A Daily Updating Blog of Important Events In History That Never Occurred Today.
Imagine what would be, if history had occurred a bit differently. Who says it didn't, somewhere? These fictional news items explore that possibility. Written by Alternate Historian

February 13

In 1689, a mere generation removed from the last Parliamentary-led revolution, William of Orange and his wife Mary, King James II's daughter, are invited to replaced Mary's father by his opposition in the Parliament.

A Kingdom no moreUnfortunately for the Parliament, the royal couple brought 15,000 soldiers with them, and refused to become the toothless monarchs that were envisioned in their invitation.

The war that followed shattered the institution of the monarchy as Parliament won the hard-fought struggle and declared Great Britain a republic and "a kingdom no more," in 1695.

In 1984, Soviet leader Yuri Andropov, recovering from the poison that rival Konstantin Chernenko had slipped him, orders a purge of all the Brezhnevians within the Kremlin, beginning with Chernenko.

Andropov saves the Soviet UnionAlthough the power struggle results in a brief revolt against his authority, Andropov is ultimately successful, and his reform policies help the Soviet Union integrate its economy more effectively into the growing global marketplace.

Andropov is often hailed as the man who saved the Soviet Union from a financial apocalypse.

It is Feb. 13 1542, and Henry VIII has just executed Katherine Howard. Following his bad experiences with his alternating Catholic and Protestant wives, Henry VIII decides to try his luck with a nice Jewish girl.

The Seventh Wife of Henry VIIIOfficially, of course, Jews were not allowed in England, but he sent word to the Arabs asking them to provide him with a candidate .. preferably one who had studied medicine with their famous physicians, since his leg was killing him. They accordingly sent a healer named Esther, who was, as the sultan assured him, just as charming as her Biblical namesake.

When Henry announced his intentions to his dumbfounded council, he explained, "The Catholics and Protestants have been driving me crazy with their nagging about the meaning of the Mass. I feel that this good lady could not care less".

Naturally, on her arrival he asked her if she had ever considered adultery, which had cost two wives their heads .. one Catholic and the other Protestant, of course, since he WAS an equal opportunity beheader. "It's a shanda!" she answered firmly. "A disgrace!"

Much encouraged, he inquired, "And what about the bread and wine?" Better you should try some nice chicken soup," she at once replied. After tasting her homemade recipe, he declared that it really would have been worth fighting for. While it was boiling, she decided to try it on his infected leg, while also applying some wine .. and to their great surprise, it worked.

Alas, she could not provide male heir, so Henry's children Edward, Mary and Elizabeth all followed him in due course to the throne. They were all so impressed with her medical skill that they made her their chief physician. Even Bloody Mary decided to keep her around, while explaining her presence by saying, "That's my stepmother, the doctor".

In 1639, on this day King Robert II's second-choice military commander John Lilburne took charge of the Tudor Army defending Newcastle from the latest Scottish attack in the decades-long "War of the Crosses".

Essex Rebellion #3
co-written with Richard Roper
Upon arrival he was shocked to discover that contrary to first reports his first choice predecessor Oliver Cromwell was very much alive. Astonishingly, the iconic Monarchist General had turned his coat and joined the Jacobite forces of the pretender to the English throne Charles Stuart, King of Scotland.

Fundamentally, this personal decision was driven by considerations of faith rather than politics. A devoutly religious man who answered first and foremost to God, Cromwell had formed an unshakeable reformist mentality as he matured in years. And during his prayers before the Battle of Newcastle, he had mistakenly determined that the Stuarts rather than the Tudors were better placed to uphold true religion and virtue.

It was quite true that the Stuarts had repeatedly played the Calvanist Card throughout the seventeenth century. But before too long, he would discover a shattering deeper truth. That just about the only thing the Stuarts wanted in life was the throne of England. It was a bitter revelation that would force Cromwell to depart for the Virginian Colonies and open up a brand new chapter in the "Essex Rebellion".
This post is a reversal of Robbie Taylor's King Robert article and continues the Tudor B*stards thread.

In 1945, on this day the United States Army Air Force dropped the first atomic bomb on Dresden, Hitler suffered a fatal stroke and the Second World War was over before the Red Army could cross the River Vistula.

Carnage Unfathomable at ElbflorenzA 1953 USAF report written by Joseph W. Angell defended the operation as the justified bombing of a military and industrial target, which was a major rail transportation and communication centre, housing 110 factories and 50,000 workers in support of the Nazi war effort. Humanists argued that Dresden was a cultural landmark of little or no military significance, a "Florence on the Elbe" (Elbflorenz).

Regardless this "shot across Stalin's bows" prevented the Soviet domination of post-war Eastern Europe enabling the Western Allies to honour their 1939 pledge to the Polish Government which had triggered the conflict.

In 1503, as the Second Italian War raged, Louis XII's knights pressed southward into Naples to confirm the king's claim to the Italian throne.

Firearms Drawn at BarlettaHe had taken Ferdinand II of Spain as an ally, offering to divide the spoils once Louis dominated Italy.

Ferdinand had agreed, but once Naples was taken, the two bickered over which lands would go to whom. Aragon and France turned on each other, each taking up allies and mercenaries from the locals.

During the war, a group of French knights were out imbibing the local wine, Rosso Barletta, and began raucously remarking about the quality of Italian knights, namely the lack thereof. Hearing that Charles de la Motte had called them cowards, the Italian knights challenged the French to a tournament. The thirteen-on-thirteen contest went well for the Italians, so much so that unsportsmanlike activity broke out. During a scuffle, an Italian page pulled an arquebus and fired, spooking the horses and injuring one of the French knights. The Italians broke off the contest, embarrassed at the break of chivalry, and the French learned a valuable lesson about the effective power of small arms.

They returned to the French army, and word of the fight worked its way up to the Duke of Nemours. He and his advisers discerned the effectiveness of the small arms, just as they had for the long range cannon, of which the French had much more than the Spanish. Over the next months, he encouraged his pike-wielding Swiss to emulate the Spanish Coronelias, which fought with mixed pikes, swords, and arquebuses.

In late April, Nemours moved on the Spanish at Cerignola. The French outnumbered them 32,000 to 8,000 and had twice as many cannon, but the Spanish "El Gran Capitan" Gonzalo Fernandez de Cordoba had expertly fortified the high ground with trenches, walls, and stakes. Heavy Spanish artillery fire broke up the initial French charges, and Nemours first planned an attack on the right flank against arquebusiers. However, as he recalled the effectiveness of the arquebus against a knight from the tournament a couple of months before, he decided on a new strategy. War had changed, and to be victorious, the French army would have to adapt beyond artillery.

Nemours moved his artillery and began pounding the Spanish infantry. When they seemed softened, he moved forward the Swiss and assaulted, taking the first volley from the arquebuses with an exchange of fire. Before the Spanish could reload, the French knights charged past the Swiss and stormed the trench. The Swiss followed after the breach, and the numbers of the French army overwhelmed the Spanish defenders. While the French took massive casualties, the Spanish were thoroughly defeated, and expert commander Cordoba was captured.

