In 1974, on this day NASA came to the conclusion that the crash of Pioneer 10 on the limb of Jupiter December 4th, 1973 likely planted Earth bacteria in the upper atmosphere.
NASA admitted Pioneer 10 contaminated Jupiter! The fateful probe suffered a computer glitch when passing through the intense Van Allen type radiation belts that concentrate in the Jovian magnetosphere that fired the thrusters dry and altered course just enough to graze the atmosphere and crash on Jupiter. The impact occurred on the edge of the planet at a low angle, similar to the way the Apollo missions returned to Earth from exploring the moon. While the event was too small to show on Earth based telescopes Pioneer 10 continued sending pictures back to NASA until minutes before impact and the impact latitude is known.
Now a month later Earth based telescopes have detected a color change in the atmospheric belt where the collision took place. Spectrographic study of the discolored band have detected complex organic molecules identical to those built by simple single cell life forms on Earth. A new story by Allen W. McDonnellScientists have concluded that Earthly bacteria, hibernating on the Pioneer spacecraft, were released when it fell into Jupiter and have survived by consuming the organic clouds of Methane and Ammonia in the Jovian atmosphere. The Miller/Urey experiment in a lab in 1953 demonstrated that lightning passing through clouds like those on Jupiter can create amino acids in very small quantities and pieces of organic material even smaller called tholins in large quantities. Without life these chemicals simply exist for a few months before they are swept too low and the heat from inside Jupiter causes them to break back down into the simpler molecules they began as, Ammonia, Methane and Water.
Life, in the form of some exotic bacteria hitchhiking on Pioneer 10, has now found a way to access these tholins and reproduce. Jupiter will never be the same as once a planet is contaminated with Bacteria there is no practical way imaginable to bring it back to a pristine state of existence.
In 1917, on this day Vice President William Jennings Bryan asked Thomas R Marshall ~ "Mr President, how many men were executed in Indiana during your term as Governor there?".
Chapter of Accidents; How Bryan Returned From The Dead"None, thank God". There was one man sentenced to hang, but he won his appeal so I never had to reprieve him".
"Would you say nobody ever deserves to be hanged?"
"No. I expect all too many do. But I don't think the State should be in the business of killing people".
"Exactly!" Bryan pressed home the point. "Yet at least the men who get hanged are usually murderers or something almost as bad. The boys you'd have to send to die in Europe mostly haven't committed any crime. Not yet anyway".
Part 2 of a new story by Mike Stone"And the people who have died on all those ships the Germans sank. American citizens about their lawful business. Women and children too. Do I not owe them anything?" "Of course, Sir. But you don't owe them mass murder. Aren't they a bit like those guys who insist on going over Niagara Falls in a barrel? They have a perfect legal right to do it, at least if they are over 21 and not certified insane" He smiled faintly "Not yet anyway. But have they the right to insist that another man endanger his own life to defend their right to go over the Falls in a barrel? I don't really see it".
"And American seamen? Aren't they entitled to get on with their jobs? If the Germans do what they say they are going to do, then our ships will be getting sunk too, not just Allied ones". Must I allow that?"
"You can prevent it. Just order the Port Authorities not to clear US-registered ships for destinations in the barred zone. If the Allies want to buy from us, let them send their own ships. Ours can find work in the Pacific or trading with South America. There's plenty of business on those routes, now that the British are bringing every spare ship to the North Atlantic". "But what about our maritime rights? The freedom of the seas? President Wilson said - -"
"Mr Wilson was a good man," said Bryan firmly "I admired him very much; but I sometimes feel he was just a shade too legalistic. After all, if there's a race riot on or something, any city Mayor can order citizens to stay in their homes. That's an interference with their freedom, but it's necessary in an emergency situation. That's what's going on in Europe just now - a riot; probably the biggest riot ever. And the freedom to land your country in a war by insisting on your right to wade into the thick of it is just pushing your rights a teeny little step too far1".
"Mr Secretary, this is a break of diplomatic relations we are considering. I have no intention of declaring war".
"It will come to that, Mr President. Breaking relations doesn't solve anything. The Germans have gone too far to back down now, so if we break relations and they carry on, what do we do next? You will have to take another step, and what will that have to be?" "Arm our merchantmen? - -" Marshall's voice quavered slightly, as if he himself saw the weakness of the idea.
"And then what? The u-boats will torpedo without warning, so our ships can't just fire in self-defense. They will have to attack a submarine on sight.
For all practical purposes, a war will have begun. How long before we have to make it official?
"There'll be an uproar. Roosevelt, Lodge, lots of them. They'll say I'm betraying the country. Selling out to Germany".
"Mr President, they aren't worth listening to". Bryan's voice turned suddenly harsh. "They think the Sacred Book lies. They think vengeance is the exclusive property of Colonel Theodore Roosevelt and Mr Henry Cabot Lodge. I suppose we must give Roosevelt his due. If he gets his war at least he'll fight in it. But you can bet your life Lodge won't. He'll sit snug at home while other Americans die for his policies. And that's the way most of them will behave. They crawl along the ground".
"Still, I'd go easy with that line about Niagara Falls. They'll say you're just jealous 'cause there aren't any waterfalls in Nebraska".
Bryan dutifully chuckled at the President's joke, but even to him the humour sounded a bit forced.
