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

November 2

In 1880, for the second consecutive election the Democrats won the popular vote but the Republicans won the electoral vote.

Electoral College ReformGranted, the margins were very small - only six thousand votes in Indiana enabled Jamed Garfield to wins the electoral vote 199 to 170, even though Winfield Scott Hancock won the popular vote 4,450,260 to 4,440,158. Normally this would be a fluke, but combined with 1876 it would be the second time in a row that the Democrats have won the popular vote but lost the electoral vote. And then just one thousand votes in New York in 1884 produced the third repeat with James G. Blaine beating Grover Cleveland by a whisper.

The reality was that a Democrat had not been elected President of the United States since the pre-civil war election of 1856. And of course this inequitable situation brought to the fore fresh and undeniable demands for electoral college reform.

In 1979, a planned three-day visit to the Palo Alto Research Center (PARC) facilities by Apple Engineers Steve Jobs and Jef Raskin was cancelled by Xerox because of new commercial restrictions of access placed on the Alto prototype computer.

Xerox take advantage of the Alto ComputerThe two companies had been discussing a proposal under which Xerox granted Apple engineers three days of access to the PARC facilities in return for the option to buy 100,000 shares (800,000 split-adjusted shares) of Apple at the pre-IPO price of $10 a share. However this deal was scuppered by PARC researcher Larry Tessler.

Developed in 1973, the Alto was the first computer to use the desktop metaphor and mouse-driven graphical user interface (GUI). Unable to position the Alto as the ground-breaking device of a new technology era, he finally managed to persuade his bone-headed bosses to see that such computers were the photocopiers of the future. The device was then placed under restricted commercial access, and the final painful steps taken in the development of a marketable product.

In 1948, as expected New York Governor Thomas E. Dewey beat incumbent Franklin D. Roosevelt in the forty-first quadrennial presidential election.

Dewey beats FDR in '48FDR who had been in office since 1933 had become increasingly withdrawn since the closing months of World War Two. This low profile has added to the prevailing sense that he had lost his grip on power. And of course events had very much moved against America ever since the triumph of VE Day. Most recently the Berlin Crisis had resulted in American bombings of the Soviet military a desperately weak sign of FDR's attempts to belatedly stand up to Joe Stalin.

In addition to constitutional concerns that a fifth term would effectively create a President for Life, a series of game-changing reversals in the Cold War forced voters to call time. Worse was to follow, because short months later the Soviet Union would test an atomic bomb, China would fall to the Communists and long shadows would fall across the Free World.

In 1950, on this day proto-fascist playwright George Bernard Shaw died in Ayot St Lawrence, Hertfordshire. He was ninety-four years old.

Passing of George Bernard ShawAged twenty-four had he quit his job to work full-time on his reactionary, right-wing plays. Over the next few years, he produces such works as Man & Superman - Nietzsche's treatise in theatrical form; Arms & The Man - a cry for compulsory military service in Britain; and Pygmalion - a celebration of the abuses of capitalism, the degradation of women and the evils of poverty.

Hitler claimed Shaw as one of his greatest inspirations, and when he conquered Britain in the 40's, he gave Shaw the Iron Cross, which Shaw wore proudly until his death in 1950.

In 1470, on this day future king of England, Edward V (Plantagenet of York) was born at Westminister Abbey (the Royal House had ended in 1399 as the dynasty splintered into two competing cadet branches: The House of Lancaster and The House of York).

Birth of King Edward V
by Ed & Jackie Speel
His once vigorous father, Edward IV King of England soon fell into bad health and inactivity. Nevertheless, he clung to life until 1486 when he died at the still relatively young age of forty-five.

The succession of his fifteen year old son was challenged by two pretenders, his uncle Richard of Gloucester and also Henry Tudor. But after the inclusive Battle of Bosworth Field, an unstable truce settled in with a young king in Westminster, who does not yet have the presence to lead. Meanwhile, Tudor was stuck on the Isle of Man and controlled by his mother's husband's family, the Stanleys [2]. And meanwhile Richard of Gloucester, ruled his domains in the North while negotiating with the Scottish leadership who had previously invaded the country.

The only clear winner in this stalement was William Caxton whose printing business had prospered by printing pamphlets and broadsides for the various sides. And then a breakthrough emerged through the arrival of a stranger, Christopher Columbus who came to the British Isles to see if he could get backing for his adventures. He had heard whispers from the Bristol merchants and fishermen about lands to the west including the semi-mythical islands [1] and Iceland, and so he suggested that England made a claim for some of them/and the trade with China, and that this would be a useful way of offloading an inconvenient claimant (to rule the lands found). The offer was indeed taken up - and, in due course Pope Alexander VI, when asked to divide up the so-called unknown lands made a three-way division between Spain, Portugal and England.

In 1734, on this day American pioneer, explorer, frontiersman, wealthy land speculator and third President of the United States Daniel Boone was born in Oley Valley, Pennsylvania.

Daniel Boone
Third US President
by Ed and Jeff Provine
In 1775 Boone blazed his Wilderness Road through the Cumberland Gap in the Appalachian Mountains from North Carolina and Tennessee into Kentucky despite resistance from American Indian tribes such as the Shawnee. There he founded the village of Boonesborough, Kentucky, one of the first English-speaking settlements west of the Appalachians. Before the end of the 18th century, more than two hundred thousand European people migrated to Kentucky/Virginia by following the route marked by Boone.

