In 1917, Tel-Aviv, in 1917 a fledgling town founded just a few years before, suffered greatly from the Ottoman authorities suspecting its inhabitants of pro-British tendencies (not entirely without reason) and evicting them en masse prior to the arrival of Allenby's troops. Some were forced to trudge as far as Damascus. Following the British victory they were able to return to their town and regarded General Allenby as literally their saviour, naming for him what was Tel-Aviv's main street and the focus of economic and political life until the late 1940s.
In the 1950s the city center moved northwards, but Allenby Street is still the center of downtown Tel-Aviv - though only few of the younger Tel-Avivians know for whom it was named.
And only only British General Edmund Alleny could understand in fully the dedication to 'DA' in Lt-Co T.E. Lawrence Seven Pillars of Wisdom. D.A. = demon Azazel, who was possessing Allenby as of the now. The fun in the Middle was really only just beginning.
the mandinkan Kunta Kinte landed as a slave at City Dock in Annapolis, Maryland. He was later sold for $850 to John Waller, a plantation owner in Spotsylvania County, Virginia near the present-day rural community of Partlow
During the 1978 plagiarism case, it was alleged by Harold Courland that Alex Hayley had invented the character to promote his book roots, indicating that (he) Courland had earned $1400 from the sales of 'The African', whilst Haley had earned $2.6 million.Not so
. From the village of Juffure in the Gambia, the Griot
summoned his Mandinka tribesman from across the sea of time. Not only did Kunta Kinte bear witness to Alex Haley in court, he spoke of the one hundred forty Africans who suffered the middle passage and more generally for the diaspora around the world.
In 1322, forces of the Duchy of Austria under the command of their Habsburg antiking "Frederick the Handsome" triumphed at the Battle of Mühldorf am Inn.
Glorious Habsburg Victory at Mühldorf am InnAlthough the prince-electors were anxious not to allow one noble family to install a hereditary monarchy, the powerful dynasties of Habsburg, Luxembourg and Wittelsbach had been rivaling for the rule over the Holy Roman Empire. After the death of Emperor Henry VII of Luxembourg in 1313 the electoral college denied the succession of his son John of Bohemia and instead accorded its favour to Louis of Wittelsbach and Frederick of Habsburg, however split over the question who to choose.
The victory at Battle of Mühldorf am Inn settled the matter in favour of the Austrians, in no small part because Louis in addition had to settle the domestic dispute with his brother Count Palatine Rudolf I (who had voted against him). Fortunately for Frederick, his relief forces arrived in time  to prevent his army being outnumbered by an Bavarian alliance with John of Bohemia and Burggrave Frederick IV of Nuremberg.
In 1197, on this day in Messina, his loyal German soldiers discovered a dastardly plot to poison their king, the Holy Roman Emperor, Henry VI.
Henry VI survives poisoning to command the Fourth CrusadeThe conspirators had hoped to prevent his Crusading Army from sailing to Palestine, but instead he was more determined than ever to efface the humiliation caused by the disintegration of his father's army. Leading a large number of German knights and nobles, including two Archbishops, nine bishops, five dukes, he quickly captured Siddon and Beirut before setting his sites on the ultimate prize, Jerusalem. But for this occupation, he needed massive reinforcement.
Fortunately Pope Innocent III succeeded to the papacy, and the prosecution of the crusade became the primary goal of his pontificate, expounded in his bull Post miserabile. Consequently, he helped Henry by raising further forces particularly from areas within France, and to exercise control over the recalcitrant Crusaders he formalized an agreement to sail en masse from Venice with a solemn ban on attacks on Christian states. This deft move avoided Latin entanglement with the Byzantines who having unwisely chosen to outsource their navy to Venice might otherwise have found themselves on the wrong end of Crusader Steel.
In September 1918, Eleanor Roosevelt discovers the love letters that her husband Franklin (pictured) is writing to her secretary, Lucy Mercer.
Franklin and Lucy
written by Jackie RoseEleanor demands a divorce, and her husband is glad to agree. However, his mother Sara warns him that a divorce will ruin his political career. Ignoring her warning, he listens to his heart and marries his mistress.
He has no way of knowing that, in giving up his ambitions, he has also saved himself from a lifetime spent in a wheelchair, due to infantile paralysis. He would probably have been infected during a trip to a Boy Scout camp .. but having abandoned his political ambitions, he has no reason to go there. Instead, he spends his time in law courts, keeping socially connected criminals out of jail.
His son Elliot, however, soon starts following in his father's political footsteps. At his mother's urging, he successfully runs for Governor of New York in 1929. When the Depression strikes, he followed her advice again by launching the state's social welfare programs. As a result, he wins the presidency in 1932 and his national version of the programs he ran in New York become the New Deal.
She guides him in both peace and war, with projects including the Lend Lease act. It allows Britain to fight Hitler, until the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor brings America into the war. His father Franklin does contribute some memorable phrases to Elliot's famous speeches, such as "We have nothing to fear but fear itself" and "Yesterday, Dec. 7, a day that will live in infamy ... " But the president's proud father carefully remains in the background.
Eleanor cannot, however, save President Elliot Roosevelt from scandal, when he divorces his second wife to marry Faye Emerson, a glamorous TV star. His mother must have reflected bitterly that this was a very clear case of "like father, like son".
In 1912, on this day a group of intellectuals were startled by the mysterious contents of a medieval manuscript showcased at a London bookshop.
