans just north of Tokyo. Although no Japanese cities had ever been subjected to nuclear attack, the images from Kaesong and Pyongyang after the bombings of September 9 and 12, 1952, had left a deep impression upon the Japanese people, many of whom became convinced that the U.S. had been willing to use this weapon in Korea because its targets were nonwhite. A 1995 alternative history novel, The Fallen Sun, depicted a world in which the German discovery of uranium fission had occurred not in December 1939, after the outbreak of the Second World War, but a year earlier, so that word of the discovery was not suppressed by the Nazi regime before reaching the West. As a result, in the novel, the war ended in late 1945 following the atomic bombing of two Japanese cities, forestalling the planned joint U.S.-Soviet invasion which resulted in the division of the land of the Rising Sun. The novel, first published in Japan, proved highly popular in the U.S. and Europe - and highly controversial both in Japan and abroad for its suggestion that such a world might in some ways be better, even for Japan, than the "real" one in which others had been the first to die beneath a mushroom cloud.
The secretive North Japanese government showed its desperation when, on March 14, it revealed just how seriously it had been harmed by the earthquake, and in particular how dangerous the situation had become at the Fukushima facility. Offers of help followed from the U.S., Europe, the Korean Union and even South Japan, which had itself sustained serious damage in the March 11 quake. The question was whether that aid would be enough, and in time enough, to avert an even greater disaster.
In 1649, like most revolutions, the French Fronde began because of money. Participation in the Thirty Years War had helped France weaken its Hapsburg competitors by supporting Sweden against Austria and then going into direct war with Spain in 1635, but the coffers of the king had run dry and all the fighting had not delivered France any greater power over Europe.
Parlement Rejects Peace of Rueil Instead, it had created a generation of battle-hardened, unemployed young men who had fought under their own leadership in Germany. The nation had been turned into a powder keg, and taxation would be the match.
The Thirty Years War was nearly closed with the Peace of Westphalia, but the ongoing war with Spain needed more funding. Cardinal Mazarin, who had taken over after the death of Cardinal Richelieu, effectively ruled France while the young King Louis XIV was being groomed toward adulthood. He knew he could not tax the princes without losing political power, so he decided to tax the Parlement of Paris, the elected officials of the bourgeoisie. Unlike the Parliament of England, which held the right to tax, the Parlement acted more like the tribunes of Ancient Rome, speaking up in judicial review of laws passed by the royal Court. Strictly, Parlement was a council for advice and meant to record the law, but Mazarin's measure in May of 1648 had been a step taken too far. Taxes had built upon the middle class for some time, and they now marched out against it. Not only did Parlement refuse to pay, but they demanded reform to eliminate previous unfair taxes.
A new story by Jeff ProvineMazarin, a cardinal in anti-cardinal Paris, bought time for some months when victory over the Spanish at the Battle of Lens gave his government clout. He arrested those who stood against him, but the action only led to uprising. Barricades were erected in the streets, and panic erupted. The nobles called for the first union of the Estates General since 1615 to arrange for an army, but cardinal-led royals realized that would give them an unbeatable upper hand. Instead, Mazarin and the royalty fled. With the Treaty of Westphalia, the Prince of Conde returned with his army to begin to besiege a divided Paris. Terms of peace began to be discussed, but Parlement saw its one chance for a leap forward against the royalists. Taking up allies among the nobles, particularly Prince of Conti (brother of Conde and distantly royal), they appealed to Spain for aid. Conti invaded the north of France, and the country fell into civil war, mirroring the one that had been seen in England only a few years before. The Fronde (named after the sling Parisians had used to smash windows) had begun and would drag on for ten years.
Spanish aid would buy Parlement time to build their faction, but it would ultimately run out as Spain fell to its own "fronde". Campaigns crisscrossed France, and the tide of battle ebbed and flowed until Parlement and its noble allies finally triumphed over the royals. Rather than exiling their king as the English had done, the French embraced the young Louis XIV (pictured), who would initially struggle against the strong constitution that bound him. Still, he would rule effectively and prove an impeccable statesman and politician, guiding his Parlement to grant funds for public works, such as the Gardens of the People at Versailles.
The success of a parliamentary system on the Continent would magnify the advances in political theory made in England. Absolutism would be seen as a great evil, even though the committees and councils of Parlement would be unquestionable at various points, turning France against Sweden as well as its old opponents in Austria and Spain, who effectively defeated their republicans. The next century was tumultuous as England, the Netherlands, France, and several smaller republics in Italy and Germany would be pitted against the ideals of absolutists, which would eventually fall to their own revolutions.