The next year, the Louis signed the Treaty of Lyon with Ferdinand, securing French control over mainland Italy. Spain still held Sicily, but Louis had built a league with Venice and the Papal States that would dominate Italy and, perhaps more importantly, the growing trade with the East. During the rebuilding of Italy, Francis I instituted imperialistic laws to dominate the Italian banking, shifting the financial center of Europe from northern Italy to Paris. Portugal flourished with trade from India, and Spain grew wealthy on gold from the New World, and France launched its own expeditions to dominate Africa and the Mediterranean, interrupting the expansion of the Ottomans, as well as colonizing much of what would become North America.

During the nationalistic revolutions toward the end of the Age of Enlightenment, the Italians would rally to unify themselves in revolt against France in 1798, creating a new state and key player in Europe.

In 2007, on this day the bipartisan Presidency of John Kerry ended with his tragic death in office and ironically, the elevation of VP John McCain caused such a political earthquake that just twelve months later, three parties would race for the White House.

A Stronger America
Co-written with Scott Palter
From the outset, polling had strongly indicated that McCain was the only running mate who could overturn a Bush/Cheney re-election.

Driven by the desperate urge to keep Bush and Cheney from returning to office, leading Democrats were forced to agree. And ultimately, McCain was a controversial, some would say maverick, figure who could create a new bipartisan consensus for change.

  • "...if John Kerry said that's who he wanted, and McCain - I'd encourage McCain to say yes. .... you know, we need some unity here, man. The red states and the blue states - we've got to have something to coalesce around here" ~ Joe Biden
  • "I'm a big admirer of John McCain's" ~ Hillary Clinton
  • He is a very bipartisan figure, he would be accepted by the Democratic party" ~ Dick Gephardt
A CBS poll showed a Kerry-McCain ticket destroying the Bush-Cheney ticket 53%-39%, other polls showed the ticket touching 60%. "John Kerry is a close friend of mine. We have been friends for years," McCain said on Good Morning America "Obviously I would entertain it". But McCain only broke his relationship with Bush over disagreements about reversing the deteriorating situation in Afghanistan. And Kerry saw the opportunity to drive the wedge between the two Republican by offering McCain a super-ministry to oversee both defence and national security.

Political commentators would speculatively compare McCain's actual record in office with the probable actions of a Bush/Cheney second term. But by then the focus on neocons had been replaced by the emerging Tea Party led by Ron Paul, a grassroots movement would would surely have emerged more powerfully if Kerry-McCain had not regulated Wall Street and thus prevented a financial armaggedon in 2008. And on the left, the McCain-Lieberman ticket had to confront a resurgent left-wing led by the charismatic Illinois Sentator, Barack Obama..

On this day in 1921, the Chicago White Sox released Ray Schalk from their roster; Schalk would spend most of the next 18 months on the semi-pro circuit before returning to the American League in 1923 as a reserve catcher with the St. Louis Browns.

 - Ray Schalk
Ray Schalk

On this day in 1957, Les Harrison, owner of the NBA's Rochester Royals, finalized a deal with a trio of Texas millionaires to relocate his franchise to the Houston area for the 1957-58 NBA season. In tribute to Houston's role in the Texas oil boom of the early 20th century, the team would subsequently be renamed the Houston Oilers.

Logo - Rochester Royals
Rochester Royals
In 1955, Israel acquired half of the Dead Sea Scrolls, including the one purportedly written by Jesus himself, which began, 'In the name of the most holy, we renounce all the faiths of man, because the one true God cannot be contained within the pages of a book.' Representatives of the Jewish, Muslim, Christian, Buddhist, Hindu and various Animist faiths met secretly in Jerusalem to destroy this tract in particular.
In 1952, in the early morning hours, Mikhail von Heflin gives Juan Escobar a choice - ride back to Mexico and never bother the Baron again, or die. Escobar chooses the former, and the Baron and his companion Velma Porter deposit the Mexican paranormalist back at his motel. As they watch him leave, von Heflin cannot shake the feeling that he will see Escobar again.
In 1940, Dresden, a Greater Zionist Resistance stronghold in Germany, is destroyed by a nuclear blast. Although the German Underground seeks to blame the G.Z.R., the whole world knows that it was one of their weapons, and sanctions are briefly enacted against the rogue regime.
In 1904, Q'B'Ton'ra is driven from the earth's solar system by a defensive force he clearly did not expect to be more advanced than his own. The Congress of Nations embassy ship manages to break through the back of his line and reach the sanctuary of Pluto. Although the earth's people are cheered by the return of the ship, they are saddened at the loss of Ambassador Li'Kanto'Mk, and he is memorialized with full honors.
In 1882, the Social-Democratic Union, a labor organization inspired by and partially funded by the Communist and Socialist parties in America, is organized in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. The reactionaries in that monarchy quickly attack the fledgling labor movement, hoping to keep their immoral grasp on power a little longer.
In 1905, President Theodore Roosevelt of the U.S. delivered his most influential speech, decrying the 'race problem' in America. He announced that his Justice Department would immediately begin prosecuting lynchings, and pushed for law which guaranteed the rights of minorities in the country. The flabbergasted elite of the New York Republican Club, where he delivered the speech, denounced Roosevelt as a 'dangerous radical' for the speech, but later generations saw him as a visionary.
In 1892, surrealist Grant Wood was born in Anamosa, Iowa. Although his early work was fairly conventional, he entered the company of the surrealists when he moved to New York in 1928, and his mishmash of midwestern America with strange shapes and creations sprung from his imagination captured the attention of the world. His most famous piece, American Gothic, depicting a devil, complete with pitchfork, alongside a frumpy Iowa farmwoman, has been parodied so many times that people who have never seen the original recognize the tableau instantly.
In 1939, director George Cukor was released from the production of Gone With The Wind being filmed by David O. Selznick and starring Clark Gable. Both Gable and Selznick had difficulties with Cukor, but he turned out to be the only one willing to take on the huge project. The film fell apart and production was abandoned, financially ruining Selznick's studio. To add insult to injury, Cukor won the Academy Award for direction that year for The Women, the picture he went on to direct after leaving GWTW.
In 1542, Pope Henry VIII executed a fifth consort for heresy. In spite of the rather horrendous ends met by his other consorts, women across Christendom still clamored to join themselves to the leader of the Holy British Empire, and Sister Catherine Parr, author of the devotional tracks Prayers and Meditations and Lamentations of a Sinner, became the Papal Consort in 1543.

February 12

In 1809, a boy named Abraham Lincoln was born in a small cabin in Hodgenville, Kentucky.

Birth of Three-Term President LincolnHe grew up to become President of the United States, lead the country through a civil war, and survive not one but two assassination attempts in his three terms in office.

Although the rights of the freed slaves in the former Confederacy suffered in the lax occupation he forced on them, he did ensure their freedom, and helped millions of them emigrate to the northern states.

In 1809, on this day Abraham Lincoln the last president of the united nation founded by Virginians and New England patriots was born in the Hardin County, Kentucky (then USA).