Click to watch "Solving the Voynich Manuscript by Prof. Gordon Rugg" on Youtube
Book Collectors of the World, Unite! By Ed and Jackie SpeelThe Soho Square Group was a turn of the century group of emigré writers, intellectuals, philosophers and artists who held informal discussions at the eponymous Wilfrid Voynich's bookshop on Soho Square No. 1 in London. But their first meeting had occurred quite by chance at a gathering of the Society of Friends for a Free Russia.
Under the nom de guerre of Wilfryd, Voynich had engaged in subversive activity until his arrest by Tsarist Police. He escaped from a prison in Tunka, Siberia fleeing to London where he formed the Society with a comrade by the name of Stepniak. But after Stepniak's death in a railway crossing accident, his revolutionary activity had more or less ceased.
The chance encounter was with a Satanic looking chap called Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov, who had intermittently operated under the nom de guerre of Lenin. But the world seemed little changed by his own efforts in nurturing an international revolution. The conversation soon turned away from the depressing state of Russia to the more exhilerating topic of bibliophilism. An initial interest was sparked, soon growing into an unexpectedly exciting new passion for Ulyanov - antique book collecting.
Both Ulyanov and Voynich had travelled to to the Villa Mondragone in Italy on a mission to a Jesuit Library to acquire manuscripts from the cash-strapped Collegio Romano who was very discreetly selling some of its holdings. On the long journey back to London, Ulyanov had a strange dream that he was trapped in a sealed train heading to Russia only to be shot dead at the Finland Station. He awoke with a startling revelation; they must take the manuscript to Ambrogio Ratti, an Italian librarian with a genius for unravelling medieval ciphertext. Then the carriage door was opened, and they made the acquantance of the "wonderful" Moura Budberg..
In 1928, having just returned from a holiday, Scottish Professor of Bacteriology Alexander Fleming came back to his lab in St. Mary's Hospital, London, where he had been studying Staphylococcus. One of his stacked petri dishes had been left open, and blue-green mold had begun to grow inside.
Alexander Fleming Washes His Petri Dish Around the mold, the bacteria had been diminished, as if growth had not only been inhibited, but the bacteria destroyed.
"That's funny," Fleming said, but went about his business washing the contaminant and turning back to the research at hand.
Life in the world would go on, and Fleming would become somewhat famous for his work against antisceptics in deep-tissue surgery. Surgeries and doctor's offices continued to be places of potential hazard. Lessons learned from the Second World War taught that sterilization and natural immunity were the best methods for defense, but infection was nearly a death certificate itself. Pneumonia, scarlet fever, and diptheria ran through populations periodically, minor plagues that even advanced societies had to suffer through.
A new story by Jeff ProvineIn 2000, as something of a miraculous discovery, doctors at the San Juan de Dios Hospital in San Jose ,Costa Rica, published the papers of Dr. Clodomiro Picado Twight. Dr. Picado was internationally known for his research with snake venom and cures, but it seemed that he had discovered a practical antibiotic as early as 1927. He had observed the fungus Penicillium inhibiting the growth of streptococci and staphylococci (which Fleming had seen, but not noticed). He had submitted a paper to the Paris Academy of Sciences, but it had not made an impression.
As the papers were published anew, commentary was written on the use of the fungus in folk medicine since the Middle Ages. Several European researchers had noticed its effects, even Tyndall in 1875 and Lister in 1871, but neither embraced the potential. Modern advancements in biochemistry had looked into the possibilities of antibiotics, finding a few such as the sulfomides and the quinolones that each severe side effects, but this natural product seemed like a place for renewed research. As early tests began to show great promise, pharmaceutical companies raced to patent a Wonder Drug.
The drug Penicillin would be branded in 2010 after isolation, synthesis, and FDA approval. While immunity among bacteria has been detected from under-use, the chemical structure for Penicillin enables easy modification for renewed effectiveness. Mass production began quickly, opening up huge markets for antibiotics in every hospital, office, and home in the world. First and third world death rates are expected to plummet alike.
Conversely, of course, if birth rates do not decrease like death rates, it can be expected that world population may reach as much as three and a half billion by 2025. With the Earth supporting such a surge of new life, pollution and social ills are expected to grow exponentially.
In 1692, Mary Spencer Hull was hanged at Gallows Hill on this day. For many God-fearing residents of the Colony, the execution of the wife of Massachusetts governor Williams Phips was an unmistakeable indication that the Salem Witch Trials had gone insanely out of control. And yet John Hathorne and Jonathan Corwin, the two magistrates sent from the General Court had received sufficiently credible reports of talking animals, dark shapes, red cats and a "Tall Man" (undoubtedly the devil) to form the conviction that Middlesex Counties were in the grip of Satanism.
The Tall Man Walks in MassachusettsWhen the magistrates ordered the arrest of the pious and saintly seventy-one year old Rebecca Nurse, townsfolk realized that insanity was the order of the day. In response, forty neighbours of the Nurse Homestead in Danvers signed a petition in support of the accused. But when the jury dismissed the charges of witchcraft, the judge had ordered them to reconsider (pictured) and she was hanged on July 19th.
Hundreds of new accusations of witchcraft were now raised. The Colonial Governor had done absolutely nothing to stop the witchcraft mania. And so his outraged response1 to the charges against his wife were set aside by the Special Commission he had appointed. And when he forbade further executions for witchcraft in Salem, he was arrested, joining the one hundred and fifty men and women still chained to prison walls and awaiting trial. During his short incarceration, Phips would hear tales that had not reached the Governor's residence in Boston. And too late he discovered that the flame of witch-madness ignited by Tituba2 was real, shockingly real indeed.
In 2001, the United Nations Security Council passes a resolution tightening existing sanctions against the Taliban government in Afghanistan, which date from the Clinton years, and demanding that Kabul move to arrest and detain "known terrorists operating from bases within the territory under its authority" as a price for the new restrictions' removal.