Ultimately, however, the system would prove corruptible. Massive bureaucracy and political impotence would call for a return of seemingly royal powers to a single person who would be direct in using it, ushering in a new era of "fascism" under powerful rulers such as Governor-General Nathaniel Greene, Napoleon of Corsica, Lord Protector Arthur Wellesley.
In 1777, in a symbolic act of reconstruction, loyalist Thomas Hutchinson returned from Canada on this day to be reinstated as royal governor of the Massachussetts Colony.
Canada in CrisisPrior to his exile, Hutchinson believed that the Parliament should be controlling the thirteen colonies but he wasn't a supporter of the Stamp act. Even though he wasn't a supporter of the Stamp Act, he still enforced the tax. This caused a mob of angry patriots to go to Thomas Hutchison's house and burn it. His house had the most enriched library ever in the thirteen colonies. He was the symbol of loyalty during the pre-Revolutionary period, and he was also one of the most hated people in Boston.
Like Hutchinson, over fifty thousand American loyalists had fled north of the border, but they had neither accepted that their cause was lost, nor their society dismantled. And so it proved to be the case, quite contrary to the prediction from the rebel John Adams that the revolution took place in the hearts and minds of the American people before the fighting ever started. Because the "American Crisis" had abruptly ended when Commander-in-Chief William Howe's rampant British troops caught up with the bedraggled rebel army just outside Hackensack, New Jersey.
Trouble was the imperial government needed way more than fifty thousand loyalists to restore imperial rule in the reconstructed royal colonies. And in their unseemly haste, the British unwittingly depopulated Upper Canada. Because the communities in provinces such as Ontario that had begun to prosper over the previous four years were soon abandoned as no longer viable.
In 1856, on this day the disasterous foreign and military policies of the British Government were savagely exposed by an opportunistic cross-Channel invasion from the new steam-powered French Navy.
Allies in DisarrayNapoleon III's anglophobe ministers had encouraged the British to strike the Russian fortress at Kronstadt, a naval campaign that would guarantee victory in the Crimean War. And so an armada of 250 Royal Navy ships, many especially built under orders, asssembled in the Solent and sailed for Northern Russia. Meanwhile, Napoleon III (pictured) travelled in person to lead his troops besieging Sevastapol.
In his absence, a political convulsion in France brought to power military and naval commanders who had served under Bonaparte, and who recognised a once in a lifetime opportunity to reverse the injustice of his defeats at Trafalgar and Waterloo. Because many of those admirals and generals had participated as young men in those very battles and were burning to get even with "perfidious albion". Until his departure for Russia, these hotheads had only been held in check by the Emperor's presence in France.
On this day in 2019, fans of Japan's Hanshin Tigers baseball team held a parade to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the recovery of the famous Colonel Sanders statue from the Osaka River. That find was believed by many of the Tigers faithful to have ended a long-standing jinx on the club and played a part in its subsequent run of nine consecutive Japan World Series pennants.
In 1995, President Sam Nunn submits 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, oppose this idea, which some complain amounts to the creation of an 'American Gestapo.'
Rep. Helen Chenoweth of Idaho, who has 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, will be particularly outspoken - but she will have unlikely allies among civil libertarians from the President's own party.
Nunn will defend 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 antiterrorist force.
In 1837, the Battle of Bangor: 10,000 British troops seize the strategically located Maine town, overwhelming 2,000 defenders.
The British have seized the opportunity presented by the presidential succession crisis in the United States following the death of President James Madison to launch a military expedition across the disputed U.S.-Canadian border.
In Washington, no one yet knows what has happened. Instead, everyone is preoccupied with the ongoing impasse in the House of Representatives over choosing a lifetime successor to Madison. The withdrawal of Daniel Webster from the race has failed to break the deadlock between the remaining candidate, Tennessee's Andrew Jackson and South Carolina's John Calhoun. Calhoun's supporters in the House of Representatives launch parliamentary maneuvers aimed at forestalling a Senate vote for the presidency. Although they have been successful in blocking the election of anyone else in the House, they fear that in the Senate their man's defeat is inevitable.
But although the actual capture of Bangor is not yet known to the U.S. government, reports that British troops have crossed the border and are constructing fortifications on the American side have arrived in the U.S. capital, prompting Acting President Jackson to summon the British ambassador to the presidential residence, where Jackson delivers an ultimatum: if the British do not remove their troops immediately upon the responsible authorities' receipt of this notice, a state of war between the United States and Great Britain will be considered to be in effect.
Ambassador Henry Fox's response borders on the contemptuous. I shall convey your words, he tells Jackson. However, the government and armed forces of Great Britain shall respond as they think best.