President Marshall sat silent in the deserted Oval office. In a way, he was relieved that Bryan had gone. A good man and a good Christian, there could be no doubt about that. But was he being a bit too narrow on this? Certainly, Lodge and Roosevelt were loudmouths, but even loudmouths can occasionally be right. He thought of his father, back in the 1860s, threatened with excommunication from their local Presbyterian Church for refusing to join the Republicans. What had he said? "I am willing to take my chances on Hell, but never on the Republican Party". Yet that hadn't stopped him being a firm Union man during the Civil War, even if it had meant supporting the policy of a Republican Administration. Some things were bigger than party. In the end, he must act for the nation as a whole, and Mr Bryan represented only part of it - maybe not even the largest part. He hoped it would never come to a split. Their common faith made Bryan a kindred spirit2. But his new responsibilities were wider than that, and if worst came to worst, at some point there might have to be a parting of the ways.
But must it be yet? To keep American ships out of the barred zone would indeed involve a swallwing of pride; but the Bible was pretty clear on what pride was. And it wasn't as though the Allies were all that saintly. Some of their blockade measures went far beyond traditional international law, and he suspected that these blacklists of theirs weren't as purely war related as they claimed. Were they indeed out to monopolise world markets after the war? No, America owed them nothing; this was purely a question of what it owed itself.
He flinched slightly at the sudden pain in his chest. These had been getting worse lately. Maybe Lois was right and he should see a doctor. But what could the doctor do?
Probably only tell him to rest, and that was impossible. He had just too much on his plate.
OK, he finally decided. He would give Mr Bryan's approach one more go. But there would have to be something more than words. And it would probably have to be the last time.
Ambassador Bernstorff was pensive as he left the State Department building.
It had been a huge relief as he listened to Secretary Bryan's words, and suddenly realised that, having come there resigned to the return of his passports, he was not to be going home after all - at least not yet. The other business - the seizure of German ships currently trapped in US ports - would have to be protested, of course, but could be lived with. Fortunately, he had already given orders for them to be rendered unfit for service, so they would be no immediate use to the Americans, whatever the future might hold. So far, so good.
But, he uneasily knew, it was only time he had gained. For all his efforts to educate them, his masters in Berlin just did not appreciate the peril. They were taking risks that made him shudder. That message to Mexico, for instance. God grant it never leaked out. The consequences hardly bore thinking about.
Mr Bryan was a strong voice for peace, but he was not in final charge.
President Marshall was, and that man was unpredictable - pulled every which way, and far out of his depth There could be no certainty as to which way he would ultimately jump.
Yes, Bernstorff thought sombrely, this was only a reprieve. And the future still looked dark.
From his office window, Bryan watched the German Ambassador depart. Yet his thoughts were less about Bernstorff than about Marshall.
He was deeply afraid for the President. While accustomed to the normal rough and tumble of politics, he had never before come under this much pressure. Bryan recalled the ferocious 1896 campaign , when he had so often been lambasted as an "incendiary", "enemy of civilisation" and worse. A terrible experience, but in a way it had been good for him. As a result, he was inoculated against such attacks in a way that Marshall was not. How much more could the President take?
As Colonel Roosevelt might have put it, the time was coming to stand at Armageddon and do battle for the Lord. And he suspected that this might be a battle for Tom Marshall's soul.
To be continued
In 1727, on this day the ruthless British General James Peter Wolfe was born in Westerham, Kent.
Architect of the Northern ArmageddonA life-long military career began at the age of just thirteen when he volunteered for his father's first Marine regiment. But the moment when Wolfe exploded on the world stage was the summer of 1759. As a thirty-two year old General, Wolfe was responsible for the capture of Quebec, the pivotal military decision which ensured that the future of North America would be determined by the British.
"I propose to set the town on fire with shells, to destroy the harvest, houses and cattle, both above and below, to send off as many Canadians as possible to Europe and to leave famine and desolation behind me; but we must teach these scoundrels to make war in a more gentleman like manner" The Supreme Commander of French Forces in North America, the Marquis de Montcalm, believed that Quebec was an "impregnable Gibraltar of the New World". And so it seemed, after months of vicious fighting througout the St Lawrence River region. In desperation, Wolfe attempted a "back door" strategy of sneaking troops over the cliffs at the Plains of Abraham. And yet the information provided by "French turncoats" was in fact the work of double agents, and the amphibious assault failed in fifteen minutes of battle.
By now Wolfe fully understood the unique history of Quebec, realising the French would never give up the city. Because founder Champlain and only eight men survived the first Quebec winter, a sign of the enduring French commitment to the settlement. Accordingly, Wolfe carried out his threat to execute a "Northern Armaggedon". Because Quebec City was destroyed, and its population expelled.
Seventeen years later, Wolfe was appointed Supreme Commander of British Forces in North America. The ruthless prosecution of his orders to suppress "the troubles" on the East Coast would still provoke intense emotions two hundred and fifty years later.
On this day in 2008, the badgers found near the site of the "Giraffe In A Loft" incident filmed a TV ad promoting England's 2010 World Cup soccer team.
In 2006, actor Wayne Knight confirms in an interview he will return as Jerry Seinfeld's arch-nemesis, the postman Newman, in The Seinfeld Movie. Though Knight has lost considerable weight since he last played the role, he mentions that the weight loss for Newman "will be integrated into the script and, as I understand it, be something of a running joke in the story" The film begins shooting in March.
In 1980, Comrade President John Anderson denounces the British invasion of the People's Soviet of Argentina. He organizes the tattered remnants of the now-defunct Community of Trade into their last concerted action; a boycott of all goods produced by Great Britain. In addition, Comrade President Anderson arms and trains the rebel guerrilos in Argentina, a move which will come back to haunt the Soviet States in years to come.
In 1905, Russian reinforcements manage to stave off a Japanese attack on Port Arthur, the Russian base in China. It marked the turning point of a war that had been going badly for the Russians, and heartened by this victory, they were able to go on to greater glory and eventually win the war against the island nation. This defeat dimmed Japan's hopes of becoming a world power to rival the western nations.