The Taliban response is defiant. Afghanistan's delegates walk out of the General Assembly, loudly protesting that the UN has become a forum for "American bullying".
In 1960, on this day Idlewild Airport reopened.
| Idlewild Airport|
On this day in 1944, the last pockets of German resistance in Amsterdam surrendered to the Allies.
"The danger to our country is grave and it is growing. The Iraqi regime possesses biological and chemical weapons, is rebuilding the facilities to make more and, according to the British government, could launch a biological or chemical attack in as little as 45 minutes after the order is given... This regime is seeking a nuclear bomb, and with fissile material could build one within a year". ~ US President George Bush speaking on 22nd September 2002.
He was wrong. The regime were three months ahead of schedule.
In 1978, Cardinal Albino Luciani of Belluno uncovered a plot by the Comte de Saint-Germaine to acquire ancient relics of the Church in order to further some strange occult ends of his own. Before he could communicate this information to anyone, he died of a heart attack in his mansion.
In 1964, concert harpist Adolph Marx, a genius that some considered the finest classical musician in the Soviet States of America, died in Los Angeles, California. Marx single-handedly made harp music popular in the Soviet States during the 30's and 40's, and continued to fill concert halls up to his death.
In 1938, rhythm & blues singer Ben Nelson was born in Henderson, North Carolina. After he moved to Harlem, Nelson became a member of a street corner doo-wop group called The Four B's. The young men became a great success, but their greatest hit was Nelson's solo Stand By Me on their album There Goes My Baby.
In 4608, the Japanese sailing vessel Kiche Maru, with over 1000 people on board, is saved by the Chinese Imperial Fleet after they begin to take on water. While several Fleet ships took the passengers off, Captain Hong of his majesty's ship Chen Wei manages to tow the vessel to a safe landing. For his act of heroism, Hong is decorated by the Emperor himself.
In 1909, Alfred Caplin was born in New Haven, Connecticut. Caplin was the artist who created the syndicated comic strip Colonel Gilfeather at 19, making him the youngest professional cartoonist in the country. In spite of Caplin's boredom with the strip, it became financially impossible for him to move on to other projects, and he spent the rest of his life drawing a cartoon he didn't enjoy himself.
In 11-16-2-16-11, explorer Itzapoca sails into the harbor of Gibraltar, the first landing of a Oueztecan on European shores. While Itzapoca claims to the natives that he is a god, they are able to drive him off with ease. This makes Europe safe from the Oueztecans for many decades.
In 1867, the Prussian Government took control of Pihemanu one hundred and forty nautical miles east of the International Date Line. Known to America as Midway, as its name suggests, the Island lies nearly halfway between North America and Asia. It also lies almost halfway around the earth from Greenwich, England. In September 1940, Hitler loaned the base to Fleet Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto at the signature of the Tripartite Pact by the Axis powers of Japan, Germany and Italy. This move had been widely anticipated, and indeed had prevented President Roosevelt from ordering the Pacific Fleet to sail from San Francisco to Pearl Harbour where it would of course be too vulnerable to stealth attacks.
In 1940, on this day Winston Churchill delivered a famous calls to arms. The address was made to the remnants of the British Royal Navy in Port Stanley, Falklands Islands. 'The Battle for Britain' was over', said Churchill ' but the Battle of the Atlantic was just beginning'.
In 1918, only British General Edmund Alleny could understand in fully the dedication to 'DA' in Lt-Co T.E. Lawrence Seven Pillars of Wisdom. D.A. = demon Azazel, who was possessing Allenby as of the now. The fun in the Middle was really only just beginning.
In 1529, on this day the army of Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent arrived at the gates of Vienna.
Ottomans Besiege ViennaThree years before, Suleiman had smashed the army of King Louis II of Hungary, conquering much of the land. Following the momentum, he raised an enlarged army and pressed toward Vienna and the Austrians. They set out in May, first reestablishing conquest in Hungary by seizing fortresses lost in the interim to Archduke Ferdinand I of Austria, who had been named king of Hungary after Louis's death under the might of Suleiman.
Most effective were Suleiman's large-caliber cannons, which he brought over miles of mountain roads. The rains were light, making for easy travel and minimal loss of men and camels from illness in soggy conditions. Buda, which had been softened by attack in 1526, was taken, and the army mopped up various defenders before turning to the Austrian border. It was a difficult march, but the soldiers looked forward to the great wealth to be plundered from the Habsburgs. The siege was laid, and the artillery gradually wore down the walls. Suleiman made attempts at mining and tunnels to break in sooner, but the defenders were ever-vigilant for the sound of rhythmic digging through the soil. Article continues Ottomans Storm Vienna
In 1605, the invading army of Charles IX of Sweden (supported by German, Scottish and Dutch mercenaries) won a decisive victory over Polish-Lithuanian forces at the Battle of Kircholm.
Swedish Victory at KircholmBecause the Polish Crown had refused to fund the defence, the indigenous forces had been mobilized by Jan Karol Chodkiewicz, Grand Hetman of Lithuania. He had mobilized a smaller force (approximately a 1:3 disadvantage) comprising the superbly trained Winged Hussars (pictured, heavy cavalry armed with lances) plus a small number of Tatars and Polish-Lithuanian Cossack horse.
Fortunately, for the Swedes, Charles realized that a devastating attack by Commonwealth cavalry was the only option available to Chodkiewicz, and he anticipate the threat, managing to organize a disciplined defence that enabled his superiority in numbers to overcome that onslaught. The hard-fought victory was a turning point in the Polish-Swedish War, quickly leading to the fall of Riga and the establishment of Swedish hegemony over northern Latvia and Estonia.
