In 1584, on this day in Delft, William the Silent (pictured) survived the weakest of attempts on his life by that miserable excuse for an assassin Balthasar Gérard. The incredibly inept Frenchman failed to get even one of his three pistol shots on target.
William the Silent LivesAs the main leader of the Dutch revolt against the Spanish, he would soon be recognized with an elevation to the traditional enobled title of Count of Holland. Still only fifty-one years old, he would live for a further decade, and the issue from his branch of the Orange-Nassau line would eventually pursue greater influence, perhaps even a kingship of a greater Holland that would draw other northern German Protestant state into a new European Great Power.
Gérard however would be tried, convicted, and gruesomely executed before the week was out. The magistrates decreed that the right hand of Gérard should be burned off with a red-hot iron, that his flesh should be torn from his bones with pincers in six different places, that he should be quartered and disembowelled alive, that his heart should be torn from his bosom and flung in his face, and that, finally, his head should be cut off.
In 1941, on this day the Federal Bureau of Investigation arrested the director of British Security Co-ordination William Stephenson for planting propaganda in American newspapers, radio stations & wire servers, harrassing prominent isolationists and plotting against corporations working against British interests.
Codename IntrepidThe subsequent investigation determined that the upper reaches of Washington society and government had been infiltrated. Stephenson had been dispatched by British War Leader Winston Churchill with orders to "do all that was not being done and could not be done by overt means" to reverse the isolationalist policies of President Charles A. Lindbergh.
The White House had reneged on a 1939 pledge from Franklin D. Roosevelt to King George VI that "If London was bombed, the USA would come in". Churchill's response was to order the most controversial, covert action campaign in the annals of espionage. He sent the legendary Canadian spymaster to Washington where he outmanoerved the FBI and the Statement Department for months before his exposure by the prominent American businessman and political figure Joseph P. Kennedy.
In 1983, thirteen-year-old Barry Lockridge, an orphan who'd been on his way to London to move in with relatives at the time of the "land of giants" incident, received an interview request from BBC News.
Giant Surprise Part 4That evening, in a one-hour taped meeting held at BBC's main studios, he described seeing an anomaly very much like the one shown in Mark Wilson's home movies and encountering one of the giant humanoids Alexander Fitzhugh had mentioned in his admissions interview at Bethesda Naval Hospital. Barry's account of the "land of giants" incident quickly caught the attention of scientists at Oxford University, who in turn later sent a transcript of the BBC interview to Project Spindrift's staff in Washington. Within two months, Barry would be the most famous British male under 18 next to Princess Diana's son Prince William.
A week after the Lockridge interview was broadcast on the BBC it was shown in the United States as part of a Nightline segment; while the U.S. government had no official comment on the content of the interview, journalists noted with interest that Lt. Cmdr. Fitzhugh was released from Bethesda within hours after the video aired on ABC.
In 48 B C, near Dyrrahachium, a town on the eastern coast of the Adriatic Sea, the Roman Civil War came to a head as the army of the Optimates (the majority of the Senate) under Pompey the Great clashed with the forces of the Populares (the party of the people) under Julius Caesar.
Pompey's Victory at Dyrrhachium Caesar had landed earlier with split troops and now regrouped with his legate Marc Antony with Pompey maneuvering from between them. With 15,000 men and 500 cavalry, Caesar quickly began building forts while Pompey held his fortified positions with 45,000 men.
Pompey attacked Caesar where his lines met the sea, and the larger numbers broke through the Caesarean line. Caesar reinforced, which allowed Pompey to flank his right. The Populare army began to crumble, and Caesar called for the withdrawal. Pompey considered the possibility that Caesar could lay a trap, but he decided to seize the day, something he did less of as he grew older. Taking up his cavalry and fastest infantry, Pompey pursued Caesar to the town of Gomphi. The last of Caesar's veterans tried to assemble hasty defense, but Pompey's numbers smashed through.
With Caesar captured, Pompey and the Senate were victorious. Some senators called for Caesar to be dragged back to Rome in chains for execution, but Pompey refused. He Caesar was honorable, if ambitious, and he was given full rights as a Roman citizen, even excused of potential treason. The senatorial army retook Rome and Caesar's trial began while Pompey carried out the long process of calming Caesar's allies in Gaul and Spain. Three times over the course of Caesar's trial, Pompey would return to Rome with soldiers (both his own and former ones of Caesar's) to quell propositions for overly violent propositions by the Senate.
The trial was a desperate balancing act. On the one hand, Optimates called for Caesar's blood at beginning the civil war. On the other, the people of Rome still held grand esteem for the fallen warlord. Caesar himself, a brilliant orator, could set the city aflame with mere words or letters from his house arrest. Some suggested a quiet assassination, but Pompey and others vetoed the notion. Caesar's death would no doubt begin a second civil war.
At last Caesar was reprimanded for his military activities being impertinent toward Rome and the gods. After many fines and being stripped of most of his titles, Caesar was broken but hardly defeated enough for his many allies to call for retribution. Pompey suggested (or, it is believed, acted as the conduit for a suggestion of Caesar's, as the two remained friends despite their political differences) sending Caesar to the east to settle the frontier there while in exile.
Within a few short years, Caesar would regain his prowess. He would settle the question of Egyptian succession, overturning the attempted coup by Ptolemy XIII and securing Cleopatra VII (who famously became Caesar's lover) to the throne. With his armies still active, Caesar would move across Sinai to quell the Judaeans and even give spark to a fire that would end the Persian Empire, long rivals to the Romans. Using factions against one another as he did in Gaul, Caesar conquered Mesopotamia and marched to the Indus, procuring alliances with princes there.