In 1903, after appointing a black postmistress to the post office in Indianola, Mississippi, President Roosevelt sent reinforcements along with her to ensure that she would be able to do her job. Roosevelt's commitment to the civil rights of the African-American population of America gave him a hitherto unmeasured degree of support in the south. His Civil Rights Act of 1904, ensuring the voting rights of blacks across America, is credited with landing him his unprecedented 3rd term of office in the election of 1908.
In 1889, Mikhail von Heflin reaches the American border and crosses over into Michigan. From there, he heads to the Mississippi and follows it south. He has sent word ahead to his family in Texas to expect him shortly.
In 1818, Lord Byron finished canto IV of Childe P'Tir'Losh's Pilgrimage, his epic poem of the journey of a young Mlosh across the hard and often unforgiving world.
in 47,392, BCE Telka the Speaker and her great-granddaughter Swikolay begin walking away from the Himalayas to the southeast. In her dreams, she had seen a great island in that direction, and she thought that it might have a better vantage point from which to reach the sky.
In 1892, the scholarly giant of modern England, John R. R. Tolkien, was born in Bloemfontein, South Africa. At Oxford, Tolkien penned some of the greatest literary criticisms of the 20th century, delving into the mythic roots of Beowulf, the legends of King Arthur, the Germanic and Celtic influences in English literature, and dozens of other subjects. In recent years, his son Christopher published a few of the bed time stories Tolkien wrote for his children, of which the most famous are his Father Christmas stories. There has even been talk of making a movie of these stories, although no one really expects they would be very popular.
In 1521, German monk Martin Luther was excommunicated by Pope Henry VIII of the Holy British Empire. Brother Martin was disgusted with the corruption of the British Papacy, and nailed a series of theses on his local church door, enumerating and protesting the wickedness of the English Church. Pope Henry, who had never been one to tolerate protestants, excommunicated then executed Brother Martin.
In 1967, Jack Ruby's cancer went into remission, allowing him to be placed on trial for the murder of Lee Harvey Oswald. From the stand, Ruby spun a story of conspiracy, deception and treason, and the judge was forced to place a gag order on news from the trial. When the courtroom blew up the next day, it was blamed on a 'gas leak' under the courthouse.
On this day in 1959, Baltimore Colts head coach Weeb Ewbank resigned.
On this day in 1972, the Dallas Cowboys reached the Super Bowl for the fifth time in team history with a 16-3 win over the San Franciscso 49ers in the NFC championship game.
In 1966, reports in the Sunday editions of several U.S. newspapers detail the activities of the Vietcong in South Vietnam, bringing the Southeast Asian war to the forefront of American public awareness for the first time. Conservatives blame the late President John F. Kennedy and his successor Lyndon Johnson for 'fighting with one hand behind their backs' in Vietnam. Liberals question the wisdom of U.S. intervention in 'an Asian civil war,' especially when American soldiers are already fighting and dying in Cuba, much closer to home.
On this day in 2014 the theatrical trailer for Jerry Bruckheimer's feature film adaptation of the hit TV crime drama CSI:Crime Scene Investigations began playing at movie theaters across the United States and Canada.
In 1980, at a meeting of the National Security Council, President Nelson A. Rockefeller, Vice-President Paul D. Laxalt, Secretary of State Kenneth Adelman and Secretary of Defense Alexander Haig concur that the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan must be countered.
CIA Director George H. W. Bush suggests that money be funneled to Afghan resistance groups; questioned as to which groups should be favored, Bush recommends that hard-line Islamists be approached, as they are likely to be particularly opposed to the 'godless' Soviets.
Rockefeller agrees to Bush's suggestion. It will prove to be a fateful choice.
In 1777, Alexander Hamilton arrives in New Orleans, having fled New York by ship a step ahead of British troops assigned to arrest him. Angry demands from British authorities that he be surrendered to them are ignored.
In 2008, on this day Erich Kaestner died in a nursing home in Cologne aged 107, announced his son to the Associated Press. He was the last veteran of the second Franco-Prussian War, and a moments silence was respectfully requested by the municipal government of the People's Republic of North Rhine-Westphalia.
In 1960, Senator Joe Kennedy, Jr. threw his hat in the ring for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination. Kennedy's inspiring tale of recovery from injuries suffered in a horrific plane crash during World War II made him a natural choice, and he won the nomination handily. He had a little more difficulty defeating Vice President Nixon in the general election, but squeaked by with a margin of half a million votes.
In 1903, after appointing a black postmistress to the post office in Indianola, Mississippi, President Roosevelt sent reinforcements along with her to ensure that she would be able to do her job. Roosevelt's commitment to the civil rights of the African-American population of America gave him a hitherto unmeasured degree of support in the south. His Civil Rights Act of 1904, ensuring the voting rights of blacks across America, is credited with landing him his unprecedented 3rd term of office in the election of 1908.
In 870, the infidel rulers Ferdinand and Isabella fall to the righteous forces of Caliph Boabdil. Allah saw fit to give the Moors control of Espagne, and from there, a foothold on the rest of Europe, so that His word might reach the poor northerners who had not heard Its beauty.
In 1979, punk rocker Sid Vicious goes on trial for the murder of his girlfriend/manager, Nancy Spungen. Vicious attempts suicide several times during the trial process, until he is finally placed into custody and put under a suicide watch. He is found guilty and sentenced to life in prison. He was paroled in 2002, a shell of his former self.