During the Revolutionary War he was captured by Shawnee warriors who adopted him into their tribe. Later, he left the Indians and returned to Boonesborough in order to help defend the European settlements in Kentucky/Virginia. Following the war, Boone initially worked as a surveyor and merchant before accumulating vast wealth through lucrative Kentucky land speculation.

In 1800, he ran successfully for the Presidency narrowly beating the incumbent John Adams. He entered Office with the high hope that he would blaze a new trail, bringing the country together by addressing the Indian Question.

In 1920, on this day the voters of the tenth Indiana Congressional District elected David Curtiss "Steve" (D.C.) Stephenson to the United States House of Representatives.

Sowing Dragon's TeethThe election was the culmination of a personal and political odyssey that had begun with his birth in Houston, Texas. He moved his family to Maysville, Oklahoma where he found employment as a printer's apprentice and became active in the Socialist Party. Driven by a restless pursuit of destiny, he moved again to Irvington, Indiana, where he became a salesman and joined both the Democratic Party and the Ku Klux Klan.

Based on original ideas of Robbie Taylor & Eric OppenWidespread rumours and allegations that appeared to linked him with the abduction of Madge Oberholtzer halted a race for the White House, but did not prevent him from rising to the national leadership in the Klan becoming the Imperial Wizard in 1939. In that watershed year, he marched through Madison Square Garden with members of the German American Bund who were protesting the "Jew Deal" of President "Frank D. Rosenfeld" on President's Day.

Stephenson's greatest contribution to movement occured three years before his death when he convinced the Klan to lift its restriction against members joining foreign-led organizations, clearing the way for the American Bund political party to turn America into a one-party state like Germany. Since the fall of the Greater Zionist Resistance in the early 50's, America has been the last beacon against the darkness of the Nazis; with the KKK's announcement, that beacon seems to be extinguished.

In 1865, on this day Warren G. Harding, disgraced 29th President of the United States was born in Blooming Grove, Ohio. He was named after his great-uncle the Reverend Warren Gamaliel Bancroft who was a Methodist chaplain at the Wisconsin State Prison. Warren's mother had wanted to name him Winfield but deferred to her husband's wishes but she called him "Winnie" all her life.

Birth of Warren G. HardingOnce in the White House, he rewarded friends and political contributors, referred to as the Ohio Gang, with financially powerful positions. Scandals and corruption, including the notorious Teapot Dome scandal, eventually pervaded his administration; one of his own cabinet and several of his appointees were eventually tried, convicted, and sent to prison for bribery or defrauding the federal government.

And finally on 2nd, August 1923 his own inglorious downfall - he died in a hotel room, in the arms of a young woman who was not his wife. Before the scene could be cleaned up, the press arrived, and the story was spread across the country. Harding's Vice-President, Calvin Coolidge, resigned in disgrace, unwilling to take office in such a manner. This made the Republican Speaker of the House, Frederick Gillett of Massachusetts, the President of the United States.

In 2004, on this day Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts defeated incumbent President George W. Bush. Foreign policy was the dominant theme throughout the election campaign, particularly Bush's conduct of the War on Terrorism and the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

John Kerry
44th President of the United States
January 20, 2005 - 2013
The United States presidential election of 2004 was the United States' 55th quadrennial presidential election. It was held on Tuesday, November 2, 2004. Democratic nominee, Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts defeated incumbent President George W. Bush.

Foreign policy was the dominant theme throughout the election campaign, particularly Bush's conduct of the War on Terrorism and the 2003 invasion of Iraq. As in the 2000 presidential election, voting controversies and concerns of irregularities emerged during and after the vote. Though the winner was decided on election night, recounts persisted until Bush accepted Kerry's victory in Ohio. The state held enough electoral votes to determine the winner of the presidency.


George W. Bush won the presidency in 2000 after the Supreme Court's decision in Bush v. Gore remanded the case to the Florida Supreme Court, which declared there was not sufficient time to hold a recount without violating the U.S. Constitution.

Just eight months into his presidency, the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 suddenly transformed Bush into a wartime president. Bush's approval ratings surged to near 90%. Within a month, the forces of a coalition led by the United States invaded Afghanistan, which had been sheltering Osama bin Laden, suspected mastermind of the September 11 attacks. By December, the Taliban had been removed as rulers of Kabul, although a long and ongoing occupation would follow.

A new article from Althistory WikiaThe Bush administration then turned its attention to Iraq, and argued the need to remove Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq had become urgent. Among the stated reasons were that Saddam's regime had tried to acquire nuclear material and had not properly accounted for biological and chemical material it was known to have previously possessed. Both the possession of these weapons of mass destruction (WMD), and the failure to account for them, violated the U.N. sanctions. The assertions about WMD were hotly debated from the beginning, and their basis in U.S.military intelligence undermined by the subsequent failure to find any WMD in Iraq. This situation escalated to the point that a coalition of about forty nations, including the United States, invaded Iraq on March 20, 2003. Within about three weeks, the invasion caused the collapse of both the Iraqi government and its armed forces. On May 1, George W. Bush landed on the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln, in a Lockheed S-3 Viking, where he gave a speech announcing the end of major combat operations in the Iraq war. Bush's approval rating in May was at 66%, according to a CNN-USA Today-Gallup poll. However, Bush's high approval ratings did not last. First, while the war itself was popular in the U.S., the occupation lost support as months passed and casualty figures increased, with no decrease in violence nor progress toward stability or reconstruction in Iraq. Second, as investigators combed through the country, they failed to find the predicted WMD stockpiles, which led to debate over the rationale for the war.