Caesar's enemies in the Senate once again called for his return to face charges of war crimes (namely, again using his troops more than was legally required or allowed). Pompey would do his best to see that Caesar remained out of the eyes of the people, lest his ambition cause another war, but with Caesar's allies and enemies alike shouting for his recall, Caesar soon came home to Rome, again bringing his most loyal veterans with him. The resulting conflict would cause Caesar to again be named dictator in Rome, a position his adopted sons Marc Antony and grand-nephew Octavian carry on after Caesar's death, establishing a revolution that would carry the Roman Republic peaceably until it grew inflated, rich, and fat, ready for plucking by German barbarians in the fourth century.
In 2010, at a service held on this day in London, Führer Kurt Haldweim marked the seventieth anniversary of the Battle of Britain, recognising the ultimate sacrifice of the German airmen to who "never was so much owed by so many to so few".
The FewOnly about one hundred of the "few" who took part in the battle are thought to survive, and for many in their eighties and nineties, this could be the last major anniversary commemoration they attend. One those daring pilots was the Führer himself, because Haldweim flew the HE-100 whose use in the Battle proved key (Führer's death later that year would trigger a crisis in the Nazi High Command).
The extent of German losses mark the strategic significance of the victory; over 2,698 aircrew killed, 967 captured, 638 missing bodies identified by British Authorities and 1,887 aircraft destroyed. Of course Nazi High Command were reserving the major celebrations for the seventieth annivesary of Operation Sea Lion, and it was even suggested that the immense casaulty count of the invasion might be revealed for the first time.
In 1888, the Confederate States of America was officially dissolved. Despite securing independence at the negotiation table with United States President George McClellen, the Southern Confederacy proved unable to contain the spirit of independent action which had precipitated the War of Secession in the first place.
The dissolution of the Confederacy by Brian VisaggioThe years following the war's conclusion proved destabilizing, as the the member states balked at economic reforms implemented by a series of presidents, primarily John C. Breckinridge and James Longstreet, to make the Confederacy competitive on a global stage. Recognizing the difficulty the nascent country would have without a strong economy, policies were implemented to encourage industrial growth and restore control over monetary policy to Richmond. The money issue in particular provoked a resurgent nullification crisis, subverting the central government and in effect reducing the Confederacy into little more than a league of associated republics.
In 1885, this league of free states, as it was by then frequently being described, had the last of its significant powers -- the power to maintain a military -- stripped away by constitutional amendment requiring it to depend on the voluntary loan of state armies, effectively removing even the ability to coerce its members into obedience. The unilateral secession of Georgia in 1888 prompted cascade of similar declarations, and by early July, President Fitzhugh Lee was forced by events to call for the legal dissolution of a confederacy that no longer had any members at all.
It has been speculated that the long-term survival of Confederate General R.E. Lee might have provided a unifying figure for citizens to rally around, a symbol representing the whole of the war effort, but unfortunately, his unexpected death in 1871 put such hopes, such as they may have existed, to rest, and the American South saw unleashed a spirit of dislocation and fractiousness that grew for throughout the remainder of this troubled republic's short life.The end result was eleven disparate, squabbling independent states stagnating as their economies collapsed around them, those countries sometimes referred to as the "Basketcase Republics". The Confederacy would be briefly revived in the 1950's as a way of standing up to the increasing strength of their northern neighbor, but this short-lived project proved untenable, as the member states feared domination by Virginia, which by maintaining a friendly and beneficial trade relationship with the United States proved one of only two former Confederate States (alongside Texas) to prosper.
In 2018, on this day rising violence on the streets of Urumqi, the capital of Xinjiang threatened to escalate into a confrontation between the Great Powers.
Uighur UprisingThe flashpoint was the government handling of a clash between Han Chinese and Turkic-speaking Uighur factory workers in southern China. The Chinese government quickly blamed exiled separatists, arrested dozens and tried to curb information flow by stifling the Internet. Han Chinese armed with iron bars and machetes went looking for revenge on Uighurs. Yet the the underlying cause of the unrest most likely was long-standing economic, cultural and religious grievances that have built up among the Uighurs over decades of tight central rule.
The People's Republic of China (PRC) has denied oppressing religious minorities including both Buddhists and Muslims. The Islamic Republic of America has been repeatedly accused of external interference, with some evidence to suggest that weapons have been supplied from the Government in Seattle. Ironically, prominent Uighurs were incarcerated as terrorists at Guatanemo Bay prior to the second American Civil War 2015-17.
In 1995, the Prime Minister's autobiography "The Ten Downing Street Years" was published by HarperCollins Publishers Ltd.Falklands Emergency Part 1 - Looking Back by Chris Oakley & Ed.
Chapter VII The Falklands War: Follow the Fleet (the attempts by diplomacy and the sending of the task force to regain the Falkland Islands - to the end of April 1982) reads ~ "Nothing remains more vividly in my mind, looking back on my years in No. 10 than the eleven weeks in the spring of 1982 when Britain fought and lost the Falklands War. Especially the photographs of the British Garrison surrendering on April 4 (pictured). Much was at stake: what we were fighting for eight thousand miles away in the South Atlantic was not only the territory and the people of the Falklands, important though they were. We were defending our honour as a nation, and principles of fundamental importance to the whole world - above all, that aggressors should never succeed and that international law should prevail over the use of force. The war was very sudden. No one predicted Argentine invasion more than a few hours in advance, though many predicted it in retrospect. When I became Prime Minister in 1977 I never thought that I would have to order British troops into combat and I do not think that I have ever lived so tensely or intensely as during that time". ~ Leonard James Callaghan, Baron Callaghan of Cardiff, Labour Leader and UK Prime Minister 1977-1983.