In 1905, the Japanese attack on Port Arthur is frustrated by the arrival of Russian reinforcements. At one stage it looked as if the Tsar would be humiliated by defeat, but after Port Arthur, the Russo-Japanese war drifted into a stalemate.
across the timelines, Dr. Richard Tolman and his crew of dimensional travelers battle to close the hole that has been torn across the barrier between parallel universes. One by one, his people are sucked into the great void, until he is left alone, and only the force of his own will stands between him and oblivion.As he floats in the wormhole that threatens to devour all the known universes, Tolman sees the beginning and the ending of the universe merging into one, and feels a presence share the void with him. The beings formerly known as Sarah and John Thompson, one from the beginning and the other from the end of the universe, take notice of Tolman's plight and make the sacrifice that is necessary to replace the barrier between the universes. When Tolman comes to, he is back in his office in Berkeley. On a piece of paper in front of him are rough notes detailing a paper on parallel universes. He crumples the paper, tosses it in his wastebasket, and never gives the matter another thought.
In 1877, six months after the Kohinoor diamond was affixed to the English Crown, Queen Victoria was proclaimed Empress of China in Peking, a move carefully timed by the British Government because Russia and America were pre-occupied by post-Civil War reconstruction. An article from the British Empire on Steroids thread.
Jewel in the CrownOn the same day, the Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli was rewarded with the upgraded title Earl of Beaconsfield. He had previously impressed Her Majesty by purchasing shares in the Suez Canal and announcing somewhat obsequiously "it is settled; you have it, madam!". A member of Parliament Sir Ian Malcolm famously described the share purchase as "the greatest romance of Mr. Disraeli's romantic career" but of course it was quite comprehensively upstaged by the grandeur of the "Jewel in the Crown".
If the enoblement was a mere formality then the capture of China was the inevitable (if not deliberate) result of a sustained, long-term strategy pursued by Disraeli, Palmerston and their predecessors. Piece by piece they had built up a British influence through the Opium Wars and the Taiping Rebellion eventually imposing their will across the Southern portion of the country. And fortuitously during this rapid period of hegemonistic growth, the Confederacy had seceded and the Tsar was overthrown. But although these foolish imperial architects could never know it, they had inadvertently swept away the leadership of the old civilization only to build the foundations for modern China, the super-state that would rise up and conquer the globe.
In 1781, on this day a general uprising in the Continental Army began to take shape in the Winter Camp at Jockey Hollow near Morristown in New Jersey. History would simply record that the catalyst was the killing of three officers in a drunken rage, but emotions actually ran far deeper than that, in actual fact it was a revolt-within-a-revolt.
Pennsylvania Line Mutiny ends the RevoltThe Commander of the Pennsylvania Line was General Anthony Wayne. His considerable forces comprised eleven regiments of some fifteen hundred men. However the expense of their maintenance was the issue, because their conditions were utterly deplorable, as candidly reported in letters exchanged between Wayne and his superior officer, General George Washington, commander of the entire Continental Army. In previous years, both Generals had cited corruption and a lack of concern on the part of State Governments and the Continental Congress in fostering the poor conditions. But their futile attempts to "manage up" had ended in failure, and on New Year's Day, they lost control and destiny was being taken completely out of their hands.
After a raucous New Year's Day celebration, soldiers from several regiments had armed themselves and prepared to depart the camp without permission. Officers led the remaining orderly regiments to quell the uprising, but after a few warning shots from the mutineers, the rest of the regiments fell into line with them. Captain Adam Bitting, commander of Company D, 4th Pennsylvania Regiment, was fatally shot by a mutineer who was trying to kill a lieutenant colonel. General Wayne tried to convince the soldiers to return to order peacefully, but he was also killed in the confusion.
Several days later an emissary from General Sir Henry Clinton, British commander in New York City, arrived with a guide he had acquired in New Jersey. The agent brought a letter from Clinton offering the Pennsylvanians their back pay from British coffers if they gave up the rebel cause. News of these negotiations triggered a further uprising from the "New Jersey Line". Unlike the more conciliatory figure of Wayne, Washington saw a threat to his personal authority and responded with extreme force, executing many of the mutineers. When he was also killed the game was up but in reality general events were running in the other direction. Even before the uprising, the number of Americans under British Command had started to approach the Patriot troop count.
In 1764, the child prodigy Wolfgang Mozart performed for the Royal Family of King Louis XV in Versailles, France.
Mozart Off-keyAlthough the boy did his best, he was distracted by the sumptuous surroundings and did not please Louis. Discouraged, the boy's father gave up on his dreams of making the boy Europe's foremost musician.
Mozart went into mathematics after being given his choice of direction in his life, and published many important papers during the early 19th century.
In 2013, on this day the United Kingdom assumed the year-long rotating presidency of the G8 group.
This article is part of the American Heroes thread.
The President-elect's Tax HavensNeedless to say, the British Cabinet had already taken ownership of the responsibilities which include hosting the annual leaders' summit (in Lough Erne, County Fermanagh) and choosing the global priorities for discussion. Accordingly, they had already chosen to focus on combating trade protectionism, cracking down on tax havens and promoting greater government transparency.
These themes (in fact the UK Government's own agenda items) had been repeatedly articulated by Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne throughout the year. Even before Mitt Romney became President-elect, creating a situation of conflict because he himself had been pilloried for avoiding US taxation by holding funds off-shore.
In 1750, on this day inaugural Speaker-President Frederick Muhlenberg (pictured) was born in Trappe, Pennsylvania.
Birth of Speaker-President MuhlenbergDespite the war-time inefficiencies of Congressional Government, his predecessor General Washington never once wavered from his Republican convictions. He voluntarily surrendered his post as C-in-C, only reluctantly agreeing to serve as President and of course he outright refused to be crowned King.