Last President of an Undivided USWhen he was ten his family moved to Illinois where he was home schooled and then elected to the State Legislature. While working as a self taught circuit lawyer he was elected to the US House of Representatives, however when he ran for the US Senate he was defeated twice. However, in the process of the campaigns, he had proven a formidable opponent to the expansion of slavery in the United States. When the Republican party was created to combat slavery, Lincoln was a delegate to the first statewide convention (in neighboring Illinois)in 1854. In 1856, the party nominated John C. Fremont for president. Though Fremont lost, the party became a movement to be reckoned with. In 1860, Lincoln was selected as nominee for president, and was elected to be the last president of an undivided United States.

Events leading to his election as president had caused political dissent in the states which resulted in an official secession of several southern states. Reacting to this as an act of rebellion, Lincoln had asked for and got a declaration of war. Failing to secure the loyalty of Virginia, the remaining United States were locked in a war that lasted for most of his two terms. After a propaganda campaign to defeat a popular General in the 1864, he was to live in seclusion for fear of Confederate assassins rumored to be in the Washington. In 1865, he saw the CSA hold its boundaries secure and sue for armistice after his failed attempt to "slash and burn" the farmland of the deep south.

A new article from the "Two Americas" thread on Althistory WikiaAfter the ceasefire, Lincoln worked with the generals in his army to secure border cities to assure a peaceful transition and rebuilding of his beloved Union. He worked to assure that the Republican Party would hold office in what were certain to be tumultuous years ahead. Having successfully abolished slavery within the United States, Lincoln began a campaign to abolish what he saw as another great evil -- the manufacture and distribution of alcoholic beverage. The hero of the western campaign, and one time head of the whole Union Army, General U.S. Grant, was opposed to this campaign, painting it as an attack on free enterprise and civil liberties.

In March of 1869, Lincoln left office, turning over the reins of a much smaller nation to Ulysses Grant. He was a broken man, in failing health, and with very few friends. The New York Temperance League, with whom he had worked for the later part of his presidency, promised him and his family a place to stay in New York City, where he died in June 19, 1881, of what was called "consumption" (a form of Tuberculosis, according to forensic experts of today) at the age of 72.
The whole alternate biography is available Althistory Wiki.

In 1554, after a troubling eight months in which her claim to the English throne seemed questionable at best, Jane Grey was formally crowned queen in Westminster Abbey.

Coronation of Queen JaneThe matter had arisen as Henry VIII's son Edward VI had fallen deathly ill while still only 15 years old. Without an heir, his crown would pass along the lines established by the Third Succession Act of 1543, in which Parliament had reestablished Edward's half-sisters. The later Treason Act of 1547 declared that anyone interrupting the line of succession was to be guilty of high treason and subject to the severe punishment that followed. Despite this, as Edward approached his death, he hoped to circumvent Catholic Mary's takeover of England by his "Devise for the Succession" on June 21, 1553. In this will, he named his successor to be his Protestant cousin Jane Grey, wife of Lord Guildford Dudley and granddaughter of Henry VII.

Edward's will was carried by 102 signatories, including the entire Privy Council. He planned to make the announcement formally in September, but he would die July 6 despite the best efforts of physicians, conjurers, and an Oxford professor. On July 10, sixteen-year-old Jane was proclaimed queen, though she initially refused and had to be persuaded by her parents. While things seemed in order in London for her to take the throne, there were great rumblings as to where exactly Edward's adviser the Duke of Northumberland, and Jane's father-in-law, stood. To some, he seemed to be causing a coup to set his son up as king.

The rumors were exacerbated as Northumberland sent troops to capture Mary, who had been staying in Hertfordshire. Mary, however, had gone at news of her brother's illness to her holdings in East Anglia to gather support. She raised a formidable army and sent a letter to London demanding her right as queen. Northumberland was torn between maintaining Jane's position in London or marching out to defeat Mary. Finally the issue was decided as Jane demanded that Northumberland stay with her, and he determined to force the Council to continue its loyalty. In major legal concessions all that winter, Northumberland guided Jane in granting Parliament greater powers, winning their support enough to override the Succession Act with a new one honoring Edward's will.

Mary meanwhile took her march on London, which unified the people against her. Her assault was repelled, and she fell back toward Cambridge to regroup. She was a staunch Catholic and used the remaining Papists who had survived her father's purges as strength. Protestants, however, formed up against her. The Reformation had spread through preachers to England, particularly in Kent where Sir Thomas Wyatt led the support for Protestant Jane. The thought of returning to Catholicism created a schism in the country with a short civil war.

After major defeats in January, Mary was forced to flee the country and attempted to find asylum in Spain. While there, she fell in love with King Philip II, who eventually married her. In London, Jane would be crowned sole ruler while her husband served as Duke of Clarence. War erupted as Philip attempted to seize the English throne for Mary, but Mary's death in childbirth in 1558 cut his claim short. Jane would rely primarily on her Council and Parliament, establishing a growing tradition of popular rule that harkened back to the days of the Magna Carta. Parliament would be expanded in the next century by leaders such as Sir Oliver Cromwell.

Rather than ruling overtly, Jane's seemingly greatest accomplishment on the throne was producing strong, healthy heirs, two boys and a girl, the eldest growing to become King Henry IX upon Jane's death in 1579. The question of religion served as Jane's second matter of interest, stomping out Catholic strength, though it would go underground, striking back in such attacks as the Gunpowder Plot of 1605 in which twenty members of Parliament were slain.

In 1809, on this day Confederate President Abraham Lincoln was born in a log cabin in Hodgkins Creek, Hardin County less than eight months after, and one hundred miles distance from, the more salubrious birthplace of his fellow Kentuckian Jefferson Davis. Despite these proximities, the distances in circumstance were huge, and Lincoln would depend upon the sponsorship of the Davis family for his entire adult life.

An unexpected PresidencyDue to their lack of prospects, and opposition to the practice of slavery, his father Thomas Lincoln decided to head north, to move the family across the Ohio river into Indiana. Their fortunes would be lost to history, but before they left, he sought out a wealthy family that was looking to settle in the south. One that would adopt a son who was so poor that he "only had friends".

In a contradiction of that era that is hard to understand in the modern age, Lincoln was effectively sold as a white slave to the Davis family, who then moved to a plantation in northern Mississippi. But in a triumph of expedience over principle that would foreshadow his whole career, the move worked out pretty well for him. Lincoln established himself as a Rail Road Lawyer before becoming involved in Whig politics. Meanwhile Jeff Davis served in the Mexican War as Colonel in the Missississippi Rifles before rising to the position of US Secretary of State for War.

Fate intervened on the eve of the civil war when Davis was arrested in Washington attempting to purchase one thousand rifles from the arms manufacturer Eli Whitney. A natural (if reluctant) candidate for Confederate President, the Constitutional Convention in Montgomery Alabama accepted the absent Davis recommendation that Lincoln was a more suitable leader due to his enhanced political skills. Instead, after his release, Davis would fill the office of Confederate Secretary of War, a position that ultimately he was far better suited to.