To be continued..
In 2015, on this day the former British Library, now known as the English National Library of London, was sold to a Swiss building management consortium.
On this day in 2002, President George W. Bush met with the Saudi, Kuwaiti, and UAE ambassadors in Washington to offer his assurance that the United States would assist its Persian Gulf allies in safeguarding their frontiers against the turmoil engulfing Iraq.
|George W. Bush|
On this day in 1968, the Soviet government declared martial law in Moscow and Leningrad (later St. Petersburg) in an attempt to quell growing civil unrest in Russia..
In 1923, Greater Zionist Resistance soldiers take Warsaw. Astrid Pflaume uses this city as her headquarters until her assassination. It is here that she first truly gets to know the people she has been plotting against while she was leading them in revolt; and it is here that her heart is turned toward them, and away from her neo-Nazi colleagues.
On this day in 2004, radio host Rush Limbaugh joined Ann Coulter and Laura Ingraham in pushing for Michael Moore to answer the charges of fabrication and distortion that had been made against Moore's documentaries Fahrenheit 9/11 and Bowling for Columbine.
On this date in 1985, the BBC committed to a second series of X-Files based on the overwhelmingly positive response the show had gotten during its initial run.
On this day in 1944, US Army General George S. Patton personally accepted the surrender of the German forces in Reims, France. That same day Polish resistance fighters in Warsaw began an uprising against the German occupation troops there.
On this day in 1973, author Stephen King began writing his first draft of Jerusalem's Lot
The drive to her father's house was long - everybody in town was on the road, it seemed - but uneventful. The radio had snippets of news about the probe in between the pop tunes, none of which carried any new information. The one funny thing that happened was that the news van following her made a report that she had left her house with her daughter and was on her way to 'an undisclosed location'. They both had a good chuckle at that one.
When she pulled up to her father's house, there were already several cars in the driveway and along the street. She picked a nice open stretch of road to give the news van some room to park behind her and turned off the car. 'Should we invite them in?'
Monica beamed widely. 'Grandpa'd love it! He could see if any of 'em are single and try to get 'em to ask you out.'
Andrea shook her head. 'This has disaster written all over it.' They got out of the car, Monica gently extracted her pie from the back seat, and Andrea walked over to the van. 'There's going to be a big cookout, and my daughter makes a delicious pie,' she said to the driver and reporter inside. 'Want to come?'
They looked at each other, shrugged, and the reporter said, 'Thanks for the invite, Doctor Ross.'
'No problem, there's plenty of food. Just don't be surprised if my father gives you a hard time.' She and her daughter walked up to the front door while the news people unlimbered their equipment.
Andrea's father was already at the door, arms wide open for a hug from the pair. Monica held her pie out to one side, but gave him a big hug and kiss, and Andrea kissed him on the cheek. He looked at the two men coming up to his door with a camera and mike and asked them, 'Y'all here to eat?'
The reporter nodded his head and smiled very nicely. 'Your daughter told us there'd be plenty.'
'She was right.' He opened the door wide and ushered them all through his house and into the back yard, where several of his relatives were already gathered around tables and the large barbecue grill. He pointed out a table that was already groaning with food. 'Monica, go on and put your pie over there. I wanna show your momma something.' As the young girl ran off to place her pie among the desserts, he whispered into Andrea's ear, 'So, how long they been followin' you around?'
'Since the announcement that I was on the committee about the probe.'
'My girl, makin' the big news,' Papa Ross said proudly. 'Just don't let 'em eat all the pie.'
In 1985, whistleblowing Coca-Cola employee Craig D. Barker exposes the company's real strategy with their New Coke product - they are moving to corn syrup instead of sugar in their recipe. The cover-up gets several high-ranking Coke employees brought up on federal racketeering charges, and the company vows never to use anything but sugar as the sweetener in its product again.
In 3019 Third Age, the Haradrim fight at the Battle of the Morannon. The One Ring is destroyed and Sauron is defeated. Some Haradrim flee or surrender, while others resist until defeated. The unmistakably arabesque Haradrim are clearly drawn from Tolkiens' tour of duty in the Middle East during World War I; Faramir is a characteracture of his commander Lt-Col T.E. Lawrence.
In 1810, word reaches London of Napoleon's mobilization order for war with Britain over Louisiana. Prince-Regent George immediately orders a British counter-mobilization. 'If Napoleon wishes war,' the Prince declares, 'we shall show him war.'
The same day, a huge French fleet departs the port of Marseilles. Rumor has it that the ships are intended to strike at additional British targets in North America. There is talk that the Emperor intends to retake the Canadian holdings lost in the Seven Years' War, known in North America as the French and Indian War.
That evening, an attempt to rescue the former King Louis XVI and his family from their incarceration on the island of Elba is thwarted. The ex-king is badly wounded, but survives. His would-be liberators will be executed as enemies of the French state.
the British Foreign Secretary William Whitelaw was involved in secret talks
with the Zimbabwe African National Union
in London. Mr Whitelaw broke the news to the House of Commons as he announced that the two week ceasefire in Rhodesia had come to an end. Six ZANU leaders were involved in the meeting that took place in a private house on Friday 7 July. After numerous approaches by the ZANU this was the first time that Mr Whitelaw had met with provisional leaders and he claims that he did so to preserve the peace. In the face of criticism by Conservative backbenchers, Mr Whitelaw said: 'I decided that if I were to see these people personally I might be able to do something to save lives.'