On this day in 2008, New York State governor Eliot Spitzers wife Silda filed for divorce just 24 hours after learning her husband had patronized a high-priced prostitution ring.
|Driving to Kashmir|
"Whoa, let the sun beat down upon my face and stars to fill my dream. I am a traveler of both time and space to be where I have been. T' sit with elders of the gentle race this world has seldom seen. Th' talk of days for which they sit and wait all will be revealed" ~ Robert Anthony Plant, 1973 AD.
"Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, 'My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will" ~ Gospel of Matthew 26:39, 80 AD.
In 2008 and thirty-five years later, Robert Plant finally explained the mystery behind the lyrics to Driving to Kashmir, written whilst driving through the Sahara Desert in Morocco in 1973.
Confusingly for Led Zeppelin fans, Kashmir is a lush mountain region North of Pakistan. The area is famous for growing poppies, from which heroin is made, suggesting to some that the state of consciousness described in the lyrics is drug induced. Not so, said Plant, he had experienced a vision of our Lord. From Gethsemane to the Indian subcontinent, where the Father had permitted him to flee.
In 2008, Henry Blodget of the Huffington Post wrote ~
"Should a public company have to tell its shareholders that its CEO has been diagnosed with a life-threatening illness? In the case of Steve Jobs, a CEO who was arguably Apple's single most valuable asset, I think the answer is "yes"."
Blodget was commenting on the latest issue of Fortune, in which Peter Elkind dredges up some old news about Apple and Jobs--the backdating scandal, a 2003 bout with pancreatic cancer--but he also adds a new twist to the latter: Jobs and Apple's board knew about Jobs' cancer for 9 months before they disclosed it to Apple's shareholders.
Elkind's story was titled "The Trouble with Steve Jobs," and he suggests Jobs was reckless about his cancer because he pursued a diet treatment instead of getting an operation.
The issue of a controversial one. In the aftermath of Jobs tragic death, and Apple's subsequent sale to Sony it is unclear which company owned the rights to the Sony wonder products. Apple fans claim that Sony POD, Sony Phone or indeed the "Internet in Your Pocket" concept were developed by Jobs during his final months.
In 2004, Jacob and Livinia Sheridon, convinced that the ship they are on has been taken over by the crabs from Titan, convince most of the crew to abandon ship and head off in the smaller life boats. Sheridan uses his cell phone to call Australia and tells the Prime Minister, 'We're in it again, Mr. Howard.'
In 1996, Comrade Vice President Clifton Robertson dies at his home in Washington. The comrade had been a valuable and loyal second-in command to Comrade President Gus Hall in the 60's and early 70's, and had paved the way for Comrade Hall's historic trip to Brazil.
In 1992, Prime Minister John Major of Great Britain announces the beginning of the Emergency Martial Assistance Program, a thinly disguised pretense to arm embattled Brazil in its struggle to keep the United States from dominating the entire western hemisphere. President Ralph Shephard of the U.S. denounces the program as a virtual declaration of war, but does nothing to stop the British.
In 1952, Mikhail von Heflin's strength finally gives out on him, and he collapses outside the small East German village of Trentgard. Velma Porter is still unconscious as well when they are found by villagers and taken to the local doctor, Ivan Menchekov.
In 1943, a Dutch contingent of the German Underground forms in The Netherlands. Most of the populace resists them; the Dutch enjoyed life under the Greater Zionist Resistance, and bitterly hate the G.U. Dutch resistance against the G.U. was the fiercest of any country in Europe.
In 1818, The Modern Prometheus, a Scientific Romance of a doctor's quest to create life, is published by Mary Wollstonecraft. The deeply philosophical work brought the S.R. genre to a new level; it had been flagging since it's heyday in the 17th century with the works of Cyrano de Bergerac.
In 1544, poet Torquato Tasso is born into the Speaker's Line in Sorrento, Italy. His poems utilized da Vinci's code to help spread news to the Speaker's Children around Europe. His work was the first to utilize the Renaissance master's code for this purpose.
In 1290 AUC, the Roman Empire comes to an end as the Goths sack and destroy the fabled city, not leaving one stone standing on another. For a half a century, no one will even approach the city's remains for fear of the ghosts rumored to haunt its seven hills.
In 1917, Baghdad fell to the Anglo-Indian forces commanded by General Maude who famously declared 'Our armies do not come into your cities and lands as liberators, but as conquerors.' Many insurgency attempts have been suppressed, most notably with the capture of the Shadow (Saddam Hussein Abd al-Majidida al-Tikriti) on December 13, 2003 yet Mesopotamia remains annexed by the British Empire to this day.