In 1863, a General Election was held for Parliament's House of Commons. Viscount Palmerston, Prime Minister since 1855, was ousted from office and Conservative Leader Lord Derby became Prime Minister. As Derby is a member of the House of Lords, Benjamin Disraeli is the leader of the Conservative Party in Commons.

The Scrooge Contribution Part VIIGiven the results from the battlefields, the political transition had been anticipated for over a year. Two invasions of San Francisco had been resisted and pushed back in 1862, and Grant's Expedition had suffered a sharp setback on the banks of the Rogue River of southern Oregon. Those developments pretty well dismantled the Palmerston Plan for an easy acquisition of California by the British.

Lord Palmerston acknowledged his defeat. "I ought to have listened to my guts rather than Ebenezer Scrooge". In his own constituency, Mr. Scrooge lost his election by 60% of the vote going to his Conservative opponent.

Lord Derby defers to his leader in the House, Benjamin Disraeli, whose chief policy is the closure of the plan to annex California. William E. Gladstone, who is working with Lord John Russell among the remaining Liberals, cautions that British honor is tied to the promises of independence made to the several States of the Southern Confederacy.

Jubilation sweeps down the St. Laurence on both sides of the Canadian-American border on news of the General Election results. US President Abraham Lincoln, accused of frustrating American military plans by his delay in authorizing an invasion of Canada, issued new orders approving of the dissolution of the Army of the Niagara & the Army of the Hudson.

In Richmond, Virginia, Admiral Sir Alexander Milne visited Jefferson Davis in his office at the Confederate White House. The Admiral told the President that he expected new orders to withdraw his hundred ships from blockade duties, and that the Confederacy would once again have to confront the Union with its own resources.

The President was cold and rude, stating that he did not expect "our ally, our mother country, to desert us in the middle of this war".

President Davis had another appointment in two hours. He and his Cabinet, assisted by input from General Lee, would decide on Confederate policy on British withdraw.

Further afield, where the French had been quartered in VeraCruz for more than a year, news arrived that the French were finally going home.

Tortured by indecision ((should Napoleon III take the opportunity to conquer Mexico? should France join with England in seizing California? should France take the field against the Union?)), the French forces had done nothing but sit in the Mexican port. Benito Juarez received news of the French departure with courtesy and concealed relief. He had long feared that the French might try to get involved in internal Mexican politics.

In 1979, Confederate President Jimmy Carter sends a letter of congratulations to Ayatollah Khomeini and his revolutionaries for securing control of their country following prolonged hostilities to bring about a new "Islamic Republic" in Iran. The letter also contains a note of hope that both the CSA and Iran can now begin a new era of friendliness and co-operation, and begin a new relationship that would be beneficial for them both.
A post from the two Americas Reunification 80 thread by Gerry Shannon.

"To the Revolution, Our Congrats" by Gerry ShannonThe letter is read out on state media and printed in Iranian national newspapers, and it's chief theme is the similarities - however forced - that Carter demonstrates between the revolutionary roots of the Confederacy and this new Islamic Republic. Carter ends with a flourish by quoting the words of Robert E. Lee, the second President of the Confederate States of America, who once wrote: "You can be anything you want to be, have anything you desire, accomplish anything you set out to accomplish - if you hold to that desire with a singleness of purpose".

Though Carter's letter gets guarded praise from the Ayatollah, the reaction in the government of the United States is one of fury. US President Ted Kennedy (pictured, right) and his cabinet feel Carter is being too opportunistic after the collapse of the US-backed Iranian government, and that the Confederacy is clearly hoping to gain from the financial interests that it's neighbour has now lost and ultimately have a foothold in the troubled Middle East.

However, Kennedy's deeper concern - as he relates to his Chief of Staff Mary Kopechne - is that relations between the United States and Confederacy will be damaged enough to put his dream of reunification of the two countries indefinitely on hold. Though Kennedy himself could not have foreseen these fraught relations becoming even further strained when the United States embassy in Iran would be seized by Iranian forces nine months later in a prolonged hostage crisis.

In 2000, on this day the American cartoonist Charles Monroe Schulz died in Santa Rosa, California; he was best known worldwide for his "Peanuts" comic strip which he had run for five decades without interruption, appearing in more than 2,600 newspapers in 75 countries.

Dirty TrickIt was originally planned that the strip would outlive him, but due to a stroke the previous December he had been unable to continue producing it. Nevertheless, the day after he died a final edition was published in which Charlie Brown finally got to kick that football after so many decades. "Good shot, Charlie Brown!" says Franklin in the final frame.

"I felt like Franklin from The Charlie Brown Show. You've seen Franklin for 25 years and not one line! Nothing. Twenty five years!" ~ Chris RockSchultz original response to the suggestion had been dismissive "Oh, no! Definitely not! I couldn't have Charlie Brown kick that football; that would be a terrible disservice to him after nearly half a century". Yet, in a December 1999 interview, holding back tears, he recounted the moment when he signed the panel of his final strip, saying, "All of a sudden I thought, You know, that poor, poor kid, he never even got to kick the football. What a dirty trick - he never had a chance to kick the football".

In 2010, on this day Romeo Dallaire, Jr. completed the Olympic Torch Relay which had been conducted by thousands of Canadians of all ages and cultural backgrounds: on foot, dog sled, snowmobile, horse, plane and virtually every means of transport known to the people of Canada. The flame was first lit in Olympia in late 2009, travelling from Greece, over the North Pole to Canada's high Arctic and on to the West Coast and Vancouver.

A Son Never ForgetsDallaire's entry into BC Place Stadium commenced the XXI Olympic Winter Games (or the 21st Winter Olympics) and ended an even more remarkable and symbolic journey that had begun sixteen years before when his guardian / father had been the Commanding Officer of United Nations Assistance Mission for Rwanda (UNAMIR), the ill-fated United Nations peacekeeping force charged with stopping the genocide that was being waged by Hutu extremists against Tutsis and Hutu moderates.

"Having delivered our precious cargo of souls, we were headed back to Kigali in a white UN Land Cruiser. Suddenly up ahead we saw a child wandering across the road. He was about three years old, dressed in a filthy T-shirt, the ragged remants of underwear, little more than a loincloth, dropping from his distended belly .. As I stumbled into the hut, a swarm of flies invaded my nose and mouth. The little boy was crouched beside what was left of his mother, still suckling on his biscuit. I made up my mind, this boy would be the fourth child in the Dallaire family. I couldn't save Rwanda, but I could save this child". ~ Lieutenant-General Romeo Alain Dallaire, OC, CMM, GOQ, MSC, CD

In 2002, Battle for Mazari Sharif begins. U.S. forces, working with Kurdish rebels from northern Afghanistan, seize the city. Taliban resistance has been crippled by prior cluster bombing of troop positions and vehicle convoys. By nightfall, the city is in the hands of the U.S. and its Kurdish allies.