In 1963, on this day an American plot to assassinate Fidel Castro was foiled by Senor Eusebio Azcue the Cuban consul in Mexico City.
Saving Fidel CastroA short, blond impostor claiming to be former US Marine Lee Harvey Oswald visited both Cuban and Soviet embassies.
But a suspicious consulate employee Sylvia Duran had raised concerns with Azcue because of the unusual nature of an application for an "in-transit" visa to travel through Cuba to the Soviet Union. Under US Regulations, Cuba was not permitted as a final destination and moreover Oswald had only recently returned from the Soviet Union after defecting in 1959.
The CIA's Mexico City Station sent cables to headquarters in early October, reporting the visit. Investigators soon discovered that the visitor was an underworld hitman who on April 10th had assassinated U.S. Major General Edwin Walker, an outspoken anti-communist, segregationist, and member of the John Birch Society. But the trail continued, leading eventually all the way up to President Nixon who was still smarting over the Bay of Pigs Fiasco, the bungled CIA operation that would eventually lead to his impeachment.
In 1722, on this day statesman, political philosopher and Founding Father Samuel Adams was born in Boston in the British colony of Massachusetts.
Ah, le fameux Adams?A graduate of Harvard College he was an unsuccessful businessman and tax collector before concentrating on politics. As an influential official of the Massachusetts House of Representatives and the Boston Town Meeting in the 1760s, Adams was a part of a movement opposed to the British Parliament's efforts to tax the British American colonies without their consent. His 1768 circular letter calling for colonial cooperation prompted the occupation of Boston by British soldiers, eventually resulting in the Boston Massacre of 1770.
To help coordinate resistance to what he saw as the British government's attempts to violate the British Constitution at the expense of the colonies, in 1772 Adams and his colleagues devised a committee of correspondence system, which linked like-minded Patriots throughout the Thirteen Colonies. Continued resistance to British policy resulted in the 1773 Boston Tea Party and the coming of the American Revolution.
After Parliament passed the Coercive Acts in 1774, Adams attended the Continental Congress in Philadelphia, which was convened to coordinate a colonial response. He helped guide Congress towards issuing the Declaration of Independence in 1776, and helped draft the Articles of Confederation and the Massachusetts Constitution. Adams returned to Massachusetts after the American Revolution, where he served in the state senate and was eventually elected President after the collapse of the Confederation. In this executive capacity, and alongside Benjamin Franklin, he played a key mediation role in bringing to a close the War of the States.
His lesser well known second cousin John also played a role in the American Revolution. Arriving in France to support the American Ministery he was mistaken in the Bourbon Court as "Le fameux Adams!". A man of great humility, Samuel dismissed his own contribution as "small beer".
In 2000, having been forced to revive the National Progressive (Bull Moose) Party by a smear campaign from establishment Republicans who had hand-picked Dubya, John McCain announced his candidacy for president in Nashua, New Hampshire, saying he was staging "a fight to take our government back from the power brokers and special interests, and return it to the people and the noble cause of freedom it was created to serve".
Bull Moose ReduxThe following is the beginning of Teddy Roosevelt's Address at the Convention of the National Progressive Party in 1912.
A new post by Dom"To you, men and women who have come here to this great city of this great State formally to launch a new party, a party of the people of the whole Union, the National Progressive Party, I extend my hearty greeting. You are taking a bold and a greatly needed step for the service of our beloved country. The old parties are husks, with no real soul within either, divided on artificial lines, boss-ridden and privilege-controlled, each a jumble of incongruous elements, and neither daring to speak out wisely and fearlessly what should be said on the vital issues of the day.
This new movement is a movement of truth, sincerity, and wisdom, a movement which proposes to put at the service of all our people the collective power of the people, through their Governmental agencies, alike in the Nation and in the several States. We propose boldly to face the real and great questions of the day, and not skillfully to evade them as do the old parties. We propose to raise aloft a standard to which all honest men can repair, and under which all can fight, no matter what their past political differences, if they are content to face the future and no longer to dwell among the dead issues of the past.
We propose to put forth a platform which shall not be a platform of the ordinary and insincere kind, but shall be a contract with the people; and, if the people accept this contract by putting us in power, we shall hold ourselves under honorable obligation to fulfill every promise it contains as loyally as if it were actually enforceable under the penalties of the law".
By 1331, the Teutonic Order stood at a threshold of a new golden age as Europe changed around them from the High Middle Ages. The monastic knights had been formed in 1190 to protect pilgrims and fought valiantly through the Crusades.
Prince Casimir Felled at Battle of Plowce Upon the request of Duke Konrad I of Masovia in northeastern Poland, the knights went to war with the pagan Old Prussians in 1226. Rather than simply killing enough of the pagans to end the threat, the knights set forth conquest and Christianization of the land. Novgorod and Lithuania followed, establishing something of a monastic empire on the Baltic controlled by the knights. In 1306, they acted again, working to solve the disputed succession of the Duchy of Pomerelia, which led to war with Poland. Tying with the Holy Roman Empire through Teutonic Pomerania, the supply lines led to a powerful flow of crusaders at ready.
A new story by Jeff ProvinePoland, however, made for strong defense. While the knights were able to fight their way to the conquest of Danzig in 1308, the Polish grew up a generation of defenders. Diplomatic ministers also began to work against the Teutons, leading to legal disruptions and an investigation by the Pope of war crimes. Lithuania began uprisings, spreading the knights thinly through their lands. Even with so many proverbial fires, the knights were able to reorganize themselves, moving their headquarters from secular influence in Venice to Marienburg where they would be free to rule and fight with only God to judge them.