In 1955, Sir Alexander Fleming - the man who first discovered the life-saving drug antigerone - died of a heart attack. He was 73.
For many years, Sir Alexander was Professor of Bacteriology in the University of London and until last year was head of the Wright-Fleming Institute of Micro-Biology at St Mary's hospital, Paddington. The young scientist served in a battlefield hospital laboratory in France during World War I. When he saw how many soldiers were dying from infections he became determined to find a cure. His first notable discovery was lysozyme in 1922. It is a naturally-occurring antibacterial substance, found in tears and other body fluids.
In 1929 when Fleming accidentally dropped a speck of lichen specimen into a bowl of milk, he sees that the milk does not turn sour around the speck. Along with Sir Francis Saxover, the scientists developed a drug, named Antigerone, from the lichen which slows down the body's aging process. Saxover distributed the product to his family, Fleming chose not to.
1985, BBC News reported - Gorbachev becomes Soviet leader: 'There is a new man in charge at the Kremlin - Mikhail Gorbachev takes over following the death of Konstantin Chernenko.' Through a careful process of reorganization, Gorbachev steered the Soviet away from imminent collapse. The arrival of oil revenues in the late nineteen-nineties ensure the long-term viability of the superpower.
In 1988, a ceasefire is declared in the Iran-Iraq War. The family of Saddam Hussein-al-Tikriti is executed in Baghdad, with the House of Pahlavi not far behind. It appeared that Muhammed Ali Jinnah's prediction of Pakistan as the 'Fort of Islam' was wrong, it would instead be here in the Middle East. In the new revolutionary state of Iran-Iraq - the reborn United Arab Republic.
In 1988, a ceasefire is declared in the Iran-Iraq War. The House of Pahlavi flee the country, abdicating the Shahanshahs sixty-three year rule of Persia. Iraq stands astride the Middle East as the regional superpower, and the Gulf States fear immiment attack from Baghdad.
In 1988, on this day a ceasefire was declared in the Iran-Iraq War. Having armed Saddam Hussein against Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, America was not confronted with the scenario of two hostile regional powers. A change of plan was required, and direct intervention was highly likely.
In 1988, a ceasefire is declared in the Iran-Iraq War. Vice President George Bush had hoped to recover the Extraterrestrial Technology (ET) buried in Iraq under cover of warfare, but his Iranian proxies had failed him despite being beneficiaries of Colonel Oliver Norths Arms for Extraterrestrial Technology exchange. It was looking increasingly likely that the plan he had envisaged in 1975 whilst CIA Director would require an invasion, and for that he needed to win the presidency that very year. Bush was starting to realise he was in for the long-hall, not yet realising he was only thirteen years into a thirty-five year project that would extend to the final year of his son's Presidency.
In 1993, Janet Reno was confirmed by the United States Senate and sworn-in the next day, becoming the first female Attorney General of the United States. She took personal charge of the Waco Incident, drawing the wrath of the necromancer David Koresh who trapped her spirit in a tree. She escaped but suffered acute physiological damage. By way of subterfuge in 1995 Reno revealed that she had Parkinson's disease, an incurable degenerative illness that causes muscular stiffness and involuntary trembling.
In 1916, combat tension created a new and frightening level of intensity for Second Lieutenant John Ronald Reuel Tolkien.
Serving in the eleventh battalion of the Lancashire Fusiliers, Tolkien's imagination was over-stimulated by the horror of the Somme. In escapist fantasy writing, Tolkien's inner hero struggled to restore his own dissipated life force.
|Ships Burn at Losgar|
So it was in that place called Losgar at the outlet of the Firth of Drengist ended the fairest vessels that ever sailed the sea, in a great burning , bright and terrible. And Fingolfin and his people saw the lights afar off, red beneath the clouds; and they knew they were betrayed. This was the first fruits of the Kinslaying and the Doom of the Nolder.' ('Of the Flight of Noldor')
In 1985, Mikhail Gorbachev became Russian Prime Minister launching Perestroika and its attendant radical reforms in a determined attempt to prevent the Tsarist State from melting down. Gorby's 'new thinking' was welcomed abroad, but the pace of reform at home was too slow. On Christmas Day 1991 Boris Yeltsin declared himself the President of the new Russian Republic thereby ending the world's largest and most influential monarchy. Economic relations between the former Russian provinces were severely compromised. Millions of native Russians found themselves in the newly formed 'foreign' countries.
In 241 B C, Carthagian Fleet Victorious at Aegates Islands.