In 1985, French agents manage to sink the mercenary vessel Rainbow Warrior in a pitched battle in New Zealand. The pirate ship employed by the ironically-named terrorist organization Greenpeace puts up a terrific fight; it takes 2 French ships with it.
In 1947, Major Jesse Marcel spirited the remains of the 2 crashed alien vessels, the four dead bodies and the 3 living aliens to the secret test base the Army has established near Groom Lake, Nevada. Marcel never again speaks of what he saw in Groom Lake; but he continued to have nightmares the rest of his life.
In 1991, Mikhail Gorbachev began his five year term as the first elected President of Russia. The program of reform included glasnost ('openness'), perestroika ('restructuring'), and uskoreniye ('acceleration', of economic development), which were launched at the 27th Congress of the CPSU in February 1986. Five years later, Gorbachev had concluded the Cold War, ended the political supremacy of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union and dissolved the Soviet Union. Finally, he was in a position to move forward, and in so doing, his great partner, a re-united Germany joined Russia in setting a course for a Common European Home. In many ways, 1991 was the right outcome for Europe. As early as 1910, Prussian thinkers had identified that Russia would eventually overtake Germany, and therefore after two world wars, a partnership was the logical conclusion to a prolonged, and unnecessary state of tension between two great nations who shared many economic and geopolitical interests.
In 1925, on this day began the State of Tennessee vs. John Thomas Scopes (the Scopes or Monkey Trial) in Dayton, Tennessee. John T. Scopes, a young high school science teacher, was accused of teaching biblical interpretations in violation of a Tennessee state law. Judge John T. Raulston ruled against the high school teacher. Henceforth 'Any statement that denies Charles Darwins' proven theory of evolution that man has descended from a lower order of animals rather than the story of the Divine Creation of man as taught in the Bible.' became a crime in Tennessee.
In 1993, dinosaurs escaped from the movie set of Jurasssic Park causing carnage in Los Angeles. "It was an accident waiting to happen" said Jeff Goldblum describing the breakout, "nature will find a way".
In 1797, the Dublin-born architect of the Whig Revolution Edmund Burke died on this day in Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire. He was sixty-eight years old. An episode from the Whig Revolution thread by Eric Lipps.
Death of Edmund BurkeThrough his powerful oratory in the House of Commons he spoke out against the debasement of his fellow Irishmen and later the American Revolutionaries. And his Liberalism Conservatism developed into direct opposition when he realized that the British State itself was being undermined by a German-descended King employing "the hireling sword of German boors and vassals" to destroy the colonists' English liberties.
Fortunately, in Charles James Fox and William Pitt he found men of similar conviction (admittedly, Pitt only believed that King George III's continued reign would prove harmful to Britain's "best interests"). They formed a cabal and began to reach out to colonial subversives - even with the hated Thomas Jefferson himself, in exile in New Orleans under Spanish protection. They struck ten years to the day that Independence had been declared in America, For St. Patrick and St. George, liberty shall reign in Britain and Ireland!.
In 1711, on this day Russian troops under command of Peter the Great and Boris Sheremetev attempted to invade Moldavia with the aid of Moldavian ruler Dimitrie Cantemir but were surrounded, defeated and captured1 by the Ottoman troops under Grand Vizier Baltaci Mehmet Pasha, in a decisive battle at Stănileşti.
Peter the Great captured by the OttomansThe outcome was a bitter sweet personal victory for Charles XII of Sweden. Defeated by the Tsar at Poltava, he escaped from the battlefield to the court of the Ottoman Sultan Ahmed III, whom he persuaded to declare war and then force the punitive Treaty of the Pruth upon the Russians.
And perhaps Russian overconfidence had grown out of the victory at Poltava, because the Pruth River Campaign was an unmitigated disaster for Peter. He miscalculated both the strength of the Ottoman army and the support he would get both from the Romanian principalities and the Orthodox subjects living in regions under direct Ottoman administration. Worse, his military plans were based upon the interception of the Ottoman army before it had crossed the Danube, but once he had failed to do that his position became rapidly untenable. The immediate consequence was the prolonged existence of the Crimean Khanate however the real question was whether Russian influence could be kept out of the Balkans during the nineteenth century.
In 2012, although Judge Colin Birss deemed Galaxy 10.1, 8.9 and 7.7 tablets "not as cool" as the iPad, the unlawful re-use of unique design features made it practically indistinguishable to the non-expert consumer and consequently the London court decision found that Apple's registered designs had indeed been infringed by its component supplier Samsung Electronics.
Apple Inc. v. Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd.
By Ed & Brian HartmanAs expected Apple dismissed the possibility of licensing design to any "third party" contrary to the proposal that both companies "get a room" and find a resolution for the consumer. And in support of Samsung, those third parties (Google, Oracle, Motorola and Microsoft) rejected Apple's claim of innovating and competing with better products and services. Instead, they accused the company of seeking to destroy the market for Android devices through patent litigation. In a creative solution to the problem, it was Samsung that demonstrated innovation in the coming days; to retain its prominent place in the tablet market the South Korean based company announced a forthcoming new device codenamed the Galaxy 10 that would include an infrared projection feature for the keyboard.