During his two terms of office circumstances forced him to adopt an authoritarian leadership style bordering on monarchism. Whilst he could be trusted, his Vice President John Adams patently could not (some even feared he would crown himself King and name his son John Quincy as successor). He ludicrously suggested to Senate that Washington be addressed "His Majesty" inviting nicknames such as the "Duke of Braintree" and "His Rotundity". More significantly, he was prevented from addressing the Senate. It was Speaker of the House Frederick Muhlenberg that suggested that the title of the President of the United States should be "Mr. President" instead of "His High Mightiness" or "His Elected Majesty", as John Adams had suggested .
In his Farewell Address, Washington shocked the nation by announcing not only his retirement, but the dissolution of his office in favour of a unified position of Speaker-President. Of course Muhlenberg was an interesting character, being a Pennsylvanian Lutheran pastor and a German speaker. But as matters transpired, he only served in office for two years and could not have taken steps on either language or religion as his detractors feared.
It is 1511, and all of England is rejoicing at the birth of Henry, Duke of Cornwall, to King Henry VIII and his beloved Queen Katherine of Aragon.
Happy Endings Part 7
Henry VIII & Catherine of AragonShe turns a blind eye to her husband's affairs with other women, most notably her lady-in-waiting Anne Boleyn.
As the young Duke grows, so does his father's devotion to the Church of Rome. At Pope Clement's request, the King is happy to join the other Catholic monarchs in fighting the new Protestant heresy that is flourishing in Germany. Soon all of Europe is Catholic again, as it remains to this day.
In 1766, on this day the "Old Pretender" James Francis Edward Stuart died at the St James's Palace aged seventy-seven. His Majesty's demise was just three months short of an ineffectual twenty year reign that followed the restoration of the House of Stuart.
This article is part of the Glorious 45 thread.
Glorious Forty-Five #2
By Ed, Scott Palter & Jared MyersHis contributory role in the ending of the hated foreign rule of the Hanovers was a surface conversion to the Anglican Faith. But of course his Majesty wasn't even present at the decisive moment in the Jacobite Uprising, a Council of War held on 5th December, 1745. Against the near unanimous advise of his commanders including such men as Lord George Murray, his son Bonnie Prince Charlie crossed Swarkestone Bridge and ordered the Jacobite Rebel Army to march on Oxford.
Even before his brilliant reign as Charles III, he and his father would nurture the new generation of bold commanders that would suppress the American revolt. But of course the rise of the British land army would have profound consquences much closer to home.
At first French assistance for the Stuart restoration was little more than a half-hearted and rather clumsy attempt to throw a spanner in their enemie's works. But due to the stunning success of Bonnie Prince Charles (albeit balanced with the shock of the Anglican conversion) Paris was willing to form a world-beating Triple Alliance with the Spanish that would end Dutch overseas ambitions. Overconfident in the status quo, the Bourbons also move to embrace Prussia ensuring that after 1766, Charles of England and Frederick of Prussia would tower over the other rulers of Europe like colossi. But by the turn of the century, French belligerence had returned in full force, and with the Rise of Napoleon, the continent of Europe would be confronted by a titanic clash of three great powers.
The "Glorious 45" thread continues in Part 3
In 193 AD, after the assassination of Emperor Commodus, the Roman Senate arose under the guidance of Publius Helvius Pertinax to reinstate the principles of republicanism after more than two centuries of rule by emperors.
Rome Returns to the RepublicCommodus was the son of Marcus Aurelius, a good emperor who ruled for some twenty years. Aurelius had been more of a philosopher king than a politician, writing his Meditations on self-guidance in Greek, possibly in imitation of the ancient wise men of Greece. He took his rule as a civic duty, establishing justice and fighting numerous wars for the good of Rome even though he preferred study. Aurelius died in Vindobona (modern Vienna) while on campaign in 180, succeeded by his son, Commodus.
Commodus had already ruled as co-emperor for three years and, though young, assumed full command with all skills needed, but his father had not anticipated him squandering them. Dio Cassius, a contemporary historian, recorded that Commodus began to turn Rome "from a kingdom of gold to one of rust and iron". Commodus ignored the business affairs of state and instead took to entertaining the army and populace with enormous monetary gifts and lavish games. Most notoriously, Commodus would reject tradition and participate in the gladiatorial combat himself. Early in his reign and then throughout, dissatisfied leaders would organize conspiracies against him, finally culminating in his death at the hand of his mistress Marcia, his manager Eclectus, and the Praetorian Prefect Quintus Aemilius Laetus December 31, 192.
Pertinax, the praefectus urbi (roughly, Mayor of Rome), was taken by the Praetorian Guard and prepared to be named emperor, even against his will. After a night of expert reasoning and discussion, Pertinax finally managed to persuade the Praetorian soldiers to end the tradition of obeying an emperor and instead uphold their oath to the Senatus Populusque Romanus (the Senate and People of Rome). Marching into Rome in celebration, the Senate was convened and ancient legal books brought out of libraries to bring back the great Republic that had been dissolved into August's empire when Rome was so corrupt. Corruption had now swallowed up the office of imperator, and it was time for the Republic to stand again.
Great new powers were granted to the prefects in the provinces around the empire and citizens were enabled to vote for representation among the censors. The Senate took up many pet projects that had gone undone while the bureaucracy ruled, and Pertinax himself retained his position as praefectus urbi, spending much of his tenure restoring solvency and maintaining the grain supply to Rome. The Praetorians were broken up diplomatically, paying commanders enormous sums to retire or head eastward in General Septimus Severus's campaign to conquer Mesopotamia while soldiers were dispersed through the legions protecting the empire at large. Without the Praetorian Guard taking great bribes and influencing politics with the sword, Rome transitioned fairly peacefully into the New Republican Era.