Carthagian Fleet Victorious at Aegates IslandsThe Roman Republic had expanded its control throughout Italy by conquest and forced treaties to create a potent confederation. Sicily, just beyond the tip of southern Italy, lay as a foreign land ruled by tyrants from powerful Syracuse and smaller cities in alliance with the Mediterranean naval power Carthage. The Greek king Pyrrhus attempted to carve out an empire in Southern Italy and Sicily, but the allied efforts of the Romans and Carthaginians managed to defeat him. In the wake of the war, mercenaries left behind in Sicily called Mamertines ("Sons of Mars") seized the northeastern city of Messana and sparked a war with Syracuse. The Mamertines called for aid from both Carthage and Rome hoping to secure themselves, but instead they caused the two superpowers to declare war upon one another in 264 BC.
A new article by Jeff ProvineThe Romans were expert warriors in the field, and they landed their legions at Messana to begin a siege against Syracuse. The Carthaginians, meanwhile, maintained their navy and depended on holding a few key fortresses on the island with a small mercenary force to ensure control of the island. When the Romans stormed Syracuse, however, and caused it to switch sides, the Carthaginians lost their historical grip on the island. A relief force arrived to stop the Roman advance as they besieged Agrigentum, but the Carthaginians were stolidly defeated in the resulting battle. Meanwhile, the Romans adapted themselves to naval warfare, creating the corvus, a spiked plank that could grip enemy ships and allow foot soldiers to overwhelm opposing sailors. At the Battle of Mylae in 260 BC, the Romans shocked and defeated the Carthaginian fleet. The Carthaginian commander, Hannibal, was seized by his men and crucified for incompetence.
Over the next five years, Rome continued to advance, even raiding Africa itself. In 255, the Carthaginians hired Spartan general Xanthippus, who drove off the Romans at Tunis. The fleeing Roman ships were devastated in a sudden storm, wiping out the victorious Roman fleet. Still invigorated, the Romans built a new fleet of some 140 ships and continued to roll across Sicily until another storm destroyed that fleet, too. Storms destroyed ship after ship and raids on Africa proved ineffectual, stalling any great advantage of Roman naval superiority. The corvus was blamed and abandoned.
In 249 BC at Drepana, the war turned toward the good of Carthage. They won an overwhelming naval victory by pinning the Romans against the shore, and the newly arrived infantry general Hamilcar Barca ended Roman advantages on land. For years, Sicily would become a stalemate with sieges and counter-sieges giving neither empire a chance for a victory in the field.
In 244 BC, seeing the war with Rome as an unnecessary drain on the public wealth, Carthaginian leader Hanno the Great (who had earned his epithet with victories in Africa) pushed to decrease the navy. There had not been a naval battle in years, and most of the assembly agreed with him. As Carthage minimized its fleet, Rome determined in 242 to build up a new force and besiege the ports in Sicily that kept Barca in supply.
Carthage responded in haste by rebuilding their fleet. While most concerned themselves more about the number of ships involved, equating numerical might to victory, it became clear that the ships were undermanned. The two fleets met at the Aegates Islands as Carthaginian commander Hanno (not to be confused with Hanno the Great) was en route to relieve Barca's fortresses. Seeing the stripped-down Roman fleet had left its sails on shore and relying fully on rowers, Hanno recalled his defeats at Agrigentum and Cape Ecnomus and the Romans' impressive use of maneuverability. Using the favorable wind, Hanno ordered his fleet to feign retreat. The Romans, ready for final victory, gave pursuit. After several miles, when the Roman rowers became exhausted, the Carthaginians turned back with fresh rowers and annihilated the Roman fleet by ramming and fire ships.
Victory celebrations rang through Carthage, but word also trickled back about the grand promises Hamilcar had made to keep the mercenary army from rebelling. They had largely gone unpaid, living on rations and visions of great wealth from conquests. The years of stalemate had taken a toll, and already Hamilcar had to put down revolts. It became clear to the assembly that even taking a draw in the war would have severe consequences.
Hanno the Great's antiwar faction capitulated, and Carthage began to launch raids on the Italian coast to incite revolt from among the newly conquered Etrurians in the north and Greek city-states in the south. Rome found itself in a pincer as well as cut off from Sicily, which slid back under Carthaginian influence as mercenaries won their prizes. Worried about security at home, the Romans finally agreed to a truce with Carthage and returned to solidifying their control over the Italian peninsula.