 - Al Gore
Al Gore

In 1844, Prime Minister Sir Robert Peel addresses the British Parliament regarding the Colonial Reform Act, startling his Conservative colleagues by offering support for it.

Arguing from his experiences in police reform, he observes that the ability of the government to maintain control without excessive use of physical force depends on public support, and "public support itself depends upon the public's sense that it has options for redress of grievances short of defying established authorities".

Prime Minister
Prime Minister - Robert Peel
Robert Peel

Peel observes that both the general colonial revolt of the 1770s and the Southern rebellion of 1838-'41 arose from a sense on the part of those involved that, without representation, they had no such options; as evidence, he reminds his listeners that one of the key slogans of the first rebellion was 'No taxation without representation.'

In 1814, with the violence which had erupted in Tennessee following the so-called 'Fort Coxeboro Massacre' finally subsiding, the commander of the British garrison lifts martial law.

Military rule had been of only limited effectiveness anyway in the thinly-settled colony. The commander does, however, request a permanent increase in the number of troops allotted to his command.

 - Andrew Jackson
Andrew Jackson

Andrew Jackson, who as leader of the colonial delegation sent to Fort Coxeboro in May of 1813 to present a list of colonists' grievances to the colonial authorities had been first humiliated and then killed following the outbreak of fighting, has been memorialized among the settlers despite strong official disapproval. Colonial authorities fear that he will become a symbol around whom would-be rebels may rally in the future.

In 1999, on a nearly straight party-line vote, President Hillary Clinton is acquitted in her impeachment trial. The nation's first woman president was a target for the Republican Party from the day she was elected in 1996, and they thought that charges of illegality in an old land deal, long since proven false, could provide cover for them to remove her from office. The nation thought otherwise; she won reelection in 2000 by a landslide.
In 1909, in Baltimore, Maryland the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People was founded on this day by a diverse group composed of W. E. B. Du Bois (African American), Ida B. Wells (African American), Archibald Grimke (African American), Henry Moskowitz (Jewish), Mary White Ovington (White), Oswald Garrison Villard (German-born White), and William English Walling (White, and son of a former slave owning family), to work on behalf of the rights of African Americans. During the nineteen forties, the rise of Hitler forced the NAACP to join forces with other indigenes, creating the Semitic-African Resistance (S.A.R). The S.A.R. were the heirs to the legacy of the Greater Zionist Resistance, attempting to protect their people after the G.Z.R. dream of conquest had been defeated.
In 2003, an uneasy truce settles into place along the borders of Washington and Idaho as troops of the Soviet States blockade the last two soviets of the People's Republic of America. Negotiations in Washington, D.C. progress, but very slowly.
In 1973, Lieutenant Ralph Shephard is blinded by an accidental spraying of Agent Orange on his position in Vietnam. He is blinded for several days, and sent back to the United States to recuperate. While he is still recovering, the United States begins its pullout from the country; it is the first military loss for the U.S. and it incenses Shephard so much that he begins a political party called the Constitutionalist Party to challenge the status quo.
In 1952, Juan Escobar is surprised in his Bryan motel room by Velma Porter and Mikhail von Heflin. They abduct him, stuff him into the trunk of their car, and drive him deep into the countryside north of the small Texas town. Much to Escobar's surprise, von Heflin and Porter attempt to reason with him when they take him from the trunk. The three of them discuss Escobar's situation deep into the night.
In 4608, Hsuan T'ung, cousin to Emperor Chengzu and prince of the Manchurian Province, abdicates his throne and enters the monastery. His spiritual leadership sparks a revival of the flagging monastic life, and rebirth of religious life in the Chinese Empire.
In 1904, Q'B'Ton'ra's fleet enter's the Oort cloud at the edge of earth's solar system, where they are engaged by the Congress of Nations' defensive force. Admiral Hamid gives Q'B'Ton'ra a choice - Leave our solar system alive, or leave your spirit here. Q'B'Ton'ra's response is to order his vessels to fire on Hamid's ship, and the battle begins.
In 1691, the Williamite Army abandons the siege of Dublin. By now the war in Ireland is seen as more or less a stalemate. It is clear that James will not be able to invade England and remount the throne, but it seems increasingly unlikely that William will gain control over Ireland. James' advisors are beginning to convince him to accept William's control over England and Scotland, in the short time at least. And consoladate control over Ireland. King William is facing similar calls to 'let the papists go' [continued from July 1st 1690, continues October 3rd 1691]
In, 4082 BCE, a descendant of Telka the Speaker named Icarus, a Hellene, constructs the first working flying machine that has been successful for the Speaker's Line. He demonstrates it for his clan, and during the leap from a cliff, he manages to soar over a hundred feet in the area. A support breaks while he is flying, though, and he falls to his death. The Speaker's Line learns from his example, and moves on.

February 11

In 1921, on this day 1988 Democratic Party Presidential Nominee Lloyd Millard Bentsen, Jr. born in Mission, Hidalgo County, Texas. During World War Two, he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and promoted to the rank of Major in the Air Force.

Birth of Lloyd BentsenHe served in both the House of Representatives and also the Senate, interrupted by a business career in the Houston insurance industry. His first race for the Presidency was in 1972, and a dozen years later he was considered for VP Nominee by Walter Mondale. And although he pipped Michael Dukakis to the nomination and ran a close fought campaign on the issues alongside running mate Michigan Governor James Blanchard he crashed to defeat at the hands of fellow Texan (and war-time pilot) George H.W. Bush.

He decided not to run again in 1992 due to the President's popularity after the Gulf War. This was somewhat ironic because after the resignation of Les Aspin in early 1994, he was chosen for the position of Secretary of Defense ahead of William Perry.

In 1943, on this day ill-fated US General Dwight D. Eisenhower was selected to command the allied armies in Europe.

Eisenhower Dies in Jeep Accident It was an incredible promotion coming five years after a low ebb in his peace-time Army career when he believed he was being forced out. However ten months later tragedy struck just one day after being unceremoniously appointed Supreme Commander in the coming Operation Overlord. Informed by a handwritten note from FDR to Stalin, he died in a jeep accident while being transported from headquarters. While some speculate that the accident was in fact Nazi assassination or perhaps political intrigue, the majority of historians agree that it was simply the fault of a dog crossing the road. Funeral services were conducted in Europe and again in the United States with the war hero's body being interred at Arlington National Cemetery. Having lost a great leader, FDR woefully appointed Chief of Staff George C. Marshall, whom he had earlier told, "I didn't feel I could sleep at ease if you were out of Washington" when explaining his choice.

Many considered the appointment a demotion for Marshall, as he was in key position in Washington to organize and manage the resources of the Allies. Churchill himself would call Marshall the "organizer of victory", and now it was Marshall's duty to exact that victory in Europe. With the landing at Normandy in June 1944, victory in Europe gradually became a reality. When the war ended, Marshall continued to his duties to America by his appointment to China by President Truman to broker peace between the Chinese Nationalists and Communists. No peace could be made (and Marshall argued against the Pentagon that the United States simply shouldn't become involved), and Marshall returned to the US, soon appointed Secretary of State. Here he would win a Nobel Peace Prize for his "Marshall Plan" for the organization and rebuilding of post-war Europe, also being named Time Magazine's Man of the Year for the second time.