Nomination of President George W. Bush

Bush's popularity as a wartime president helped consolidate his base, and ward off any serious challenge to the nomination. Senator Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island considered challenging Bush on an anti-war platform in New Hampshire, but decided not to run after the capture of Saddam Hussein in December 2003.

On March 10, 2004, Bush officially clinched the number of delegates needed to be nominated at the 2004 Republican National Convention in New York City. Bush accepted the nomination on September 2, 2004, and selected Vice President Dick Cheney as his running mate. (In New York, the ticket was also on the ballot as candidates of the Conservative Party of New York State). During the convention and throughout the campaign, Bush focused on two themes: defending America against terrorism and building an ownership society. The ownership society included allowing people to invest some of their Social Security in the stock market, increasing home and stock ownership, and encouraging more people to buy their own health insurance.

Before The Primaries

By summer of 2003, Howard Dean had become the apparent front runner for the Democratic nomination, performing strongly in most polls and leading the pack with the largest campaign war chest. Dean's strength as a fund raiser was attributed mainly to his embrace of the Internet for campaigning. The majority of his donations came from individual supporters, who became known as Deanites, or, more commonly, Deaniacs. Generally regarded as a pragmatic centrist during his time as governor, Dean emerged during his presidential campaign as a left-wing populist, denouncing the policies of the Bush administration (especially the 2003 invasion of Iraq) as well as fellow Democrats, who, in his view, failed to strongly oppose them. Senator Lieberman, a liberal on domestic issues but a hawk on the War on Terror, failed to gain traction with liberal Democratic primary voters.

In September 2003, retired four-star general Wesley Clark announced his intention to run in the presidential primary election for the Democratic Party nomination. His campaign focused on themes of leadership and patriotism; early campaign ads relied heavily on biography. His late start left him with relatively few detailed policy proposals. This weakness was apparent in his first few debates, although he soon presented a range of position papers, including a major tax-relief plan. Nevertheless, many Democrats did not flock to his campaign.

In sheer numbers, Kerry had fewer endorsements than Howard Dean, who was far ahead in the superdelegate race going into the Iowa caucuses in January 2004, although Kerry led the endorsement race in Iowa, New Hampshire, Arizona, South Carolina, New Mexico and Nevada. Kerry's main perceived weakness was in his neighboring state of New Hampshire and nearly all national polls. Most other states did not have updated polling numbers to give an accurate placing for the Kerry campaign before Iowa. Heading into the primaries, Kerry's campaign was largely seen as in trouble, particularly after he fired campaign manager Jim Jordan. The key factors enabling it to survive was when fellow Massachusetts Senator Ted Kennedy assigned Mary Beth Cahill to be the campaign manager, as well as Kerry's mortgaging his own home to lend the money to his campaign (while his wife was a billionaire, campaign finance rules prohibited using one's personal fortune). He also brought on the "magical" Michael Whouley who would be credited with helping bring home the Iowa victory the same as he did in New Hampshire for Al Gore in 2000 against Bill Bradley.

Iowa Caucus

By the January 2004 Iowa caucuses, the field had dwindled down to nine candidates, as Bob Graham dropped out of the race and Howard Dean was a strong front-runner. However, the Iowa caucuses yielded unexpectedly strong results for Democratic candidates John Kerry, who earned 38% of the state's delegates and John Edwards, who took 32%. Former front-runner Howard Dean slipped to 18% and third place, and Richard Gephardt finished fourth (11%). In the days leading up to the Iowa vote, there was much negative campaigning between the Dean and Gephardt camps.

The dismal results caused Gephardt to drop out and later endorse Kerry. What further hurt Dean was a speech he gave at a post-caucus rally. Dean was shouting over the cheers of his enthusiastic audience, but the crowd noise was being filtered out by his unidirectional microphone, leaving only his full-throated exhortations audible to the television viewers. To those at home, he seemed to raise his voice out of sheer emotion. The incessant replaying of the "Dean Scream" by the press became a debate on the topic of whether Dean was the victim of media bias. The scream scene was shown approximately 633 times by cable and broadcast news networks in just four days following the incident, a number that does not include talk shows and local news broadcasts. However, those who were in the actual audience that day insist that they were not aware of the infamous "scream" until they returned to their hotel rooms and saw it on TV.

Kerry, on the other hand, had revived his campaign and began using the slogan "Comeback Kerry".

New Hampshire Primary

On January 27, Kerry triumphed again, winning the New Hampshire primary. Dean finished second, Clark was third, and Edwards placed fourth. The largest of the debates was held at Saint Anselm College where both Kerry and Dean had strong performances.

South Carolina

The following week, John Edwards won the South Carolina primary and finished a strong second in Oklahoma. After Howard Dean's withdrawal from the contest, Edwards became the only major challenger to Kerry for the Democratic nomination. However, Kerry continued to dominate and his support quickly snowballed as he won caucuses and primaries, taking in a string of wins in Michigan, Washington, Maine, Tennessee, Washington, D.C., Nevada, Wisconsin, Utah, Hawaii, and Idaho. Clark and Lieberman dropped out during this time, leaving only Sharpton, Kucinich, and Edwards in the running against Kerry.

Super TuesdayIn March's Super Tuesday, Kerry won decisive victories in the California, Connecticut, Georgia, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, Ohio, and Rhode Island primaries and the Minnesota caucuses. Dean, despite having withdrawn from the race two weeks earlier, won his home state of Vermont. Edwards finished only slightly behind Kerry in Georgia, but, failing to win a single state other than South Carolina, chose to withdraw from the presidential race.