In 1745, on this day the Doutelle and Elisabeth were attacked by the British sixty-four gun warship HMS Lion approximately one hundred miles off the southernmost tip of England.
Extraordinary TaleThe Royal Navy officers initially suspected that the two French ships were bound for North America but on closer inspection discovered that onboard was a tiny Jacobite invasion force led by the twenty-five year old Stuart pretender "Bonnie Prince Charlie". Artillery shorts were exchanged but the privateers were hopelessly outgunned and after a short struggle both quickly sunk with all hands lost. The French goal of creating an invasion threat that would force the recall of British divisions from Flanders was also sunk and with it went their long-standing dream of conquering the Austrian Netherlands.
Incredibly misinformed, the British government had been unsure of Charles' planned landing and the interception was a complete stroke of luck. On 5 June Norman MacLeod of Skye wrote to the Scottish Lord President, Duncan Forbes, Lord Culloden, to ignore the "extraordinary tale" of Charles coming to the Highlands. On 15 July he wrote again to say that "as I've heard nothing further from any of these places, but peace and quiet, I think you may entirely depend on it, that either there never was such a thing intended, or if there was, that the project is entirely defeated and blown into the air". Aware of rumours of a Jacobite rising, Prince William Augustus, Duke of Cumberland, a son of George II and involved in fighting on the Continent, wrote to the Duke of Newcastle on 28 July: "I desire you, that if this pretended design of an invasion should continue, to let me come home with whatever troops are thought necessary, for it would be horrid to be employed abroad when my home was in danger, and really, should it be found proper to detach home to England troops sufficient to secure it, there will be none left to save this little scrap of country we still have here, of the Austrian Netherlands.
In 2012, on this day the Chief Executive Officer of Apple Steve Jobs demonstrated the iPAD Mini a seven inch version of the popular tablet computer and more significantly a killer product directly targetted at the Android and Kindle Fire consumer markets.
Launch of the iPAD Mini
By Ed & Brian HartmanA break with the traditional single product version ethos, not to mention a flip-flop from previous announcements ("7in tablets should come with sandpaper so users can file down their fingers" and "One naturally thinks that a 7-inch screen would offer 70 per cent of the benefits of a 10-inch screen .. this is far from the truth. Seven-inch screens are 45 per cent as large as an iPad. This size isn't sufficient for making great tablet apps") the launch of a new content consumption device that could fit inside a jacket pocket was a competitive response to both the alleged theft of Apple's intellectual property and also the commercial success of Android-powered 7" tablets. With a screen resolution half the size of the Retina Display touting iPad, developers could easily shrink existing apps and still retain their look and feel without major reprogramming effort. And the all-day battery was a compelling feature of this new electronic travelling companion.
Of course, by the time that Amazon unbundled Android from the Kindle Fire, Windows 8 was on general release and the market entered a new phase, a straight dogfight between Apple and Microsoft.
In 1948, on this day the two personal representatives of IBM President Thomas J. Watson most directly responsible for the German subsidiary Deutsche Hollerith Maschinen Gesellschaft (Dehomag) Harrison Chauncey and Werner Lier attended a private reception at the Reich Chancellery.
See Everything with Hollerith Punch CardsThe Reich leadership acknowledged the role of Dehomag as a genuine solution provider; more than just an equipment supplier both Chauncey and Lier had shuttled between the New York, Berlin and Geneva offices in order to assist and support the administration.
Because surely without the application of the IBM punch card and sorting system, it would have been impractical for the Third Reich to cross-index the 1933 census data in order to make the necessary changes to the population that were central to the Nazi government agenda.
IBM was founded in 1898 by the German inventor Herman Hollerith.
In 1850, on this day US President Zachary Taylor smells something funny in his dinner, and decides to throw it away rather than eat it. He complains to the White House kitchen, and the chef, upset that his cooking might be unacceptable, is somewhat surprised to find the dish he prepared still sitting on a counter.
President Zachary Taylor SurvivesThe staff immediately search the mansion and find Cletus Earl Hargrove, a Kentuckian like the president, who had slipped poison into the president's food in retaliation against Taylor's anti-slavery stance. Hargrove, terrified at being caught, names four co-conspirators, one of whom is a southern senator.
The resulting trial on assassination charges rocks the nation, and makes Taylor a revered figure even in the south. Abolitionists use the trial to advance their agenda, and President Taylor introduces his Slow Freedom Initiative at the beginning of his second term in 1853. Under the terms of the initiative, all those born to slaves after the passage of the act would be free Americans; their parents would be freed once the free children reached the age of 18 years.
A new article by Robbie TaylorAlthough many Freedmen and abolitionists thought this was far too long a process, the south grudgingly accepted it as a way to hold onto a dying institution for a few more years. The last living American slave, Nathan Thomason of Cold Pork, Alabama, was given his freedom by presidential decree in 1937 at the age of 85 - he had been born the year before the SFI, and had never had children. He died shortly afterwards, but one of his cousins said, "At least he didn't have to die bound to that dastardly Thomason blackguard".
Following the passing of this dark chapter in American history, the country moved forward fairly united. Although racism against African-Americans was still quite strong in some pockets of the country, the long process of the SFI had made most Americans take a hard look at themselves and question why they had ever thought that one race of people should hold another captive. African-American Congressman Malcolm Little of Michigan proposed a national holiday to honor President Taylor in 1961, and the motion passed almost unanimously.
In 2042, former President George W. Bush died this afternoon at his ranch in Midland, Texas of a stroke. He was surrounded by his wife Laura and their two daughters. He had just recently celebrated his 96th birthday.