After retiring on grounds of ill health, Marshall was again brought to duty on the call of President Truman to be Secretary of Defense. The Korean War had shown how poorly the post-war American armed forces had been organized, and no one organized better than Marshall. Marshall effectively prepared the military for demobilization in less than a year and retired again. Meanwhile, fellow Five Star General Omar Bradley would be instrumental in Truman's decision to relieve MacArthur of command before he sparked a war with China.

In 1952, Marshall would be called up again, this time by the Democratic Party. General Bradley was running on the Republican ticket for president, and the Democrats sought a president that could surpass his military clout. Marshall declined, saying, "I'll stick with retirement. When men like Joe McCarthy are running around, Washington is no place for me.

While the Democratic nominee Adlai Stevenson would lose out against President Bradley, Marshall's famous statement would cause a surge of unpopularity for McCarthy, costing him his reelection to the Senate. Bradley's two terms would be famed for their time of prosperity, forward development with projects such as the Bradley Continental Highway, and his liberal leanings, continuing New Deal programs and combating segregation, as well as his openness in international policy with Communism. The Bradley Doctrine would prevent America from becoming something of a policeman, instead working to ensure that proper popular elections were held, preventing another Korea and MacArthur.

Through the course of the latter half of the twentieth century, Communism would grow throughout the world, taking over many nations in Southeast Asia, North Africa, and Central and South America. By the 1980s, however, the Stalinist nations would begin to fall apart after defeat in Iran and Afghanistan, leading to Germany reunifying and the Soviet bloc disappearing. The other "communist" nations of the world turned either into militaristic dictators or revolutionized themselves as seen in Red China, conflict with which Bradley had said would be "The wrong war, at the wrong place, at the wrong time, and with the wrong enemy".

In 1936, on this day at the Winter Olympics in Bavaria, Great Britain upset 1932 gold medalists Canada to win the final round of the men's ice hockey.

The Right Honourable Arnold Hiller, M.P
A second teaser by Ed & Chris Oakley
The winning goal was scored by Edgar Brenchley, a native of Sittingbourne in England who had emigrated to Canada as a child. He had learned the craft of ice hockey in Niagara Falls, Ontario before returning home as an adult to join the English Hockey League.

The game was watched by another emigre, British Prime Minister Arnold Hiller (pictured) whose German family had moved to South London, some forty miles from Sittingbourne. Because the Schicklegrubers had actually originated from Braunau am Inn, just across the border in Austria and only one hundred and thirty miles from the market town of Garmisch-Partenkirchen where the Games were being held. It was a small world, and Hiller was a megalomaniac who wanted it all for himself.

Despite these proximities, their paths would never cross again; in 1940 Hiller learned that Brenchley had perished in combat1. The British invasion of France not only took the lives of several players in both the English and Canadian ice hockey teams, it would be the precipitative event that touched off the Second World War.
You can read read the latest installment of Chris Oakley's time at The Right Honourable Arnold Hiller MP at Changing the Times Magazine.

In 1945, on this day at the Livadia Palace near Yalta the shape of the post-war German occupation zones was laid down at the Argonaut Conference. The result was the quadrapartite decision to create a contiguous Soviet Occupation Zone with an undivided Berlin as its capital.

Achilles HeelAlthough this ruthless decision was the source of bitter controversy, and indeed blamed for the creation of a Soviet Prussian State by the German dissident Willy Brandt1, it was based upon sound, reasoned logic. Because the truth was that the Soviet Union had steadfastly refused to offer sufficiently firm guarantees to maintain a Western garrison. But instead of gaining this "Achilles Heel", the Western Allies had wrung some important concessions; the retention of Saxony and the Thuringia; the scrapping of plans to grant the lands east of the Oder and Neisse rivers to Poland and the absorption of northern East Prussia into the Soviet Union.
This blog is a reboot of an article with the Berlin Airlift Begins World War III.

In 2012, Suite 434 of the Beverly Hilton Hotel was entered by a notorious criminal who robbed America of an irreplaceable national treasure that by comparison diminished the Statue of Liberty to the value of a cheap French souvenir.
Listen to "My Heart" from Just Whitney

MamaWhitney Houston's gasp of surprise revealed that the intruder was not altogether unexpected. Nevertheless, a brief struggle ensued, but there could only be one winner. Shortly afterwards, her bruised and lifeless body was found submerged in the bathtub.

Even if the tortured soul of Whitney Houston could be perhaps forgiven for the release, then her death came as a profound emotional shock to her family. For many months, her ex-husband would suffer crying fits, while her daughter would call out to an empty home. But these matters were of no concern to the killer who hurriedly stepped out of the hotel room in pursuit of the other victims that he had targeted for the evening. Although his identity is well known to the Government, there is no reason to believe that his centuries-long killing spree will end any time soon.

In 1854, Commodore Matthew C Perry returned to Tokyo Bay with a fleet of eight warships on this day to accept the reply of the Japanese Shogun Tokugawa Iesada to a letter from American President Millard Fillmore.

Commodore Perry Rebuffed in the Battle of OdaibaThe letter, delivered by Commodore Perry a year before, contained the demand by Fillmore the Japan accept America's terms of opening trade relations between the two nations. At the time, the trade policy of Japan was that of "Sakoku", which among other things limited Japan's trade dealings with other nations. Only China, with its proximity and resources, and the Netherlands could trade with Japan. As had been promised if the Japanese chose not to cooperate with the United States, Perry ordered the eight ships, with their combined 80 guns and 2,000 marines, to steam toward Uruga and prepare to attack. Since the Japanese capital of Edo was out of range of the frigates' cannons, Uruga had been marked for "utter destruction" to demonstrate the seriousness of American resolve.

Unknown to Perry, while Perry had been in China awaited the Japanese reply, the Shogunate had ordered the island of Odaiba to be armed and ready to attack the Americans when they returned. A new post by Andrew BeaneEleven batteries of smooth-bore 80 pound cannons were placed on the island, supplemented by dozens of "wood cannons", hollowed-out tree trunks held together by iron bands and used as actual cannons. They were ready to give President Fillmore his answer.

Perry's fleet was greeted with a barrage of cannon fire, though the ill-trained Japanese defenders had trouble finding their targets. Nevertheless, with the Mississippi and the Saratoga sunk, and the Plymouth badly damaged, Perry decided to cut his losses and return to the United States. After the long journey back to Norfolk, Virginia, Perry reported his failure to President Franklin Pierce, who had taken office while Perry was in Asia, and was promptly relieved of command. Congress would not allow the money required to send a larger force to Japan, so the United States left Japan alone in its self-imposed isolation.

In 1803, the law of the young United States was only a little more than a decade old since its formal establishment with the ratification of the Constitution.