Democratic National Convention

On July 6, John Kerry selected John Edwards as his running mate, shortly before the 2004 Democratic National Convention in Boston, Massachusetts, held later that month. Days before Kerry announced Edwards as his running mate, Kerry gave a short list of three candidates: Sen John Edwards, Rep Dick Gephardt, and Gov Tom Vilsack. Heading into the convention, the Kerry/Edwards ticket unveiled their new slogan-a promise to make America "stronger at home and more respected in the world". Kerry made his Vietnam War experience the prominent theme of the convention. In accepting the nomination, he began his speech with, "I'm John Kerry and I'm reporting for duty". He later delivered what may have been the speech's most memorable line when he said, "the future doesn't belong to fear, it belongs to freedom," a quote that later appeared in a Kerry/Edwards television advertisement.

General Election Campaign

Campaign Issues

Bush focused his campaign on national security, presenting himself as a decisive leader and contrasted Kerry as a "flip-flopper". Bush's point was that Americans could trust him to be tough on terrorism while Kerry would be "uncertain in the face of danger". Bush also sought to portray Kerry as a "Massachusetts liberal" who was out of touch with mainstream Americans. One of Kerry's slogans was "Stronger at home, respected in the world". This advanced the suggestion that Kerry would pay more attention to domestic concerns; it also encapsulated Kerry's contention that Bush had alienated American allies by his foreign policy.

According to one exit poll, people who voted for Bush cited the issues of terrorism and moral values as the most important factors in their decision. Kerry supporters cited the war in Iraq, the economy and jobs, and health care.

Over the course of Bush's first term in office, his extremely high approval ratings immediately following the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks steadily dwindled, peaking only during combat operations in Iraq in the spring of 2003, and again following the capture of Saddam Hussein in December the same year. Kerry supporters attempted to capitalize on the dwindling popularity to rally anti-war sentiment.

In March 2004, the Bush/Cheney campaign was criticized by 2004 Racism Watch. The organization took offense to a campaign ad, which showed a man who was possibly Middle Eastern in a negative light. 2004 Racism Watch issued a press release calling on the campaign to pull the ad, calling it disturbing and offensive.

During August and September 2004, there was an intense focus on events that occurred in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Bush was accused of failing to fulfill his required service in the Texas Air National Guard. However, the focus quickly shifted to the conduct of CBS News after they aired a segment on 60 Minutes Wednesday introducing what became known as the Killian documents. Serious doubts about the documents' authenticity quickly emerged, leading CBS to appoint a review panel that eventually resulted in the firing of the news producer and other significant staffing changes.

Meanwhile, Kerry was accused by the Swift Vets and POWs for Truth, who averred that "phony war crimes charges, his exaggerated claims about his own service in Vietnam, and his deliberate misrepresentation of the nature and effectiveness of Swift boat operations compels us to step forward". The group challenged the legitimacy of each of the combat medals awarded to Kerry by the U.S. Navy, and the disposition of his discharge.

In the beginning of September, the successful Republican National Convention along with the allegations by Kerry's former mates gave Bush his first comfortable margin since Kerry had won the nomination. A post-convention Gallup poll showed the President leading the Senator by 14 points.


Three presidential debates and one vice presidential debate were organized by the Commission on Presidential Debates, and held in the autumn of 2004. As expected, these debates set the agenda for the final leg of the political contest. Libertarian Party candidate Michael Badnarik and Green Party candidate David Cobb were arrested while trying to access the debates. Badnarik was attempting to serve papers to the Commission on Presidential Debates.

The first debate was held on September 30 at the University of Miami, moderated by Jim Lehrer of PBS. During the debate, slated to focus on foreign policy, Kerry accused Bush of having failed to gain international support for the 2003 Invasion of Iraq, saying the only countries assisting the USA during the invasion were the United Kingdom and Australia. Bush replied to this by saying, "Well, actually, he forgot Poland" (in an ironic turn of events, Poland announced plans to withdraw its troops from Iraq shortly after the debate). Later, a consensus formed among mainstream pollsters and pundits that Kerry won the debate decisively, strengthening what had come to be seen as a weak and troubled campaign. In the days after, coverage focused on Bush's apparent annoyance with Kerry and numerous scowls and negative facial expressions. On October 5, the Vice Presidential debate was held between Dick Cheney and John Edwards at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, and was moderated by Gwen Ifill of PBS. An initial poll by ABC indicated a victory for Cheney, while polls by CNN and MSNBC gave it to Edwards

The second presidential debate was held at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, on October 8, moderated by Charles Gibson of ABC. Conducted in a "town meeting" format, less formal than the first Presidential debate, this debate saw Bush and Kerry taking questions on a variety of subjects from a local audience. Bush attempted to deflect criticism of what was described as his scowling demeanor during the first debate, joking at one point about one of Kerry's remarks, "That answer made me want to scowl". Bush and Kerry met for the third and final debate at Arizona State University on October 13. 51 million viewers watched the debate which was moderated by Bob Schieffer of CBS News. However, at the time of the ASU debate there were 15.2 million viewers tuned in to watch the Major League Baseball playoffs broadcast simultaneously.

Election Results EditWith the exceptions of Florida and North Carolina, Bush carried the Southern states by comfortable margins and also secured wins in Indiana, most of the rural Midwestern farming states, most of the Rocky Mountain states, and Alaska. Kerry balanced Bush by sweeping the Northeastern United States, most of the Upper Midwest, and all of the Pacific Coast states of Washington, Oregon, and California, and carried Hawaii, as well.