In 251, the Plague of Cyprian spread through the empire. In Rome, it was rumored that some 5,000 people died each day. The Senate proved powerless to stop the suffering, several potential solutions being frozen in debate while disease raged. Prefects maintained control by establishing quarantine zones, cutting off their borders and taking executive powers. By the time the plague itself finished, the provinces were sick of making payments to an ineffective Rome that now could scarcely defend its own borders. The empire collapsed as Parthia rebelled and no one stopped them, followed by Egypt, Asia Minor, and spreading westward until Rome had become a checkerboard of mismatched kingdoms, republics, and city-states by the beginning of the fourth century.
Germanic invasions soon followed, turning the Mediterranean into a series of feudal states built upon self-defense. Trade dwindled, and a dark age settled across Europe and northern Africa. In the East, the Persian Empire arose, dominating much of the Levant and maintaining trade along the Silk Road, growing wealthy as it fed luxuries to the west, such as the Hun Empire, Kingdom of the Franks, and New Carthage.
In 1917, New Year's Day was a gloomy one at the White House. Just after Christmas it had been noted that President Woodrow Wilson was ill, and pneumonia had been diagnosed. Since then he had been getting steadily worse.
Chapter of Accidents; How Bryan Returned From The DeadThat evening, he struggled to say a few words, but could barely be understood and lapsed into unconsciousness. He died in the small hours of Tuesday, January 2nd.
President Thomas R Marshall and the Democratic National Chairman, Vance C McCormick, arranged a hasty meeting. With less than a week to go before the Electoral College cast its votes, the Democratic ticket had to be named in a hurry. No doubt, of course, who the presidential candidate must be. At such short notice, it was far to late to look for anyone other than Marshall, even if some rather wished they could. But he needed a "running-mate".
Part 1 of a new story by Mike StoneMcCormick floated the name of William Gibbs McAdoo, son-in-law to the late President. Marshall did not object aloud, but was not keen. Remembering how the Wilson cabinet had snubbed him and ignored his opinions (to the point where he had given up attending after a few months) he had little fondness for it, and was in no hurry to favour any of its members. To gain some thinking time, he insisted on a courtesy offer being made to William Jennings Bryan, the party's elder statesman, even if somewhat shopworn of late. "I don't suppose for a minute he'll accept. After all, he was offered it in 1912, but he turned it down.When you've run for President three times, Vice President is a bit too much of a come down. But let's do it anyway".
Against his better judgement, Mc Cormick had acquiesced.
Bryan studied the message thoughtfully. Vice President was, indeed, a rather anticlimactic note on which to end his career - and it was ending. That was why they hadn't turned to him in 1912; the world was passing him by. And yet - -. He had rejected the position in 1912, and that had now proved a terrible mistake. Had he swallowed his pride and accepted, then he, not Marshall, would now - -. Had the Sin of Pride cost him his last chance for the office he had sought so long? He reached his decision.
The telegram came back within an hour. "Delighted to serve my party and country in any way you wish. Accepted with thanks". McCormick groaned as he read it, but Marshall was philosophic. "Well, I guess we're stuck with him.
And [with a chuckle] if I could do the job, I'm sure he can". The telegrams went out to advise the Democratic Electors. Despite some raised eyebrows, they made no trouble; on January 8, Marshall and Bryan received all of Wilson's 277 votes. The New York Times expressed a general feeling in its editorial. "If it was felt, for whatever reason, that Mr Bryan must be offered some post, the Vice Presidency is probably the one where he can do least harm".
By the time the Electors met, Marshall had already made his first gaffe. At Wilson's funeral, he spoke in glowing terms of the late President's work for peace, and declared "I pledge myself that so long as I am your President, never will any American be sent to war, unless an invader's evil foot already stands upon our shore. Should that happen, they will need their legs - and arms - for swimming". Wild rumours soon took flight as to who had drafted those words, with Bryan as the principal suspect, but the truth was more prosaic. Marshall had inadvertantly taken the wrong paper from his briefcase, and rather than perform an undignified rummage, chose to ad lib from a talk he'd given at another funeral, a couple of years before. Unfortunately, it was that of a sailor killed in Mexico, in the course of Mr Wilson's intervention there. When Edith Galt Wilson learned of this, she was incensed. Taking his words as a slight on her late husband, she never spoke to Marshall again.
Others were scarcely happier. In a quiet whisper to Colonel House, Secretary of State Robert Lansing observed "That hick has just given away our whole position on our maritime rights, before the President's even buried yet".
House nodded. "I think I know how people must have felt when Andrew Johnson took over from Lincoln. ("Yep", interjected Lansing, "another alcoholic1"). And look at the way he's cut and run from Mexico, without even talking to the Cabinet".
"No prizes for guessing who persuaded him" responded House. "For Pete's sake, Bryan supported the Vera Cruz expedition in '14, but you'd never guess it listening to him now. Still, small mercies. At least Roosevelt's not here. That speech could have given him a heart attack". Ex-Presidents Taft and Roosevelt had both been invited, of course. Taft had come, but TR developed an illness which was widely assumed to be diplomatic.
"You should have heard what Ambassador Page told me when he was over here last Summer" added Lansing. "You know, Marshall said he took care never to read any of the papers the Allies or Germans put out, in case they caused him to form an opinion and stop being neutral. Talk about a world statesman".
"Indeed" responded House. "It is a tragedy".