George W. Bush is DeadBush lost the 2000 Presidential Election after the controversial 5-4 Supreme Court decision in Bush v. Gore, which ruled that a Florida statewide recount would not violate the Equal Protection clause of the 14th Amendment. The subsequent recount determined that Gore had won the election by 110 votes.
A new story by Charles R. TestrakeAn infuriated Bush conceded defeat, but warned his rival: "Mr. Gore, um, I will never again mis-underestimat-ed your doo-doo-plicity".
Two months later, Bush resigned as Governor of Texas and announced his candidacy for the 2004 Presidential Election.
From his ranch in Midland Texas, dubbed as the Western White House by the media, Bush operated what amounted to a shadow government of the Gore Administration. He was highly critical of Gore's handling of the so-called "Pakistani Affair," where Gore was forced to admit that he had ordered a CIA black ops unit to assassinate an accused Islamic terrorist named Osama bin Laden. The assassination occurred within the borders of Pakistan, which subsequently broke off diplomatic relations with the United States.
"Mr. Gore, um, has violated the sovereign borders of a Pakistani county," said Bush. "Pakistani, um, is a land of peace. Pakistani believes, um, in liberty. Pakistani, um, wants justice. Mr. Gore you should feel, um, bad and ashamed".
By early 2004, the Republican Party was solidly united behind Bush, while the Democrats were demoralized and divided. Pundits predicted that Bush would coast to an easy victory in the November election. Yet President Gore fought a spirited campaign, which forced Bush onto the defensive.
During their third and final debate Bush commented: "I'm the master of low expectations".
Gore replied: "Um, you certainly are, Governor".
On election night though, Bush managed slim, but conclusive victories in both the Electoral College and the popular vote. He was inaugurated as the 44th President of the United States on January 20, 2005.
For the first seven months of his presidency, Bush enjoyed relatively high approval rating. The economy had begun to rebound after the recession of the Gore years, the Gore tax increases were rolled back, and diplomatic relations with Pakistan were restored. Then on August 29th, Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf Coast, causing horrific loss of life, and dislocation of millions of people. Property damage alone was in the billions of dollars. Yet while the New Orleans was under water, Bush was in Arizona to celebrate the birthday of his Vice President, John McCain.
"Happy Birthday, John," said Bush. "Wow, you are old?"
It would be several more days before Bush would realize the full significance of the storm. He visited the devastated area on September 2nd and made the following statement:
"We've got a lot of rebuilding to do, um. First, um, we're going to save lives and stab-il-it-ize the situation. And then we're going to help these communities rebuild. The good news is -- and it's hard for some to see it now - um, that out of this chaos is going to come a fantastic Gulf Coast, like it was before. Out of the rubbles of Trent Lott's house - um, he's lost his entire house -- there's going to be, um, a fantastic house. And I'm looking forward to sitting on the porch".
The federal government's response to Hurricane Katrina, would go on to shape the remainder of the Bush Administration; nothing really right after that. Congress rejected his plans for Social Security reform, the economy went back into recession, and his doctor told him he could no longer run on his treadmill. Even a near war with Iraq, diverted at the last minute by the death of Saddam Hussein from a presumed heart attack, failed to revitalize Bush's sagging poll numbers. By late 2007, it seemed likely that Bush would lose reelection in a landslide to the presumed Democratic nominee, former President Al Gore; but then Gore decided not to run.
Bush breathed a sigh of relief, but still had to fend off primary challenge from his own Vice President, John McCain. Although it would have been better if Bush had lost the nomination to McCain; for in the general election he was routed by the junior Senator from Illinois. Barack Obama won 534 election votes, and Bush won only 34. Historians would go on to rate Obama as one of America greatest Presidents.
After leaving the Presidency in 2009, Bush just faded away, rarely leaving his ranch in Midland, Texas. He was last seen publicly eight years ago, at the state funeral of his great revival, former President Al Gore.
Shortly after the announcement of Bush's death, President Malia Obama Kennedy made the following statement:
"It was with great sadness that I learned of the death of former President George W. Bush. He was .". She paused. "He was.". She paused again. "He was a good husband, a good father, and .". She paused for a third time. "And a good man".
In 1755, in the French American War (later to be known as the Seven Years' War in Europe), a contingent of 2,100 British troops marched out under General Edward Braddock against Fort Duquesne in what is now western Pennsylvania County.
Council of the Monongahela Braddock had been charged to drive the French out of the chain of forts south of the Great Lakes, a goal presumably easily accomplished with his numerically superior army, complete with two regiments of British regulars.
Late on July 8, a delegation of Indians (Native Americans) had arrived at Braddock's camp asking that they be given the chance at negotiating a peaceful withdraw of the French. Looking to spare their lands, many of the Indians had remained overall neutral, though most leaned toward the French in loyalty. Colonel George Washington of the colonial militia and Chief of Scouts Lieutenant John Fraser suggested that Braddock agree. Braddock had had little luck procuring allies among the Indians (only eight Mingo joined him as scouts). He decided to refuse the request.
On the morning of the ninth, after a night's reflection on seeing the ruins of Fort Necessity the day before, Braddock reversed his decision. He sent Washington and Fraser to meet with the Indians and coax alliances if possible. That afternoon, near the Monongahela River, the Indians mediated while the English and French discussed terms. Despite facing overwhelming odds, French commander Lienard de Beaujeu, dressed in full military regalia as well as warpaint, refused to depart. He attempted to cheer his Indian allies into attack, but the Indians declined. The English suddenly seemed much more reasonable to these neutral parties.