As the night wore on, the returns in a handful of small-to-medium sized states, including Wisconsin and Iowa, were extremely close; however it was the state of Ohio that would make clear the winner of the election. As the final national results were tallied Bush had clearly won a total of 266 electoral votes, while Kerry had won 252 votes. 270 votes were needed to win. It was Ohio (20 electoral votes), however, that the news media focused their attention on. Mathematically, Ohio's 20 electoral votes became the key to an election win for either candidate.

At 1:37 PM EST all major networks except Fox called the state of Ohio and the election for Kerry.


Following projected defeat in Ohio the Bush/Cheney campaign refused to concede, instead requesting a recount throughout Ohio and much of the close states.

Over the course of the following week hand recounts were put into effect across Ohio,Iowa and New Hampshire on order to validate the final result. On November 10 the recount had been completed, thus confirming Kerry's victory in the election. Bush's concession speech soon followed.

In 2007, Robbie Taylor wrote the second installment of his novel Before/After ~ As he was approaching Rockdale, Kevin looked for the convenience store on the highway. He had stopped there a lot when he was going back and forth between Austin and Bryan during college. It was a ritual to him - stopping at the little store made the trip safe and happy.
It had been a while since his last stop at the store; probably a good ten years, when he had last been to Austin. That was when he was trying to get his taxes in order and needed to talk to the IRS there. While that trip had been safe, it wasn't very happy...

Installment Two of Before/AfterHe saw the store and pulled into its parking lot. It didn't have the same name, but it was exactly the same inside. Small barbecue kitchen next to the register, dust on quite a bit of the merchandise, thick papers from Houston and Austin next to a paper that was little more than a pamphlet from Rockdale. He got a plastic bottle of milk and a cinnamon bun, just as he always had before, and went up to the counter. The young woman who took his money was probably in elementary school the last time he passed through, and she was very pert and perky. "Thanks for stoppin' in," she said, smiling and handing him change from the 20 he had given her for the food.
"What's your name?"
She pointed at her name tag. "Cindy".
He smiled at her and shook her hand. "Thanks, Cindy. It's a beautiful day, isn't it?"
She kept smiling, which he liked. "Sure is. Too bad I got to spend it inside".
He looked at his truck through the window, then back to her. "Want to go to Austin?"
She laughed and shook her head. "Sorry, my shift don't end till 3".
He shrugged and laughed. "Too bad. You have a nice day, Cindy".
"You, too, sir".
He left the little store and hopped into his truck. While it was warming up again, he popped open the milk and unwrapped his cinnamon bun. He wasn't really hungry, but he didn't want to mess with tradition. After a few bites and a couple of gulps of milk, he set the bun down on the seat beside him and covered the milk again, then pulled out of the parking lot and got back on the highway.
Not too much longer, he was driving around Taylor, which was the last turn he'd make before getting into Austin's suburbs. His truck was pointed at the capitol city and in half an hour he'd be at his destination.
Janice's alarm went off, and she banged at the snooze button futilely for a couple of seconds before giving up and raising her head. She hit the off button, sat up, then stood up. Her nightgown bunched up at the butt, and she gave it a tug to free herself. Yawning, she walked over to the window and looked outside. The day was clear, birds were singing, and she smacked her lips at it all. "Bleh".
The shower water was cold for way too long - she hadn't had time to get a plumber to look at it - but got nice and warm right before she had to get out and dry off. She luxuriated in it for a few seconds longer than she needed to, just for a moment's indulgence. Reality beckoned, though, and she stepped out and grabbed the towel on the rack.
Walking through her kitchen, she thought briefly about breakfast, but a glance at her watch showed that she had just enough time to get to work 5 minutes late if she left immediately. She walked into the garage and hopped in her car. It was still new enough that she still got a little thrill when she felt the leather rub against her legs. It was almost enough to make going to work worth it.
She stuck her key in the ignition, turned, and - nothing happened.
"No, don't do this to me," she muttered at the car. She turned the key again, but got the same nothing she had before. "Crap". She popped the hood and looked at the engine for several minutes before surrendering to the fact that she wouldn't know what to do even if she found the problem.
She went back inside and called her auto club service, which promised someone would be out there within the hour. She hung up, cursed at the fates for several seconds, then called her office and told them that car trouble would make her at least a couple of hours late. Her boss sounded just slightly threatening as she said, "Don't worry, Janice, I'm sure that we'll manage without you". Janice hung up and cursed her boss until she felt better.
She wrapped a sweater around herself and went outside to wait for the truck to arrive from the service. A neighbor's cat walked up to her, sniffed, then rubbed against her leg, purring contentedly. She sneezed and shoved the cat away. "Not my day".
The novel can be purchased for the Kindle on Amazon, in Print at Lulu or for the Book at Barnes & Noble or Smashwords

In 1976, former California Governor Ronald Reagan, whose regressive policies had been the focus of the presidential debate, is defeated by President Carl Albert, the accidental president.

Accidental President Carl Albert Re-electedAlbert, speaker of the House of Representatives in 1974, had been elevated into office when Nixon resigned with no vice-president to leave the presidency to.

Because in order to stop the investigations into Watergate, he tried to fire special prosecutor Archibald Cox, which required the Attorney General to actually do the firing. Attorney General Elliot Richardson refused to do so and subsequently resigned, as did his deputy, William Ruckelshaus. Solicitor General Robert Bork was the last person in the chain of command who could fire Cox, which he ultimately did. Nixon's attempt to muscle the Justice Department became known as the Saturday Night Massacre, when Bork resigned as well, the subsequent outrage forced Nixon's resignation.