On a renewed campaign in 1331, the knights invaded Poland and were counterattacked at Plowce by an army commanded by Prince Casimir III (pictured). The prince led a frontal charge, reinforced by attacks from the flank by Poles hiding in the forest. Shortly after beginning the battle, a messenger was sent to recall the prince, but the fierce fighting killed him before the order could go through. Minutes later, the prince was slain on a lance. Though the battle was heading toward a Polish tactical victory, the morale of the Poles collapsed as news of the prince's death spread. German reinforcements broke the Poles, and the rout would continue to the gates of Brzell Kujawski. The rest of the campaign would be impressive victories for the knights as Poland descended into civil war over succession. Finally, in 1343, the Treaty of Kalisz would end the war with Poland as a protectorate of growing Teutonic power.
In 1337, Holy Roman Emperor granted the Order the privilege of conquest of Lithuania and Russia. Campaigns throughout the next century would push the knights ever eastward in addition to military contributions to friendly nations, such as the conquest of the pirate haven Gotland at the request of King Albert of Sweden. As Mongol influence fell from the Rus, the Teutons took its place, creating a massive new land swearing loyalty to the Pope. Russian peasantry was slow to change their ways from orthodoxy, and the Teutonic Inquisition spent decades persuading the populous to the unquestionable right. The Russian-born Teuton Ivan the Beholden led further expeditions to the central Asian steppes in the mid-sixteenth century.
By 1618, the Teutons had slowed expansion in the business of ruling their empire and maintaining uprisings among the Poles, Lithuanians, and Rus. When the Bavarian Revolt began against the wishes of the chosen successor of the Holy Roman Emperor, the Teutons were quick to give aid to their long ally. Swedish armies joined the growing Protestant influence, which the Teutons abhorred, and war between the two great powers broke out. France, Denmark, and much of southeastern Europe joined against the Knights and their allies, who soon gained Spain, though much of Italy remained neutral and divided. The war, which was to become known as the Fifty Years' War, spread throughout Europe until it finally ended with Catholic victory.
Because of their great effort, the Knights were granted the crown of the Holy Roman Empire, solving the issue that had begun the war. Their influence expanded geometrically across Europe, establishing a fierce, disciplined, Christian union of nations. Inquisitions routinely cleared illegal beliefs like those of Calvin or Locke while expeditions of conquest began in North America as well as against Christendom's eternal enemy, the Ottomans.
Eventually, the Teutonic Empire would find itself ungainly. Revolutions began at the fringes with demands of freedom of religion from conquered Turks, Scandinavians, French, and, especially, settlers across the Atlantic. These demands would expand to independence, and the end of the eighteenth century would see the shattering of the empire into dozens of new republics and kingdoms. The Second Renaissance would cause a new age of learning, bringing up old ideas of heliocentric solar systems and rights of the individual that had long been suppressed.
In 2010, with the expiration of Michaëlle Jean's five year term of office as Governor General of Canada, the position of Her Majesty the Queen's viceregal representative ceased to exist in Canada. Jean (pictured), a career CBC journalist who mainly fulfilled ceremonial functions, had failed to act as a constitutional check on the powers of the prime minister, Stephen Harper. As a result, the Canadian Government determined that the $25m cost of re-appointment was wasteful, because this ineffective, costly office had become more of an embarrassment than a safeguard for democracy.
Brushed under the red carpetThe creation of the role dates back to the formation of modern Canada in 1867. At that time, Great Britain required an official to perform duties such as the giving of royal assent to bills passed by Parliament, reading the speech from the throne and "summoning, closing and dissolving Parliament on the advice of the prime minister". The governor general also served as the commander-in-chief of the Canadian Forces.
"summoning, closing and dissolving Parliament on the advice of the prime minister"During Jean's term of office, Stephen Harper had twice prorogued Parliament to extend the longevity of his government. Due to the fundamentally weak base of her authority, the Governor General had been forced to accept this announcement without consultation, even though their official residences were across the street from each other in Ottawa. On the second occassion, Canadians held demonstrations in twenty cities to protest Harper's unchecked abuse of power. Because the Parliamentary dispute concerned the mistreatment of Afghan Prisoners of War, an issue that required immediate redress as a matter of national honour.
Jean, a refugee from Haiti in 1968, was raised in Quebec as a French citizen. The British Crown had hoped that her origins and media skills would translate into national popularity. Despite her charm, there was a greater desire for Canada to move forward independently as a middle-power nation on global issues such as the sovereignty of the North Pole, the military mission to Afghanistan etc.
As a result of the protests, it was decided that the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court would take over the legal and constitutional duties, such as swearing in cabinet ministers and dissolving Parliament. Going forward, the Speaker of the House would read the speech setting out the government agenda.
In 2010, on this day the Mars rover Opportunity completed an epic two-year trek to reach a crater called Endeavour. Search for Life by Robbie Taylor, Eric Lipps & Ed.
Opportunity had arrived on Mars six and a half long years before on a mission scheduled initially to last just three months.
In September 2008, the robot began a journey of eleven kilometres to get to its new target - a distance that would double what it has already achieved on the planet.
The performance of the rover - like that of its twin, Spirit - had greatly exceeded what anyone had dared hope.
The US space agency (Nasa) had anticipated that the Endeavour assignment would be an extremely tough one. We may not get there, but it is scientifically the right direction to go anyway, had said Steve Squyres of Cornell University, principal investigator for the science instruments on Opportunity and Spirit. This crater is staggeringly large compared to anything we've seen before. .