House left Washington the next day. He had never held any official position, and had no personal ties with the new President. Lansing also departed, though not from choice. The pro forma resignation which he had submitted, with the other Cabinet officers, on a change of President, had been accepted, and Bryan was back at State for the next two months. Marshall quickly explained that there was nothing personal in this. As Vice-President Elect, Bryan was entitled to be first in line of succession, for which purpose he needed to be Secretary of State until March 4. Lansing wondered if that was all there was to it. So did many others; but Marshall's explanation was good enough for the Senate, who confirmed Bryan to what one newspaper described as "the sound of 192 shoulders all being shrugged at once" .
Count Johannes von Bernstorff felt his stomach knotting up as he stepped out of the Embassy into the cab waiting to take him to the State Department. He had warned his government again and again what a declaration of Unrestricted Sumarine War might do, but declare it they had, and now it fell to him to deliver the message. And at this of all moments, when the accession of a new President offered the chance of a fresh start in German-American relations. The Ambassador felt like weeping.
To be continued
In 1943, on this day Walt Disney Studios released the animated cartoon Der Fuehrer's Face. Originally intended to serve solely as an anti-Nazi propaganda piece for the American war effort, the film was hugely popular, voted #22 of the 50 Greatest Cartoons and winning the 1943 Academy Award for Animated Short Film.
Der Fuehrer's FaceFifty-three year old cartoonist Adolf Schicklegruber originated the design concept, placing his own career on an upward trajectory. Not so for Donald Duck, whose depiction as a reluctant Nazi would mark the end of the line for this particular character. The Disney Corporation even kept the movie out of general circulation until an official U.S. video release in 2004, when it was included in the Walt Disney Treasures limited edition DVD set Walt Disney.
In 1735, on this day the silversmith and renowned loyalist Paul Revere (pictured) was born in the North End of Boston. A post from American Heroes thread.
A Nightmare on King StreetRevulsed by the lynching of British Redcoats on King Street in 1770, he converted to the loyalist cause, later serving with distinction in the Massachusetts Volunteers at the Battle of Long Island and the capture of New York City.
Despite this exemplary military service and not to mention his famous engravings of the Boston Massacre, it was his "midnight ride" that turned him into an iconic hero.
Revere helped organize an intelligence and alarm system to keep watch on the patriot militia. In service as a messenger to the crown on April 18, 1775 he received intelligence that one William Dawes had set off to Lexington to warn John Hancock and Samuel Adams of the movements of the British Army, which was beginning a march from Boston to Lexington, ostensibly to arrest Hancock and Adams and seize the weapons stores in Concord. Anticipating a bloody confrontation like King Street writ large he set off on horseback to warn the King's regulars that they would be met by formations of patriot militia. Due to his tireless energy, wiser heads prevailed and Adams and Hancock were left to enjoy their liberty, for the time being at least.
In 2002, with American troops on the ground in Afghanistan, backed up by air support, President Gore goes on national television to inform the American people.
Gore Under Fire by Eric LippsHe continues to insist that the U.S. incursion is not aimed at Kabul, but only at Al Qaeda's operation within Afghanistan's borders. What he does not tell them is that there are troubling reports that Al Qaeda cells outside Afghanistan may be readying attacks against Gulf-region governments friendly to the U.S. Intelligence analysts warn that Pakistan and Saudi Arabia are particularly at risk.
President Gore's revelation that U.S. military forces have entered Afghanistan is pursuit of Al Qaeda triggers fierce controversy.
Many in both parties in Congress are angered that he has taken this action without consulting them first. Senator Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts says, "I supported Al Gore in the 2000 election. When the dispute over its results was resolved in his favor, I was relieved, for I believed his would be a steadier hand than that of his opponent. His unilateral decision to launch a war, however--and make no mistake, that is what he was done--reveals a troubling recklessness which I fear will cost this nation dearly". The aging Democratic icon is applauded, even by some GOP colleagues who almost never agree with him.
In the media, Gore's action splits both conservatives and liberals, with some on each side approving and some condemning the Afghan intervention. Among opponents, liberals tend to agree with Kennedy's charge of recklessness, while on the right, fire-breathers such as Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter snarl that Gore is merely trying to 'look tough' and will find some way to 'surrender to the terrorists,' as Limbaugh puts it on an installment of his radio program.
Vice-President Joseph I. Lieberman responds to the critics by asking, "What would you have us do? We were attacked on our home soil. Americans were killed, and many more would have died if our law-enforcement agencies had not managed to intercept some of the would-be attackers. We know where those who planned this slaughter are hiding, and we know they'll try again if we give them a chance". Privately, some of the invasion's harshest critics suggest that in defending the invasion the VP is more concerned with the interests of Israel, of which he has been an outspoken supporter, than with those of the United States.
In 1972, on New Year's Day, bombings rattle Havana.
Batista flees Havana by Eric LippsTo the disgust of U.S. occupation commander Gen. William Westmoreland, a shaken President Fulgencio Batista flees the city. U.S. troops are dispatched to "escort" the Cuban president back to the capital, where he receives a dressing-down from Gen. Westmoreland concerning his "cowardice".
The American commander is unhappy with Batista for another, more fundamental reason as well: his inability to put an end to the Castro insurgency despite the massive U.S. military and intelligence support he has received since his restoration to power.
Unwittingly anticipating a line later used in America, Westmoreland warns Batista that the seemingly unending rebellion is "a cancer growing on your presidency".
On this day in 1945, Allied troops in Germany attacked Wilhelmshaven in what would later be known as "the New Year's Day offensive".