Marshall Forced to Recuse Himself Older law stretched back by precedent in the days of the Articles of Confederation and even colonial charters, creating the base of English common law that would judge how the basic affairs of personal matters could be handled. However, the highest echelons of the government were new and undecided. In a pivotal case for the Supreme Court, Congress won its position as highest power of the land, outranking even the Constitution itself, out of the character assassination of Chief Justice John Marshall.

The matter at hand was that of the "Midnight Judges" who had been appointed in the last hours of the Federalist Party controlling the government. Jeffersonian Republicans had won the elections in 1800 handily, meaning that the power of the Federalist Congress and President John Adams would simply disappear. In order to maintain what they felt as a sense of sanity for the young nation, John Adams used the newly passed Judiciary Act of 1801 to appoint Federalist-leaning men to some 58 positions as circuit judges and justices of the peace. After approval by the Senate, Secretary of State John Marshall (who had also been appointed Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, but stayed in his executive position at Adams' request) was able to deliver the majority of the appointments. A few would-be judges, however, were unable to be reached, and upon March 4, Jefferson was formally sworn in as president. Among his first actions to Levi Lincoln, Attorney General and acting Secretary of State, ordering him not to deliver the remaining appointments.

One of the ousted appointees was wealthy Marylander financier William Marbury, who demanded his position. He petitioned the Supreme Court, whose position was stalled as the new Democratic-Republican Congress limited the Court to one session the next February. As the court finally convened to hear the case, the questions at hand stretched further than whether they could order the Executive Branch to give Marbury his appointment. The legal issues seemed clear enough with Marbury to win, but lawyers opposing decided a radical strategy of removing the Federalist influence. They argued that Marshall could not sit as he was currently Secretary of State during the delivery and cited English Chief Justice Edward Coke's 1610 opinion that "no person should be a judge in his own case".

The legal standing of the citation was questionable, but public outcry driven by Jeffersonian newspapers gave the Federalist Party a blemish as ignoble tyrants holding any position they could grab. Due to the outpouring of disdain, Marshall sat aside.

Two weeks later, the split decision would be handed down as affirmative toward Marbury. However, Marshall's intended interpretation of judicial review for law fell short. Instead, legal precedence would build so that the Supreme Court's position would be to judge the Executive Branch and that Congress would sit atop a platform described by the Constitution. The so-called "Supremacy Clause" of the Constitution would be interpreted more to support the position of the federal government over those of states in the judicial system, a point that would be used to solve the Nullification Crisis in 1832 and deem secession only legal if approved by Congress. The federal government would be a "living government" rather than one restrained by an unchanging piece of paper.

Marshall, though upset, would continue as Chief Justice and do his best to support Federalist ideals. He challenged Jefferson in declaring Aaron Burr free from any overt act of treason in 1807. In 1810's Fletcher v. Peck, he judged that the Georgia government must support its dealings of its former legislature (unless authorized by the US Congress, now seen as equivalent to the Constitution). He also affirmed the position of the Executive Branch in international dealings, especially with those of the Native Americans.

Decades later, the matter of Congressional Supremacy would be key to the 1857 Dred Scott case proving that Congress had the right to prohibit slavery in US territories. With the substantial legal victory, the matter of slavery came to congressional attention, spurring the Emancipation Act of 1859 that prescribed the methods for a slave to free himself while paying his worth to his master, thus preventing any deprivation of property. The act is widely believed to have headed off a war as it was widely known Congress held the right to abolish slavery. Societies throughout the North (and South) collected money to be given to slaves, many of whom returned to work for former masters for wages.

Through the latter course of the nineteenth century, however, rampant corruption would bring about the Progressive Revolution led by, among others, General Theodore Roosevelt as renewed State Militias defending the Constitution, especially its Second Amendment, clashed with Federal troops.

In 1812, on this day the second Confederate President Alexander Hamilton Stephens was born in Crawfordville, Georgia.

Alexander H. Stevens
2nd Confederate President
March 4, 1867 - 1873
Alexander Hamilton Stephens (February 11, 1812 - March 4, 1883) was an American politician from Georgia. He was President of the Confederate States of America immediately following the American Civil War. He also served as a U.S. Representative from Georgia before the Civil War and as the 50th Governor of Georgia from 1882 until his death in 1883.

Early Life and Career

Born Alexander Stephens to Andrew and Margaret Stephens in Crawfordville, Georgia, Stephens grew up poor. But thanks to the generosity of Rev. Alexander Hamilton Webster, a Presbyterian minister, he was educated at Franklin College (later the University of Georgia), where he graduated at the top of his class in 1832. He went on to study law on his own, being admitted to the bar in 1834.

A new article from the "Two Americas" thread on Althistory WikiaStephens was a very successful lawyer and land owner in his native Taliaferro County, becoming wealthy and subsequently generous with that wealth. Though a sickly man, weighing only 96 pounds, his intellect and strength of character gained his the compliment from a northern newspaper as "the strongest man in the south". He was known as an able defender of the falsely accused, and generous to a fault with his home and wealth.

Early on, Stephens gained the respect of his fellow Georgians, being first elected to the Georgia House of Representatives in 1836 and then the Georgia Senate in 1842. In 1843, he resigned the State Senate when he was elected in a special election to fill a vacant seat in the US House of Representatives.

Congressional Career

In 1843, Stephens was elected U.S. Representative as a Whig, in a special election to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of Mark A. Cooper. This seat was an at-large seat, as Georgia did not have House districts until 1844. In 1844, 1846, and 1848, Stephens was re-elected Representative from the 7th District as a Whig. In 1851 he was re-elected as a Unionist, in 1853 as a Whig (from the 8th District), and in 1855 and 1857 as a Democrat. He served from October 2, 1843 to March 3, 1859, in the 28th Congress through the 35th Congress.

As a national lawmaker during the crucial two decades before the Civil War, Stephens was involved in all the major sectional battles. He began as a moderate defender of slavery, but later accepted all of the prevailing Southern rationales used to defend the institution.

Elected as a Whig, Stephens was instrumental in the creation of the Constitutional Unionist party in Georgia in 1850. The party replaced the Whig party in the 1850 congressional elections, and he fought hard to save the party before it dissolved in 1851. A Whig once more, he fought for the passage of the Kansas-Nebraska Act, which proved the undoing of the Whig party. Elected as a Democrat in 1854, he became a rising voice of sanity from the south. Leaving office in 1859, he worked for the election of Stephen Douglas in the 1860 presidential campaign. When elected a member of the convention to decide on secession, he voiced his objections, likening the national union as a leaking ship that only needed mending.

National politics in the Confederacy

In spite his opposition to secession, Stephens was selected by the Congress of the Confederacy to be the vice president of the provisional government, being sworn into office on February 11, 1861 (his 49th birthday). The President, Jefferson Davis, was to be sworn in February 18th, meaning Stephens would be the longest serving executive in Confederate history. The Constitution would establish the date of March 4th as inauguration day after standard election. Elected to fill the same post, he would serve along side Davis during the whole active war against the US. He would, though, be a constant voice for peace from his office in Richmond and on more than one occasion in Washington.