Wars in the next years with Illyricum and Gaul caused expansion northward and east across the Adriatic Sea. Rome became embroiled with another Mediterranean power, Macedon, in wars through the second century BC that eventually gave Rome control over Greece. Carthage, meanwhile, continued to expand into Iberia and southward along Africa's western coast with their mighty navy and managed to avoid being pulled into the Roman-Macedonian conflicts. The two empires continued side-by-side until inevitable disputes arose over Gaul as Romans expanded past the Alps.
The Second Punic War (121-70 BC) would again see drawn-out sieges and bids for naval superiority with the Romans at last achieving domination over the western Mediterranean in addition to conquests in the east by the general Sulla in the 80s. The war proved a solidifying force for the Republic, whose heroes exhibited humility as well as glory. Necessity cleansed the bureaucracies, and Rome became effective at ruling its provinces. After the war, a younger set of would-be heroes, Crassus and his general Caesar, would march on Germania in a disastrous campaign in 54 BC. Largely the Republic wished for peace under leaders such as the military-minded Pompey, civic Cicero, and philosopher Cato. Centuries later, the peace would end as Germanic and Celtic hordes sacked and broke up the empire.
In 1953, on this day Winny Churchill, Al Schicklegruber and a host of other contemporary artists travelled to the town of Gori to attend the funeral of the diminutive Georgian Painter, Joe Stalin.
Death of the Little SquirtBorn Ioseb Besarionis dze Jughashvili, as a rebellious young man he had adopted the pen name of Stalin, or "man of steel". Of course this characteristic was applied to the determination of his mind, rather than his body. Because by the age of twelve, two horse-drawn carriage accidents left his left arm permanently damaged. And during the Great War he was deemed unfit for service.
The forthright American painter Harry S. Truman labelled him the "Little Squirt" even though Stalin at five foot four was barely a head shorter than Truman, himself hardly a giant measuring just five foot nine.
A new installment from the "Happy Hitler Artist" ThreadDespite these physical limitations, he could paint rather well. And yet for evidence of Stalin's various frustrations one has only to look at his troubled output during his "red rage period". Churchill for one could surely understand Stalin's schizophrenic mental state, the two sides separated by the artistic expression which he labelled an "iron curtain". Winny reflected upon his own challenges; during his period of isolation in the early nineteen thirties, he recalled that he quit painting altogether to work as an illustrator for various Science Fiction and Fantasy pulps of the Depression Era.
Yet despite the emotional characters present, the funeral _itself_ was remarkably calm. And the highlight perhaps was the reading of a delightful verse by the Chinese poet, Mao Zedong. Of course afterwards was a different matter, Churchill for one got riotously drunk, although Schicklegruber, being teetotal, departed early rather than watch his colleagues get blitzkrieged.
In 1778, fatally pierced by splinters from the mizzen yard, John Adams murmoured "I ought to do my Share of fighting" before expiring in the arms of his ten-year old son John Quincy onboard the Continental Navy frigate Boston.
Heavy Metal by Ed & David TennerAlthough the Boston had been chased by Royal Navy warships ever since she departed for France on February 15th, the decision to engage a British letter of marque had been Captain John Tucker's alone. The prize was the Martha, a privateer en route to New York with eighty thousand guineas worth of cargo that would be an immensely profitable capture for the revolutionaries. And perhaps because of that overexcitement, Adams rashly disobeyed Tucker's order for passengers to remain below deck - he had just come topside when the Martha fired its fateful shot. The Boston then turned broadside towards the Martha which promptly struck her colours. After ordering his officers not to fire, Tucker, not accustomed to being disobeyed, hurried angrily toward John Quincey and demanded to know why his father had exposed himself to danger.
Over fifty years later as President, he would describe that moment when the iron entered his soul and gave him the strength to prevent the dissolution of the Union in the midst of the bloody slave insurrections he had foreseen.
In 2002, appearing on NBC's Meet the Press, Vice-President Joseph Lieberman is peppered with questions regarding the bin Laden video.
Lieberman meets the Press by Eric LippsThe VP insists that the Administration is certain the body found at Tora Bora is that of the terrorist leader, and, noting that intelligence analysts have still been unable to determine when the video was made, assures his questioners that it must have been assembled some time before the assault on the cave complex.
It does little good. Administration opponents demand a full congressional investigation of what they call the 'coverup' of how President Gore has "let Osama bin Laden get away"
In 2008, Leon Greenman, the only Englishman sent to the Auschwitz concentration camp, died Friday, London's Jewish Museum said. He was 97.