Without his Indian allies, Beaujeu returned to his fort and awaited the attack while setting an ambush. The next day, not far from their meeting on July 9, the Battle of the Monongahela occurred as 300 British grenadiers in the advance guard met with the fully expected ambush. They withdrew, successfully regrouped with the main force, and proceeded to crush the ambush, killing Beaujeu. The fort fell quickly afterward, despite second-in-command Dumas rousing French morale.
Braddock, now aided by more willing Indian allies, proceeded to rout the French across Lake Erie. While the military aspect of the campaign would prove negligible (the French would lose Canada in the 1763 Treaty of Paris, just as well with astounding defeats in the remainder of the colonial war), the great impact would be the Indians' diplomatic connections with the British. With secure and clear channels to discuss settlement across the Appalachians, there would be few incursions and reprisal attacks, and those would be seen as criminal activities by both sides. In fact, trade would prosper between the colonists and their native neighbors.
The British were thus spared great expense at defense of the colonies by relying on Indian allies. Such expense might have prompted Parliament to raise taxes, adding stress to an already troubled relationship with the colonists. When taxes were raised by the Tea Act to save the British East India Company, the resulting Boston Rebellion would spark the successful Taxation of Colonies Act of 1778 and give birth to the Continental Congress to serve as a local Parliament raising taxes through representation.
While there would be tensions as colonists continually crept westward, most interactions with the Indians would be peaceful until Tecumseh's War (1811-1813). As the attempt at Indian unification would fail with the death of Tecumseh, the British would take the opponents as conquered enemies, driving the Indians westward and eventually onto reservations all over the enormous expanse of British North America.
In 1788, on this day Henry Cromwell X was crowned King of England. Henry X was a very different man from his father Andrew. Highly educated (he had a doctorate in history from Cambridge University), Henry was very much an enlightened & liberal minded man. As a result, America finally got its freedom, even though it had to accept the second Royal Lineage of Cromwells as the American Monarchy. The Richards Line of the House of Cromwell was thus established as the Royal Family of the Kingdom of America. The American Parliament accepted this arrangement, albeit with many unhappy members. Prince William-Richard hence became King William of the Americans in 1801.
The Royal House of Cromwell, Part 9 - Henry (1788-1821) by David AtwellKing Henry X reign, although long, was also a hard one. Even though the Americans were somewhat placated by 1800, the French underwent the Revolution & its aftermath. The result was the French Revolutionary Wars & the subsequent Napoleonic Wars that followed. These wars moreover did not go well for Britain on land.
The Royal Navy, however, had numerous important victories over the French which ensured British domination of the seas. The land war, though, was an entirely different matter & it was not until 1813 when Britain finally gained the upper hand over the French. Yet, war with France started up again shortly thereafter & was eventually defeated for good at the Battle of Waterloo (1815) by a combined Allied Army, which included units from Britain, Germany, America, Holland & Belgium.
In 1991, the Prime Minister of Poland Tadeusz Mazowiecki announced the arrest of trade union and human rights activist Lech Walesa.
Since the fall of General Wojciech Jaruzelski, evidence in the form of registration cards, memos, notes from the secret police have emerged that Walesa was a communist spy in the 1970's, code-named Bolek. If proven, Walesa (the closest English phonetic approximation being 'Vowensa') faces exile as collaborator of the communist regime (Polish: tajny wspolpracownik).Bolek Arrested
It is known that Bolek informed on about 20 people who were later harassed or oppressed.
He came to the notice of the police during riots against food price rises in December 1970. As workers prepared to storm the police headquarters in Gdansk, Mr Walesa pushed his way inside and offered the commander a deal: the workers would not attack if jailed colleagues were freed. He was given a megaphone to address the crowd. Unbeknown to him, the police were ready to shoot. The tragedy unfolded - but the police may well have spotted a useful ally.
Further arrests inside the security forces are also expected. It is now suspected that not only were the police were trying to engineer a change in the communist party leadership, there were elements of the police that wanted to get rid of communism altogether.
In 1961, a verdict was reached in the trial of Juanita Jones for the murder of American Soul and R&B singer Jackie Wilson.
Crime of PassionAlthough married to Frida Hood since 1951, Wilson was a notorious womanizer and was allegedly shot dead by one of his alleged lovers, Juanita Jones, on February 15, 1961, in a jealous rage as he returned to his apartment with another woman, fashion model Harlean Harris, an ex-girlfriend of singer Sam Cooke.
In order to protect his reputation, his management concocted a story that Jones was an obsessed fan who threatened to shoot herself, and that Wilson's intervention concluded in his being shot. Astonishingly, the story was accepted, and Jones was acquited.
In the year 2560 of the Cyrus era
the Knesset authorised the deployment of elements of the Israel Defence Force (IDF) in the Persian Gulf, approving the request for military assistance received from the "King of Kings", Shahanshah Reza Pahlavi.
Smoked OutPrior to the invasion from Iraq, Persia had enjoyed the worlds fifth strongest and largest army and was the clear undisputed regional superpower. However the new dicator in Baghdad, Saddam Hussein had plans to become the new strongman in the Gulf. And following a number of clashes, international relations with Iraq had fallen into a steep decline, mainly due to a dispute over the Shatt al-Arab waterway in the Algiers Accord.
Unmistakeably, the rise of Islamic fundamentalism had weakened Persia prior to Saddam Hussein's invasion. Because dissatisfaction with the Shah's rule had led to chronic underperformance from disgruntled Iranian officers and soldiers.