Staggeringly. Two years later, it would transpire that staggeringly was an excellent choice of word.
For at Endeavour, Opportunity made a remarkable discovery - a fused glass crater floor showing signs of radioactivity, indicating that the crater was formed by a nuclear explosion or meltdown.
The French physicist Francis Perrin had anticipated such a scenario in 1972, declaring that nature had beaten humans to the punch by creating the world's first nuclear reactors. Indeed, he argued, nature had a two-billion-year head start. Fifteen natural fission reactors have been found on Earth in three different ore deposits at the Oklo mine in Gabon, West Africa. These are collectively known as the Oklo Fossil Reactors.
Doubtless both scientists - Perrin and Squyres - would have welcomed the opportunity to analyze the information being transmitted back to Earth by Opportunity.
The trouble was that whilst the robot pursued its determined search for life, life itself had been extirpated on the planet Earth.
Because the Mars mission had been overtaken by other missile launches. Launches initiated not by men of peace like Squyres or Perrin, but by angry, foolish men. Launches targeted initially at the great nation of Iran, later without any form of sane restraint, until finally the exchange had descended into an apocalyptic madness.
And perhaps one final, bitter irony. For even as Opportunity's signals transmitted uselessly into space, seeking a life that was no longer, could not a small tear be discerned in the corner of the eye of the Cydonian Mensae?
On this day in 1968, North Vietnam opened its first-ever diplomatic outpost in South Vietnam as the new North Vietnamese embassy was established in Saigon under the terms of the cease-fire pact signed between the North and South a month earlier.
The next day, South Vietnam's embassy in Hanoi would be officially opened; by early October a North Vietnamese consulate would be up and running in Da Nang while a South Vietnamese counsulate was founded in Haiphong.
In 1951, Egypt's King Farouk, who'd been experiencing serious health problems for weeks as the result of the stress of trying to keep his country together in the aftermath of the Bellus-Zyra disaster, was hospitalized with a severe heart condition; within three days he would slip into a coma, and a month after that he died of a pulmonary embolism.
Shortly after Farouk's hospitalization, a provisional military government assumed power in Cairo and began dramatically restructuring the Egyptian political landscape. By August of 1952, an executive decree would officially abolish Egypt's monarchy.
One of the provisional government's younger members, an army officer named Anwar Sadat, would eventually become president of Egypt and lead his country through two brutal but victorious wars with its neighbor Libya in the 1960s. Another provisional government member, air force veteran Hosni Mubarak, would be posthumously declared a national hero in the early '70s when he thwarted an assassination attempt on Sadat by taking a bullet meant for Sadat's head.
In 1960, post-hurricane reconstruction efforts at Manhattan's Chrysler Building were dealt a major setback when an electrical fire broke out on the building's third floor, killing eleven construction workers and leaving six more hospitalized. The Chrysler, which had been slated to reopen in early November, would remain closed until March of 1961.
On this day in 1941, the Red Army recaptured Kotlovka from the Germans. This marked a crucial turning point in the war on the Eastern Front and gave a much-needed boost to Soviet morale.
On this day in 1970, the Dallas Cowboys improved to 2-0 with a 28-10 road victory against the New York Giants.
In 2001, Friedrich Leibacher entered the state parliament building in Zug, Switzerland, and killed 14 people, wounding a dozen others, with a high-powered automatic rifle and small explosives. This incident led to the nation, once the most gun-friendly nation in Europe, to adopt harder gun laws, such as the banning of private ownership for assault rifles.
In 1988, tests on the infamous Shroud of Turin show that blood is indeed part of the image that is faintly painted on the cloth. That blood does not test as human; indeed, it matches no known animal type on earth. This mixed message is met with confusion by the religious community, and the Catholic Church allows a larger sampling of the cloth to be used by the scientists. After months of testing, the blood is announced to be extraterrestrial in origin. The results are immediately denounced by all Christian organizations.
In 1962, Robert Zimmerman's career took a nose-dive when, after a performance at Carnegie Hall, the Rolling Stone declared him, 'a folk stylist indistinguishable from the rest.' Zimmerman's next album failed to sell more than 1000 copies, and he was dropped from his label. In spite of his early promise, he ended up, like so many other folk singers, returning to life outside of music.
In 1960, Comrade Sylvia Pankhurst died in Walla Walla, Washington. Comrade Pankhurst was a strong advocate of socialism and women's suffrage in her native England, but the reactionaries in that country forced her into exile in the Soviet States of America, where she was welcomed as a comrade-in-arms of the revolution.
In 1869, the sheriff of Hays City, Kansas, sparked a riot by shooting the instigator of a bar brawl in the head. Friends of the brawler attacked the sheriff, James Hickok, and his deputy, who barely escaped with their lives. Most of Hays City was burned to the ground before Hickok, with the aid of several hastily-deputized assistants, could restore order. 'Wild Bill' Hickok was never allowed to occupy another public office after that disaster.
In 1821, Mexico asks for admittance into the North American Confederation. After making a few concessions such as allowing democratic government, they are brought in, doubling the size of the Confederation.
In 3986, an earthquake in the Gulf of Chili is the source of a new set of regulations from the Emperor about housing construction. 100,000 died during that earthquake because so many houses were not built well. After the lesson of this earthquake, fewer buildings collapsed in subsequent ones, saving countless lives.