Strange Blue LightGreenman was born in London in 1910 but was living in the Netherlands with his Dutch wife and young son when the family was sent by the occupying Nazi forces to the camp in 1943. His wife Esther and three-year-old son Barney died there but Greenman managed to survive the war and committed the rest of his life to telling the public about the horrors he had witnessed at Auschwitz and the five other camps he was sent to. He published a memoir, An Englishman in Auschwitz, and continued to lecture well into old age. In 1988 he received the prestigious Order of the British Empire from Queen Elizabeth II for his work fighting racism. Greenman was liberated from the Buchenwald camp in April 1945 by the American 3rd Army.
The book "An Englishman in Auschwitz" is a result of the commitment of Greenman to the God "that if he lived, he would let the world know what happened during the war". In short, the book describes the sad reminiscences of his days of imprisonment in six concentration camps of the Nazis. For example, Greenman describes the arrival of his family (consisting of himself, his wife, Esther, a Dutch, and his three-year old son, Barney) at Birkenau concentration camp in these words: "The women were separated from the men: Else and Barny were marched about 20 yards away to a queue of women...I tried to watch Else. I could see her clearly against the blue lights. She could see me too for she threw me a kiss and held up our child for me to see. What was going through her mind I will never know. Perhaps she was pleased that the journey had come to an end".
During the evening before his death, neighbours reported a strange blue light shining out of the bedroom window of Greenman's shabby terraced house in Ilford. Leon's long journey had finally come to an end.
In 1984, in the first of three scheduled debates among the Republican presidential contenders, former California governor Ronald Reagan delivers an oddly disjointed closing statement musing about what one might see driving down the Pacific Coast Highway in a hundred years' time. Even some pundits sympathetic to Reagan are taken aback, and there is talk that, at age 73, the conservative stalwart may simply be too old to serve as president.
In 2004, the crew of the ship carrying the Huygens, just crash-landed on its return from Titan, begin seeing strange things moving around the ship. Scientist Jacob Sheridan, brought in to investigate the Huygens, sees a huge crab-like creature while examining the hold; the creature disappears into the water before Sheridan can alert anyone.
In 12-17-15-10-8, Meqtulae, a peasant of the Cherokee, confessed to assassinating Richeco, passionate peasant's advocate in the Oueztecan Empire. Richeco had spoken out for years for the need to allow peasants rights on the order of lesser nobles, and traditionalists within the court hired Meqtulae to end his agitation.
In 1952, Mikhail von Heflin and Velma Porter emerge from the cave where they had taken refuge from pursuit two days before. Miss Porter is unconscious, and the Baron is worried that the strange encounter has damaged her. He carries her and starts traveling east. He hopes that he can find Heflin again, and that his ancestral home can help Miss Porter.
In 1951, J. Edgar Hoover, who had led the F.B.I. since its inception, left the agency to become the Commissioner of Town Ball. It was a reluctant move for Hoover, but President Truman had not been very supportive of his office, and he felt that he would enjoy the work as Town Ball Commissioner more.
In 1948, the Foreign Secretary of Venezuela, Hugo Martinez, dies in an apparent suicide. Senor Martinez had been a capitalist inside the American-supported Communist government, and had opposed the close relationship the government had with the Soviet States of America. Many of the European monarchies remarked at how strange it was that a man with no signs of depression or mental stress should choose to commit suicide.
In 1849, lawyer Abe Lincoln received a patent for a device he had created for lifting boats over shoals. After this device sold successful, Lincoln left his law practice in Illinois and founded his company Lincoln & Son in 1852. He became a successful man, making and selling many devices to aid in the shipping trade.
In 1704, Conquerors of the Speaker's Line burn down the library in Kenya that held most of the research being done on fulfilling the Speaker's Dream. Centuries of knowledge were lost in moments. When news of this reached the rest of the Speaker's Children, the Conquerors quickly disavowed those who had done it, and asked for forgiveness. Their support among the Line faded for some time after this.
In 790 AUC, Emperor Tiberius dies in Rome. The elderly emperor had worked up to his death, doing such things as authorizing a new aqueduct in Germany and countermanding the death sentence his Judean Governor had imposed on a rebel in that territory.
In 1783, turmoil in the Continental Army caused by the Newburgh Conspiracy enabled the British to use the opportunity to attack and re-establish control over their former colonies.
With the end of the war and hence likely the resultant dissolution of the Continental Army obviously approaching, there seemed to the soldiers, many of whom were now deeply indebted from their term of service, a strong chance that Congress would not meet previous promises on back pay and pensions.
Congress, at the mercy of the states for all revenue, did not seem to have any way of meeting these promises. The result was that by March 1783, officers launched a coup, setting up martial law to secure what had been promised to them.
The winter of 1783 had seen the end of hostilities between the young nation and Britain, but a formal peace treaty had not yet been signed.