On February 3, 1865, he was one of three Confederate commissioners who met with Lincoln on the steamer River Queen at the Hampton Roads Conference, to discuss measures to bring an end to the war. Lincoln had predetermined that no agreement short of a restoration of the union with the abolition of slavery would be reached. The report from that conference would result in a covert operation to assassinate the US president. This was to be a shock to Stephens, though he suspected that Davis may have known of the plan.

In spite of the tension between Stephens and Davis, the president supported his vice president as the best man to heal the nation after the ceasefire in 1866. The opposition was futile in November of that year as Stephens' reputation preceded him. In 1868, his vice president, Gen. Robert E. Lee, made a passionate plea for the abolition of slavery in the Confederacy. Stephens had been a staunch supporter of the institution, but understood the plight of the slave, having defended many of them in court in the years before the war.

The primary accomplishment of the Stephens' administration though, was the attempted liberation of Cuba from the domination of Spain. As word from refugees reaching Key West and mainland Florida, Stephens ordered the Confederate Navy to blockade the island in November of 1868, just weeks after the "10th of October Manifesto" that declared independence from Spain. With the recognition of the rebellion, the Confederacy was embroiled in an unpopular war that was costing the Confederacy lives and money they could not afford. Near the end of his administration Stephens would have to withdraw the Confederate forces to defend the border with Mexico due to that country's political unrest.

After leaving office, Stephens was appointed to be Ambassador to Mexico in 1874. Being recalled after the coupe in 1876, he would be sent to Cuba in an attempt to mend the broken relations with Spain. Having little success in that venture, he would return to Georgia for a slight reprieve from public service.

Governor of Georgia

In a move unusual for a former President, Stephens would run for governor of his home state. He would be elected and serve from the capital at Milledgeville from 1878 until his death in 1883.

In his first term, He would oversee the plans to move the capital to the modern city of Atlanta, which had suffered damage in Sherman's attempts to disrupt the economy of the Confederacy in the "scorched earth" policy on 1865. Confederate forces had brought that campaign to an end in the Battle of Atlanta. US President Johnson had withdrawn all forces to the border soon after that. By the end of 1880, the foundation of the new capitol building had been lain. 1881 would see the International Cotton Exposition would draw attention to the vital textile industry. Mechanization had largely reduced the need for slave labor, promoting the late Vice President Lee's dream for emancipation of slaves.

After being re-elected in November of 1882, he would be injured in an accident on his estate in Taliaferro County, dying of complications on March 4, 1883. At his death, James S. Boynton, president of the Georgia senate, became governor until a special election could be held.

In 1994, on this day "the tree shaker", septuagenarian Thembu rebel leader Rolihlahla Mandela boarded a stolen Xhosa transport ship, finally escaping from the windswept island where he had been imprisoned for the past thirty-one years.

The Return of the KingThe first time he had travelled the seven short miles from the Cape of Storms to the island, he had sat below the decks of the wooden ferry chained hand and foot whilst the prison guards amused themselves by urinating through the air vent onto the prisoners.

Despite his long incarceration, he had not lose an ounce of spirit, standing on deck tall and stiff as a flagpole. Characteristically, his mouth was turned down in a mournful frown whilst his brown eyes sparkled with mischief. Although much time had been lost, it was not yet too late to shake his country of Azania to its very roots.

In 2006, the conservative political commentator Rush Limbaugh was accidentally peppered in the face with birdshot pellets by Vice President Dick Cheney during a hunt in the north-western United States.

The Right to Arm BearsCheney had turned to shoot what he thought was a fat grizzly bear but fortunately Limbaugh escaped unscathed as the majority of the bird-shot lodged in his jowls.

When asked for a comment in his hospital bed, Rush chirped that it was an honor to be shot by such a great American.

In 2009, on this day the leader of the ultra-right wing Yisrael Beiteinu Party, Mr Avigdor Lieberman (born Evet Lvovich Liberman) unexpectedly emerged from the Israeli General election in the terrifying guise of kingmaker.

Pillar of SaltLieberman has called for Israel to redraw its borders to push out heavily Arab areas and require Arabs remaining in Israel to sign loyalty oaths or lose their right to vote, being quoted as saying, "I've always been controversial because I offer new ideas. For me to be controversial, I think this is positive".

A coalition agreement had been signed with Prime Minister Ehud Olmert in October 2006, under which Lieberman became the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Strategic Affairs. Not only did this politically expedient appointment permit Lieberman to gain respectability as a mainstream politician, it placed the bloody stamp of the Yisrael Beiteinu Party on the invasion of Gaza City in December 2008. An insatiable appetite for extreme action had just been whetted. In Lieberman's fundamentalist view there could be no looking back for the State of Israel. Gaza and Ramallah were the modern day equivalent of Sodom and Gomorrah, and just like Lot's wife in the Book of Genesis, looking back would turn the State of Israel into a pillar of salt.

Only later would it become clear that events now began to further escalate inside a vicious, inescapable circle of violence that gripped the region. The end-game in a fifty year tragedy was fast approaching.

Because the perceived success in bringing Hamas to heel had delivered a huge surge in support for the Defence Minister and Leader of the Labour Party, Mr Ehud Barak. A former Chief of Staff of the Israeli Defence Force, Mr Barak would be increasingly seen as the natural heir to Ariel Sharon, a military professional who could reverse the sense of drift that had permeated Ehud Olmert's civilian government.

With no clear winner emerging from the General election, it was inevitable that the leader of the majority Israeli party would need to seek at least one coalition partner to form a new cabinet. Accordingly President Shimon Peres now invited Barak to form a government of unity with Yisrael Beiteinu Party. Although its rival in the West Bank, the Palestinian Authority, did not expressed a preference for any candidate, senior negotiator Mr Saeb Erakat expressed dismay right-wing parties that oppose the traditional land-for-peace formula had performed so well. Matters were worse than Mr Erakat feared. Far worse. During the horse-trading that followed, Lieberman introduced his key pre-condition for entering a new Barak administration - the launching of Operation Final Victory at all Costs.
This story is a continuation of a previous headline, Old Testament Times.

In 1979, the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini (pictured) was captured by agents of Iran's feared secret police, SAVAK.

Ayatollah Captured by Eric LippsKhomeini had been the leader of a revolutionary movement grounded in fundamentalist Shiite Islam which had sought to overthrow the secular, modernizing Shah Reza Pahlevi.

In January 1979, they had briefly forced the Shah to flee the country, but infighting between the fundamentalists and more moderate factions had led to the collapse of the coup. The Shah had returned to Teheran on February 1 as Iranian military and SAVAK forces asserted control, hunting down the would-be revolutionaries. Those not killed immediately will be placed on trial and either sentenced to death or imprisoned for indeterminate periods.

The Shah's survival and the subsequent crackdown were applauded by U.S. conservatives but greeted with distinct ambivalence on the left; liberals tended to see Iran's ruler as a despot, however little they cared for Khomeini's religious zealotry.

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© Today in Alternate History, 2013-. All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.