In Jerusalem, the fear was that instead of a friendly Zoroastrian Persia subduing Iraq, an Islamic State would arise to stir Arab Nationalist sentiment into a fervor, particularly amongst the Palestian people living in refugee camps on the West Bank of the River Jordan. The sum of those fears would eventually lead to a nervous breakdown for the chain-smoking premier, Yizhak Rabin (pictured) .
In 1947, after rigorous testing, Major Jesse Marcel announces that
he has encountered alien life and it has invaded earth with plans of conquest the whole darn thing was a lot of fuss over a weather balloon.
The Roswell Incident by Robbie TaylorThe Roswell Army Air Base is given an unexpected infusion of manpower, and assigned the responsibility of dealing with various other types of weather balloons.
In 1850, Zachary Taylor recovered from the illness that had kept him bed-ridden for several days.
Zachary Taylor Recovers From IllnessThe true cause of the illness was never fully established but was most likely gastroenteritis.
Because on July 4, after watching a groundbreaking ceremony for the Washington Monument during the Independence Day celebration, Taylor sought refuge from the oppressive heat by consuming a pitcher of milk and a bowl of cherries. At about 10:00 in the morning on July 9, 1850, Taylor called his wife to him and asked her not to weep, saying: "I have always done my duty, I am ready to die. My only regret is for the friends I leave behind me".
Based on the first episode of Soviet America by Robbie TaylorWhen they thought the uninspiring Vice-President Millard Fillmore might take over from him, Whigs in the Congress were elated, but with Taylor's recovery, they were forced into line behind him.
In spite of strong misgivings with him, because of his popularity they reelected him in the 1852 election, and then faded away from power forever with the rise of the Republican/Communist Party.
On this day in 1941, Adolf Hitler stunned the world by unilaterally declaring a cease-fire with Great Britain and announcing that all German occupation forces would be withdrawn from France and the Low Countries within 30 days. Publicly he described it as a goodwill gesture aimed at laying the foundation for a lasting peace between Germany and Britain. In fact, it was a means to free up troops in the west to be transferred to the east to shore up his army's battlefront in Russia.
In 1961, Whittaker Chambers, whose testimony helped send Alger Hiss to prison, dies of a heart attack. Chambers had been an outspoken critic of President Truman's pardon of Hiss, whom he continued to insist had been a Soviet agent. Hiss, who has been living quietly in Georgetown, Virginia, for several years, is bombarded by questions from reporters as to his reaction. Wary of stirring up a hornet's nest, the former State Department officer issues a carefully worded statement offering his condolences on to Chambers' family and friends.
the events of Jo Walton's Mark
occurred eight years after Germany agreed to a Carthaginian peace with Fascist Britain, leaving Oswald Mosley in control of the European continent. A typical gathering at the country estate of East Prussia of the power elite who brokered the deal is thrown into turmoil when the main negotiator, Rudolph Hess, is murdered, with a yellow star pinned to his chest with a dagger.
In 1999, tragedy strikes the country music scene as Mary Chapin Carpenter, flying home to tend to her sick dog, crashes outside Springfield, Missouri. Also lost on the flight were the pilot and her manager. A tribute album, The Moon & St. Christopher, sells millions of copies worldwide and sits atop the album charts for 8 months.
In 1947, exiled English Princess Elizabeth Windsor becomes formally engaged to Lt. Philip Mountbatten, an English attache lucky enough to be working as a liaison with the Americans when Britain fell to the Nazis. The ball thrown for them was the last hurrah of British royalty until the end of Nazi rule; there was almost a funereal air about the occasion.
In 1901, philosopher and Christian novelist Dame Barbara Cartland was born. Her treatises on the feminine mind and Biblical principles sold few copies, but she was critically acclaimed throughout the world, winning the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1971.
In 1877, the French-spawned sport of lawn tennis reached its peak of popularity as a grand tournament was organized in Wimbledon, a suburb outside of London. At first well-attended, the Wimbledon tournament faded with the end of the century, as did the sport it had helped make popular.
tension eased considerably between the troubled members of the Prog band Marillion at the Westside Studios in London. The recording of their fourth and best to date album Clutching at Straws
had shed some of its predecessor's pop stylings. Also it had retreated into a darker exploration of excess, alcoholism, and life in hotels, representing the strains of constant touring that threatened to result in the imminent departure of lead singer and lyricist Fish (real name Derek William Dick) to pursue a solo career. However self-exploration produced an unexpectedly carthatic effect upon Fish, enabling him to reconnect with Steve Rother, Pete Trewavas, Mark Kelly and Ian Mosley. Surely this was a great triumph for fans everyone including members of the Web
In 1955, in London the Russell-Einstein Manifesto was released in the midst of the Cold War. The document highlighted the dangers posed by nuclear weapons and called for world leaders to seek peaceful resolutions to international conflict. The signatories included 11 pre-eminent intellectuals and scientists, most notably Albert Einstein, days before his death on April 18, 1955. By chance of timing, the two Heads of State in America and Russia were fresh thinkers and recent arrivals who very much sought such an outcome. At the Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs, held in July 1957 President Eisenhower and Secretary Khruschev made the in principle agreement to disarm in that decade. The Cold War was not yet over, but at least it was no longer threatened extinction to the species. Russell was made a Nobel Laureate in Literature, "in recognition of his varied and significant writings in which he champions humanitarian ideals and freedom of thought".
© Today in Alternate History, 2013-. All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.