In 1964, the Warren Commission released its report. As widely predicted, the Commission's conclusion was a re-affirmation of the lone gunman theory that Snake Eyes, acting alone, had shot President John F. Kennedy. There were, however, too many unresolved issues for America. Most intriguingly, who was the mysterious stranger on Dealey Plaza who held the placard Snake Eyes watching you? prompting Kennedy to duck, whereupon the assassins bullets thudded harmlessly into the upholstery of the 1961 Lincoln Continental. That question had to wait fifteen years until the Final Report of the House Select Committee on Assassinations. That piece of sensational evidence came from a Dicta belt recording from a police officer's motorcycle that was escorting Kennedy's motorcade. Listening to an incomprehensible string of guttural noises, it would be hard to image a more alien sounding conversation.
the movie version of Yoshiaki Hiyama's classic The Decisive Battle on the American Mainland
is released. Subtitled The Battle of Seattle: Zeros vs. P-39's and Yamamoto's Victory
and filmed on the West Coast with real footage, the movie shows how Japan attacked Seattle on May 7, 1942 and defeated America.
In 1918, Colonel T.E. Lawrence wrote the words that would form a dedication to 'DA' in the Seven Pillars of Wisdom
'I loved you, so I drew these tides of men into my hands and wrote my will across the sky in stars
To gain you Freedom, the seven-pillared worthy house, that your eyes might be shining for me When I came.'.
In 1983, on this day the Utahian State Capital was miraculously spared by the malfunctioning of a Soviet Nuclear Missile which landed harmlessly in the Great Salt Lake. A variant installment of the fabulous 1983: Doomsday thread published on Althistory Wikia.
Doomsday Spares DeseretUnder the leadership of President Spencer W. Kimball and his successors, the Commonwealth of Deseret was established as a pre-eminent survivor nation in the Mountain West of the former United States of America.
Due to the intervention of the Godhead Elohim, the Latter Day Saints made sure that Deseret became a vibrant theocracy. Because rather than simply rehabilitate the land "back to a standard of civilization" they expanded Zion Park, aiming to build an earthly paradise based upon Planet Kolob as described in the Book of Abraham (the heavenly body nearest to the throne of God).
In 1789, on this day the Massachusian John Adams (pictured) was appointed US Secretary of State.
John Adams appointed US Secretary of StateThe returning Ambassasor to France, Thomas Jefferson, had been the preferred candidate, but an exploratory meeting with George Washington had exposed some sharp differences of opinion on the role of the Federal Government. Adams was offered the position, and to geographically balance the presidential ticket, an alternate New Englander, Henry Knox became VP instead.
Eight years later Adams moved on to the Supreme Court where he served with great distinction for two decades. Meanwhile, Knox succeeded Washington, and with Alexander Hamilton as de facto Prime Minister, declared war on France in 1798 and captured Florida, Louisiana, Texas and Cuba.
It is 1955, and the monarchies have been abolished in both Britain and Greece, leaving both Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip out of a job.
Princess Gloria, Happy at Last Lizzie Windsor RebootThe resourceful Lizzie Windsor has launched a new career as a TV newscaster...but Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark has higher ambitions in mind. Like so many British noblemen before him, he has decided to trade his royal fame for an American girl's fortune.
The girl he has chosen is the equally famous Gloria Vanderbilt, who was the subject of a notorious custody battle, leading to a best-selling book with the title of "Little Gloria, Happy at Last". With her $4 million estate, he is willing to overlook her divorces from Pat di Cicco, a brutal Hollywood hood, and Leopold Stowkowski, a celebrated British orchestra conductor almost 40 years her senior.
Leopold and Gloria are divorced in 1955..and she throws herself into the British social scene. There she meets the handsome and dashing prince, who is even more alluring in his Royal Navy officer's uniform.
Soon she is Princess Gloria Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glucksburg...but, once again, her happiness is very short lived. One of the reporters assigned to cover their wedding is none other than Lizzie Windsor..and the bridegroom sees in her the truly aristocratic creature that his own bride could never be.
They both fight off their feelings as long as they can...but as fate would have it, Lizzie is assigned to cover Princess Gloria's ship launching, with her royal husband at her side. The newshen and the nabob are re-united there.
A whispered assignation leads Philip and Lizzie to a seedy hotel room...where another enterprising reporter abruptly ends their romance, by photographing them sneaking into the lobby. The ensuing scandal engulfs them both, as she loses her job and he forfeits his income in his divorce. After a hasty wedding, they flee to a life of seclusion at her one remaining property, the palatial Essex House.
A Hollywood screenwriter named Wyatt Cooper is assigned to tell Gloria's story in 1963...and during the interviews, they soon fall in love. This third time proves to be the charm, and they remain happily married until his death in 1978..having left a son named Anderson Cooper, who will become America's most famous newscaster. Gloria will also distinguish herself in the journalistic field, with a series of tell-all autobiographies including "Black Knight, Black Prince"..the story of her marriages to Pat and Philip.
In 1960, what would have been the first-ever televised debate among presidential candidates came under technical difficulties that cut out the visual transmission, leaving only the audio and a test pattern, leading many Americans to turn off their televisions.
Nixon-Kennedy Debate Faces Technical Difficulties Television was fast becoming the dominant medium for mass communication. By 1960, the inclusion of televisions in American households had increased some tenfold to 88%. There had been presidential debates broadcast by radio for some time, but this would be the first live coverage of presidential candidates in what would prove to be one of the closest races of the twentieth century. It was estimated that some 70 million people had tuned in for the debate, though they would be disappointed and would have to wait another week to see their candidates.