In 1967, on this day the Wise Men Recommend Focusing on the Tunnel, Not the Light. War in French Indochina, later Vietnam, had been raging for almost twenty years. It had begun as campaigns against colonial domination and developed into a movement supporting the growth of Communism.

Wise Men Recommend Focusing on the Tunnel, Not the Light Determined to check the Domino Theory, the US first began to send military advisers in 1950 and surged US troops into involvement under the Kennedy Administration. With war still sitting at a stalemate in Korea, Washington approved only of the idea of a "limited war" rather than a bloody northward invasion like the one pushed by MacArthur ten years before.

As the years dragged on, more and more American soldiers came home under their flag, and the public began to question why troops were there in the first place, President Lyndon Johnson sought help in solving the war weariness. He called a meeting of "The Wise Men", a group of political and business leaders who had formed under Truman's administration to dictate American foreign policy. Theirs had been the plan of containment and anti-communism that had guided the early days of the Cold War. Originally powerful bankers, lawyers, and diplomats, the men considered themselves statesmen needed to advise elected officials.

LBJ called a conference on the first of November in which the Wise Men were briefed about the situation at hand. The notables included General Omar Bradley, General Maxwell Taylor, Justice Abe Fortas, and Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr., among many others. There was progress being made in Vietnam, but the battlefield casualties wore away at American public support. The Wise Men agreed that simple departure from Vietnam was unacceptable and the influence of communism needed to be held back. While some suggested a positive PR campaign, after much discussion and a brandy or two, they decided that a more aggressive method than simple reassurance was necessary.

The men dusted off old recommendations from the days of Wilson's war effort. While propaganda machines had changed over the last fifty years, many of the ideas still stood. LBJ and the War Department began to lead calls of an end to the attacks from North Vietnam, echoing speeches of the Minute Men of the 1910s denouncing the Kaiser. Rather than focusing on numbers, stories of war heroes were brought to the forefront of war news. The public reacted in a dower opinion, still skeptical of the war but not that American troops should be there.

When the Tet Offensive began January 31, 1968, LBJ became vindicated. The press carried stories of the overwhelming atrocities in the sudden Viet Cong attacks. Battles raged for two months, and the American public threw their support behind the troops with marches and calls for reinforcements. The second and third waves of attack began that summer, and the Americans regrouped, taking back much of the gained territory. While a tactical success initially, the Tet Offensive would prove a strategic loss, and the VC found themselves nearly devoid of supplies.

At the time of election, the American public seemed torn whether to turn toward the Republicans calling for an end to the war or the Democrats with their strategy of counterstrike to defend foreign allies. The polls came in very close with Hubert Humphrey narrowly defeating former Vice-President Richard Nixon. Within months of Humphrey taking office, the proposal for ceasefire would be announced, and a demilitarized zone along the 14th Parallel would be drawn separating the two countries akin to that in Korea.

South Vietnam would match its predecessor South Korea as a bastion of capitalism and industry. Under the Humphrey administration, a great deal of economic influence would flow to Vietnam, and its cheap factories would prove to outpace Japanese production of inexpensive goods in the 1990s. The tag "Made in Vietnam" is seemingly ubiquitous among high tech electronics today.

In 1917, on this day the British Foreign Secretary Arthur James Balfour expressed sympathy with Jewish Zionist aspirations in a secret letter addressed to Baron Walter Rothschild, a leader of the British Jewish community.

The Double CrossOther members of David Lloyd George's Cabinet strongly disagreed with the "view [in] favour [of] the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people", with Lord Curzon declaring that he "could not share the optimistic views held concerning the future of Palestine" and he feared that the Declaration "raised false expectations which could never be realised".

Edwin Montagu, Secretary of State for India and the only Jew in the Cabinet, regarded the Declaration as an anti-Semitic act because it would jeopardise the position of Jews throughout the world. He also believed that it broke promises made to the Arabs and violated the principle of self-determination.

Of course Baron Rothschild was fully aware that Britain was an unlikely sponsor of the Zionist initiative, considering that it was the first European country to expel its Jewish population in 1290, and that it did not grant full political emancipation to Jews until 1871. And so events developed, because in 1921, using his authority as Secretary of State for the Colonies, the British Minister Winston Churchill designated three-fourths of Palestine as a kingdom for Abdullah, the Hashemite prince who had fought alongside T. E. Lawrence1.

In 1913, on this day the fortieth Vice President of the United States Burt Lancaster was born at his parents' home on 209 East 106th Street, New York City.

Burt Lancaster BornAs a performer with USO during World War II, he not only launched a career in acting but also developed a profound anti-war conviction. Ironically, his most famous acting role would be 1st Sgt. Milton Warden in the 1953 blockbuster "From Here to Eternity", based on the events leading up to the attack on Pearl Harbour. Although he could hardly have imagined it at the time, the movie would not be his last association with America's armed conflicts in the Far East.

Later in the decade, he won praise for his willingness to play roles that went against his initial "tough guy" image. Initially dismissed as "Mr Muscles and Teeth", in the late 1950s Lancaster abandoned his "all-American" image and gradually came to be regarded as one of the best actors of his generation.