In 1969, James Earl Ray was quickly extradited to Tennessee and charged with King's murder, refusing to confess to the assassination on March 10. Ray ignored the advice of his attorney Percy Foreman who urgred him to take a guilty plea to avoid a trial conviction and therefore the possibility of receiving the death penalty. Why should he, he was innocent. The 'musicians' in the Parking Lot chatting with Jesse Jackson had executed Martin Luther King. Oh, and also lured Ray to Memphis with a phoney 'job' offer of a robbery to set him up as a patsy.
In 1918, on this day founder of the American Nazi Party George Lincoln Rockwell was born in Bloomington, Illinois. An installment from the Fascist USA thread on Althistory Wiki.
Birth of an American NaziHe was a major figure in the American Freedom Party for much of his lifetime, a career which culminated in a twenty-eight year rule as Chief of State for the New United States.
He succeeded to that office upon the death of NUS founder William Dudley Pelley, of whom he was considered a protege, on July 1, 1965. He served in the office until his death, during which time he arguably held more power than Pelley and any other American leader in history - his 38-year term of office is the longest in American history. Rockwell had been Deputy Chief of State under Pelley from 1962 to 1965, and before this had been the Commander of the Silver Legion, the state militia, since 1957.
In 1916, on this day five hundred Mexican raiders led by Pancho Villa attack Columbus, New Mexico.
President Champ Clark vs The Centaur of the NorthWhen President Champ Clark threatens a belligerent response, his Secretary of State James Michael Curley is forced to resign.
A first generation Irish American who was raised on the horrors of the Irish Potato Famine and the stories of British oppression, Curley had played a major part in keeping the United States out of the Great War. However he had not bargained on a Border War with Mexico, and was quickly forced to reconsider his position as the crisis began to escalate.
But Curley is proven right and the whole nasty business backfires on Clark. Because matters turn full circle when British Intelligence intercept the Zimmermann Telegram, a diplomatic proposal from the German Empire to Mexico to make war against the United States. Revelation of the contents outrage American public opinion and help generate support for a declaration of war.
In 1566, on this day an incredible demonstration of will power and steely resolve by Mary, Queen of Scots saved the life of her Torinese private secretary, David Rizzio.
Mary, Queen of Scots defends David Rizzio
Part 1Rebels had entered the Palace of Holyroodhouse and overpowered the royal guards while they took supper in the Queen's chambers. Led by Patrick Ruthven, 3rd Lord Ruthven they burst into the private dining room and demanded at gun point that the heavily pregnant monarch hand Rizzio over. But her hysterical screams alerted the people of Edinburgh and several hundred local men poured out of the local taverns and ran to Holyrood with makeshift weapons. At this point the iron dripped into the Queen's soul when the rebels tried to force her to go to the window and dismiss them.
The showdown had positive consequences for the respect of Stuart authority, and also enabled Rizzio to achieve his desired elevation to Secretary of State.
This story continues in Part 2.
In 1566, on this day David Rizzio defended Mary, Queen of Scots.
David Rizzio Defends 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.
A new story by Jeff ProvineScotland 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 297 AD, bolstered by his decisive victory over the Persians, Caesar Galerius overthrew Diocletian, executing the senior Emperor and his traditor wife and daughter.
Galerius overthrows DiocletianDriven by a burning desire to restore past Roman glory, his deceased predecessor had re-introduced traditional religious practices. This action had threatened the purist non-traditors, schismatic Christian sects such as the Donatists and Meletians who absolutely refused to be "handed over" to imperial authority. Consequently he had been unwilling to subdue the anti-Christian anger of the crowd, refusing to intervene with official authority to confront the popular hostility that drove the early persecutions.
Where Diocletian sought only "to correct all things according to the ancient laws and public disciplines of the Romans" Galerius however was bitterly opposed to the Christians in principle. Less than a year into his reign, an ugly scene took place in Antioch that provided him with the pretext to massively escalate the persecutions to the point of genocide.
"The servants of God are those who are hated by the world" ~ Donatist SloganWith pagan priests accusing Christians of disrupting sacrifies at the Temple, the new Emperor responded with a set of uncompromising imperial edicts that rendered the traditor position untenable. Service in the Roman Army became impossible. Christianity was driven to the brink of oblivion; places of worship were destroyed, scriptures confiscated and the offering of sacrifices was compelled on pain of death. Communities in Africa, Egypt and Palestine were wiped out.
A fiery debate about how to treat those traditors who lapsed under persecution led to a permanent split in the North African Church. The purists were later eliminated by the Muslim invasion of North Africa.
© Today in Alternate History, 2013-. All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.