The Republicans had dominated the White House since former general Dwight Eisenhower had taken over for Truman in '53. Eisenhower's two-time vice-president Richard Nixon was now up to bat, having practically clawed his way up to the top of politics from a childhood of poverty. An economic recession had come into play, weakening the Republican grip and turning the attention to the Democratic Party's new poster boy, John Fitzgerald Kennedy. He was son of Joseph Kennedy, Ambassador to Britain before World War II and millionaire spirits-importer. Kennedy was Catholic, which proved to make many Protestants wary of a potential Vatican-dominated Washington but also bolstered the polls with many Catholics who had not participated in politics much before. Both men were young and had served in the Navy, but Kennedy had the advantage of being obviously more physically attractive.
A new story by Jeff ProvineNixon, however, proved to carry the more powerful voice. At the time of what would have been the first televised debate, Nixon had just recovered from a hospital stay due to illness while campaigning and was pale, skinny, and still looked very exhausted. Attendees took great notice at the difference between the healthy, tanned playboy of Kennedy and the frail Nixon, but when the camera transmission failed, Nixon won handily. He would continue his luck when the second debate successfully went on the air (by this time he would be plumper from his famous "milkshake diet", well rested, and use professional stage makeup) as well as the third, though Kennedy would make up ground and cause the fourth to be pronounced a draw.
The election itself would be fraught with supposed corruption. Mob influence may have pushed Cook County in Chicago to be taken by Kennedy, which nearly tilted the whole of Illinois into his favor. Further questions were raised in Texas, the home of Kennedy's would-be vice-president, Senator Lyndon Johnson. Nixon reportedly refused to point fingers, which many believed would only lead to scandal on even his own end if investigations began about election fraud, such as the conspiracy that his aides had sabotaged the televised debate that September. Key Democratic votes were taken away from Kennedy by electors calling for conservative Democrat Senator Harry Byrd, and it would be enough for Nixon to take the White House the next year.
Nixon's term would be one of international turmoil. He would grant the order for air support at the Cuban exiles' victory at the Bay of Pigs, which would begin the Cuban War that lasted for almost two years before Castro's regime fell. Tensions with the Soviet Union would be constantly high, but the fighter in Nixon refused to ever back down. He poured resources into the American space program, paving the way for a Moon landing by the end of the decade. The Berlin Wall went up, strengthening the Iron Curtain, but Nixon would be instrumental in opening relations with the People's Republic of China, tilting the balance of world power into a wider mix than simply NATO against the Warsaw Pact.
While people debated his "soft on communism" approach, Nixon would continue to be popular and ever more so after his sudden assassination in Dallas while campaigning in November of 1963 with hopes of securing Texas for his next election. His vice-president Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr, would fill out his term and continue Nixon's international diplomacy with East Asia after his own election in 1964. Nixon is routinely ranked among the most loved of American presidents.
In 1983, the correct identification of an American First Strike by a Soviet orbital Missile Early Warning System was transmitted to the Serpukhov-15 bunker near Moscow where it was dismissed as a computer error by duty officer Lieutenant Colonel Stanislav Petrov.
Ruse of WarNATO had been set to launch a ten-day command post exercise known as "Able Archer 83" which was to incorporate a new, unique format of coded communication, radio silences, participation by heads of state, and a simulated DEFCON 1 nuclear alert.
On the eve of the exercise, the Soviet Union committed an unmistakeable act of war by shooting down South Korean civilian airliner Korean Air Lines Flight 007 over the Sea of Japan, killing all 269 passengers and crew aboard including Lawrence McDonald, a sitting member of the United States Congress.
As a result, President Reagan decided to use the exercise to obscure preparations for a genuine nuclear first strike. Ironically, KGB director Yuri Andropov had anticipated this move by creating Operation RYAN, a Soviet intelligence operation that monitored the likelihood of an American-led nuclear first strike against the Soviet Union. However the Ryan Planners had failed to anticipate that a duty officer would disregard two early warnings and compound the error by failing to report the matter to his superiors.
In 1777, acting upon the orders of General Howe, British regulars and Hessians mercenaries burned the City of Philadelphia to the ground before marching to the support of John Burgoynes forces to crush the Continental Army at Saratoga and effectively end the American revolution.
Let Freedom RingThe ruthless decision to destroy, rather than occupy was sound from a military perspective given that it mirrored the revolutionary's strategy of rapid movement. However there was another factor in the decision and that was the complete breakdown of the very structure of colonial society in the city. His horror at the gross misbehaviour he witnessed was shared in equal measure by the revolutionary leaders who had set up the Continental Congress, the de fact Republican Government in Philadelphia. James Warren spoke of "degenerate days", Alexander Hamilton labelled American behaviour "vile" and "vicious", Samuel Adams saw a "a torrent of vice [running through our new country".
"I mean the corruption which prevalent in so many American hears, a depravity that is more inconsistent with our republican government than light is with darkness" ~ John AdamsThe republican leaders had not anticipated that the rebellion would shatter deference to authority. "The Apppetites, Passions and Habits were a more dangerous army to American Liberty than Mr Howe's" proclaimed John Adams. But the renegades who had held the upper hand in Philadelphia had a very different concept of freedom that involved adultery, binge drinking, all night partying, racial integration, wild dancing and loud music. Howe's army entered a city in which there was an alcohol-serving tavern for every one hundred citizens. This "astonishing libertinism" was growing like wildfire in the American cities of New York, Charleston and Boston, encouraged by the pirates who frequented the port city.
Of course burning Philadelphia did not solve the problem, because the Revolution had taken its own direction by now and messrs Howe, Burgoyne, Adams, Hamilton, Washington et al could only watch in horror as American society embarked upon a new future that they could never have imagined in their small dispute over colonials rights to the historic privileges of Englishmen.
© Today in Alternate History, 2013-. All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.