And yet changes in America would radically change the direction of his career. An opponent of McCarthyism and the Vietnam War, Lancaster would become a vocal supporter of liberal political causes, regularly speaking out with support for racial minorities. Ironically the 1964 movie "Seven Days in May" presented a dystopian vision of many of these changes which would be explored by his masterful portrayal of James Mattoon Scott, the General attempting to overtthrow an anti-war President and seize the White House. Four years later, Lancaster actively supported the presidential candidacy of antiwar Senator Eugene McCarthy of Minnesota, and frequently spoke on his behalf in the Democratic primaries.

Even though Richard Nixon prevailed against Hubert Humphrey in that general election, a combination of improbable events between 1968 to 1972 propelled the Senator into the White House.

  • Third Party Candidate George Wallace survived an assassination attempt to split the right-wing vote
  • The economy entered a sharp down-turn
  • Poor health prevented Humphrey from undermining McCarthy as the candidate of acid, amnesty and abortion
  • McCarthy matured as a candidate, taking policy more seriously and offering an intelligent critique of Nixon's foreign policy particularly on Vietnam
And perhaps the more seasoned Eugene McCarthy recognised the value of the softly spoken, but steely personae of Burt Lancaster, the man he chose to serve as his Vice President.

In 2010, on this day the Republican Party triumphed in the US midterm elections, seizing not only the forty-one seats required for a majority in the House, but unexpectedly winning the ten seats needed to capture the Senate.

Palin rides the Tea Party ExpressAccused by the Democrats of being the "party of no", not a single House Republican had voted for the stimulus package and not a single Republican in the House or Senate voted in favour of health reform.

Whats your view - will Obama get tea-bagged in November?But this electorally decisive outcome would soon force a change in Republican Strategy. What would emerge as the nucleus of the 2012 presidential campaign platform would be the manifesto of the "Tea Party" Movement, the "Commitment to America". And the question was whether Sarah Palin could after all ride the Tea Party Express straight into the White House, and afterwards, honour that commitment?

In 1967, on the fiftieth anniversary of the Bolshevik Revolution, a three-man Soviet crew orbits the moon.

Two of the astronauts read out parts from the concluding dialogue of H.G. Wells' Things to Come, which featured a lunar-orbit mission. (Wells, although not a Communist, was an avowed socialist and so "respectable " to the Soviet regime.)
LBJ Orders NASA to do what you have to doIn the U.S., there is near-panic at the USSR's achievement. America had launched the first artificial satellite, Mickey, on Nov. 24, 1954, as the culmination of the Minimal Orbital Unmanned Satellite of Earth (MOUSE) project under the leadership of Dr. S. Fred Singer and Wernher von Brain, but now it appears that the Soviets not only have caught up but may actually be positioning themselves to score a huge propaganda coup by placing the first man on the moon.

President Johnson orders NASA Administrator James E. Webb to "do what you have to " to beat the "Reds " to the moon. When Webb protests that accelerating the lunar program risks compromising NASA's rigid safety standards, to Johnson responds, "You boys bill space as the final frontier, don't you? Nobody ever settled a frontier by waiting till everything was set up all safe and tidy ".

In 2007, Cheryl Wittenauer of the Associated Press reported that "Elvis is Alive Museum closing, contents for auction on Ebay". Bill Beeny, the 81-year-old proprietor of The Elvis is Alive Museum, said he has placed his Elvis Presley memorabilia on Ebay.

Elvis LivesHis collection includes photographs, books, FBI files, replicas of the Cadillac the King drove and of the coffin and gravestone from his 1977 funeral, even a painted Elvis head. Beeny, a self-described "western Kentucky hillbilly' Baptist minister who wound up in Missouri 50 years ago, is selling the contents of his roadside attraction, a transformed coin-operated laundry about 90 kilometres west of St. Louis that he opened in 1990, to satisfy something else that drives him. "I have a burden to help people,' said Beeny, wearing the long sideburns and slick black hair of an Elvis aficionado. "Someone else can run, will run, the museum. No one in the whole county is doing the job I intend to do".

Beeny wants to put his energy into serving the needy in rapidly growing Warren County by providing child care, senior services, a food pantry and counselling for the addicted. Beeney said he'll miss Elvis "but life has its changes. You have to let go". He hopes someone will buy the collection and open a new museum dedicated to the theory Elvis lives - although the look and feel of Beeny's place could be hard to duplicate. Outside, a five-metre sign of a rhinestone-belted Elvis holding a microphone dominates an otherwise humdrum small-town landscape. A replica of Elvis's old Cadillac that hasn't been started for years is parked out front. Inside the small museum, signs in large, bold letters and exclamation points scream out, "FREE MUSEUM", "SEE FUNERAL ROOM", "10 REASONS WHY I BELIEVE ELVIS IS ALIVE!" and "DNA PROVES ELVIS IS ALIVE".

Beeny developed a patient for elderly patient care whilst nursing Presley in his final years. The King had lived above the Museum until his recent demise.