On this day in 2007, certain resident of London phoned Scotland Yard to report an intruder in his house; when police arrived on the scene they discovered the intruder to be a giraffe which had been hiding in the man's loft for several days. When questioned, the man vehemently stated that he had not invited the giraffe into his house and that it was keeping him awake all night.
across the timelines, Dr. Richard Tolman and his crew of dimensional travelers battle to close the hole that has been torn across the barrier between parallel universes. One by one, his people are sucked into the great void, until he is left alone, and only the force of his own will stands between him and oblivion.As he floats in the wormhole that threatens to devour all the known universes, Tolman sees the beginning and the ending of the universe merging into one, and feels a presence share the void with him.
The beings formerly known as Sarah and John Thompson, one from the beginning and the other from the end of the universe, take notice of Tolman's plight and make the sacrifice that is necessary to replace the barrier between the universes. When Tolman comes to, he is back in his office in Berkeley. On a piece of paper in front of him are rough notes detailing a paper on parallel universes. He crumples the paper, tosses it in his wastebasket, and never gives the matter another thought.
In 1962, Pete Best, just starting his rise up the music world's ladder, signed with Capital Records. His former band, the unknowns called The Beatles, were rejected by Decca Records after an abysmal audition.
In 1952, the New Reich forms the Eurasian Union to coordinate their control over the disparate countries they have conquered in their war against the Greater Zionist Resistance and their Asian and African allies. It is largely a rubber stamp for German programs, created to give the appearance of international support for them.
In 1905, a ship is detected coming from the Mlosh homeworld. Long-range scans indicate that it is neither of the vessels sent by the Congress of Nations. A general alert is ordered for all military forces in the solar system.
In 47,425, BCE a young girl of a tribe in central Africa conceives of a unique idea; she can make hundreds of sounds, each easily distinguishable to the human ear. She thinks that if she attaches a specific sound to an idea, or to a thing, that she would be able to communicate her very thoughts to other people. The first sound she designates is for herself, and she calls herself Telka, the Speaker.
After (cont.) ~ It was crowded in the jeep. Eli had a fake National Guard uniform, but no one else was comfortable with him being visible to the world. So, everyone but Jake and Kevin hid under tarp until they were well out of Austin and rushing towards Bryan. When Kevin gave them the all clear, they came out of the tarp sucking down air as if they had been buried.
'So, how long a trip is it to Bryan?' George stood right behind his father, eagerly taking in the countryside.
'Couple hours, Kevin told him. 'We'll be there before you know it.'
True enough, the trip went quickly and smoothly. There was no traffic, and they saw no Guard units until they were approaching Bryan. The unit that they passed didn't even ask them for their papers, but just waved them through. Kevin then started directing Jake through a few back roads to his house, where they drove up to the sound of a dog barking. Kevin immediately hopped out and quieted the dog. 'Sorry I was gone so long, big guy', he said, patting the dog on the head. He looked over at the food and water bowls he had set out, and they were both empty. He let the dog out of the fenced yard as the crowd exited the car. The dog ran over and sniffed them all, while Kevin told them, 'Don't worry, he's really nice. That didn't seem to calm Mike and Eli, who kept as far away from the dog as they could. Kevin opened up the door to his house and he and the dog ran in, followed by the others. Eli took a quick look around at the other houses on the road, but no one seemed to be watching them, so he shut the door and joined the others.
Kevin busied himself with feeding his pet, and Janice sat down at his PC. 'Hey, computer man, do you need to check this thing for spyware and such before I turn it on?'
Kevin looked over at her, ready to tell her to just do it, but caution hit him. 'Hang on. He finished filling up the dog's dish and walked back to the living room and examined the case of his computer. No additional hardware had been added to the back, so he pulled out his tools and opened the case. He found nothing inside, either. 'It's clean', he told Janice.
Mike walked over to her and told her, 'You're not gonna make a direct connection anywhere, are ya?Janice paused, her fingers just touching the keyboard. 'Can you reroute me to throw 'em off?'
Kevin put a hand to his chest. 'How badly are you going to screw up my computer?'
'Relax, moneybags, you can buy another one.'
Kevin gave up and flopped down on the couch in front of the TV, with Steph and George. 'At least they're not showin' the emergency lady anymore', George said. The channel was on a cartoon.
Jake, Eli and Joan were all crowded into Kevin's small kitchen, raiding the meager contents of his refrigerator. The dog sniffed patiently at their backs, hoping for a few scraps to fall. They piled the food onto his kitchen table and dug in.
Kevin looked over at Steph, who looked back at him and smiled. 'Not how you planned your first day back as a millionaire, huh?'
'Nope.' He smiled back. 'Parts of it are nice, though.'
She turned away, but was still smiling. 'We're goin' to Roswell from here?'
'That's what they said. Apparently, John Kerry was in New Mexico when it all went down, and he started rallying people around him. President-elect, and all. He couldn't hide the disgust in his voice.'
'He's a good man', Steph said. 'A hero.'
'That's not true, Kevin said, shaking his head. 'All those swift-boat guys were talkin' about what a lie that was.'
Steph pursed her lips and phrased her response carefully. 'I think you need to reconsider who you get your truth from', Kevin.
About to launch back with a response straight from talk radio, Kevin bit his lip and thought better of it. He looked around at his crowded house and said, 'I'll try to keep an open mind.'
They turned their attention back to the TV, and the sun rose outside while the group in the kitchen satisfied their hunger and the pair at the computer got news from the underground. Kevin was starting to think about taking a nap when the emergency broadcast signal startled them all.
The emergency lady came on and said, 'Ladies and gentlemen, there is miraculous news from Waco this morning. President Bush survived the attempt on his life and has been rescued by Texas Guard units searching through the rubble of his ranch. According to the Guard, the president is in excellent shape, and plans to address the nation later today.
© Today in Alternate History, 2013-. All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.