In 2002, Air Force Captains Jim Zeminksi and Al Corwin are broken by alien interrogation in the Pleiades, and tell everything that they know. Fortunately, they can only describe most of what Professor Thomas and Dr. Courtney have stolen, because they have no idea what the devices do. Back with the rest of their stolen vessels, Professor Thomas and Dr. Courtney are very concerned; they know that no human can withstand Pleiadean questioning. They decide that the two pilots have to be rescued.
In 1950, biologist W. Duncan Taylor III is born in Centerville, Texas. One of the pioneers of nanobiology, Taylor is credited with the creation of the molecular insulin pump for diabetics. He became interested in such a device after coming down with adult onset diabetes himself.
In 2000, Governor George W. Bush of Texas, Republican candidate for president, after evidence comes forward or more than one conviction for drunkenness in his past, tearfully pulls out of the race, leaving his running mate, Richard Cheney of Wyoming, as the party's candidate. Cheney is no match for Democrat Al Gore, who wins the election in a rout; Cheney only takes Wyoming, and Gore becomes the first president elected with 60 million votes.
In 1948, Republican Thomas Dewey is defeated by incumbent President John Nance Garner. The vote was so close that many papers had printed a headline, Dewey Defeats Garner before all the votes were tallied. President Garner enjoyed showing off these papers in rallies he held later on.
In 1890, scouts working for Colonel Beauregard T. Jackson find rebel Mormon Charles Brigman's camp and direct federal troops to it. In the hard fought Battle of Mercy Gully, 14 federal soldiers and 32 Mormon rebels are killed, with twice that number wounded on each side. Brigman's knee is shattered by a lucky shot from a soldier as the Latter-Day Saint flees the battle. In spite of the wound, the rebel's luck holds, and he escapes with a handful of his followers.
In 1920, Warren G. Harding, a 1st-term Republican Senator from Ohio, is roundly defeated by Democratic Governor James Cox, also of Ohio. Cox, however, doesn't live very long in office, and in 1922, his Vice-President, Franklin Roosevelt of New York, is sworn in to replace him. The young Roosevelt proves singularly ineffective at the office of the President, and doesn't even run for his own party's nomination in the 1924 election.
In 1880, one of the most narrow victories in American electoral history was won by Democratic candidate General Winfield Hancock against Republican John Sherman. From the beginning, Hancock was a polarizing force, reversing many of the hard-fought freedoms won by blacks during the Civil War. In Hancock's 4th month in office, an embittered soldier from Ohio shot him to death in Washington, D.C.
In 1852, Franklin Pierce, the last Democrat elected to the office, wins the presidency against a weak Socialist candidate, Winfield Scott. During his term, the Communist and Socialist parties begin easing out the old line Democrats and Whigs, and Pierce himself is replaced by Communist Walt Whitman in the 1856 election. From that point on, the Democrats become a weak 3rd party, and in 1884, they disband altogether.
In 1824, Andrew Jackson wins the popular vote for the presidency, but after a series of disputed votes, the House of Representatives votes to elect John Quincy Adams, instead. Outraged, Jackson leads an army of volunteers on Congress and forces them at gunpoint to reverse their decision and name him to the presidency. Once in office, Jackson spearheads a movement to eliminate the Electoral College and allow the people to elect the president directly.
In 1800, two days before the general election, Aaron Burr challenges fellow Democrat-Republican Thomas Jefferson to a duel. Jefferson agrees to meet him on the field of honor and is mortally wounded by Burr, whom he misses with his shot. The turmoil among the Democrat-Republicans throws the election to the Federalists, giving John Adams a second term.

On this day in 1941, the Red Army landing force at Hokkaido attacked the Japanese village of Nemuro.


In 1976, former Georgia governor James Earl "Jimmy" Carter defeats incumbent Gerald R. Ford in the U.S. presidential election. Carter's campaign pledge, "I'll never lie to you", is given considerable credit for his narrow victory. Another, even greater factor is his status as a political "outsider" in a year in which, with Americans still dying in combat in Cuba and Southeast Asia and Watergate a vivid recent memory, the Washington establishment, of which President and former Representative Ford is a longstanding member, is widely seen as corrupt.

US President
US President - Jimmy Carter
Jimmy Carter

On this day in 1962, Nikita Khrushchev was toppled in a coup d'etat led by deputy premier Alexei Kosygin and carried out with the support of dissident factions of the Red Army and the KGB.

Former Soviet defense minister and World War II hero Marshal Georgi Zhukov was called out of retirement to resume his old post and direct the defense of the Kremlin against a countercoup attempt by Brezhnev's supporters.

 - Georgi Zhukov
Georgi Zhukov

In 1976, President Nelson A. Rockefeller, who had succeeded to the office following the assassination of Gerald R. Ford by Lynette "Squeaky" Fromme in 1975, is elected to a full presidential term in his own right, narrowly defeating Democratic challenger James Earl Carter. Afterward, pundits speculate that if Gerald Ford had survived and been the GOP nominee, Carter might possibly have won. Ford's propensity for verbal blunders and his ties to the disgraced Nixon administration, they argue, would have given his presidential campaign added burdens which Rockefeller had not had.


In 1976, Sen. Edward Kennedy of Massachusetts defeats incumbent President Gerald R. Ford in the U.S. presidential election.

It has been a surprisingly close race, despite the burden Ford carries because of his pardon of Richard Nixon following the latter's resignation in the face of likely impeachment over the Watergate scandal and Ford's inept performance in the fall's presidential debates.


Ford is also hurt by the fact that supporters of ex-California Governor Ronald Reagan, who had nearly beaten him in the primaries, stay home in droves - particularly white evangelical Christians, who after Reagan's defeat had found themselves with no candidate for whom they were enthusiastic about voting.

In 1954's midterm elections, Republicans retain control of both houses of Congress. The freshman GOP class is heavily salted with supporters of Sen. Joseph McCarthy.
In 1963, Vietnamese President Ngo Dinh Diem and his younger brother, Ngo Dinh Nhu are assassinated by plotters led by General Duong Van "Big" Minh, overthrowing the Government of the Republic of Vietnam. The United States publicly expresses shock and disappointment that Diem had been killed. This qualified statement leads many independents to question the involvement of the United Statements government in the coup, if not the assassination. When Jack Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson are assassinated only twenty days later, matters are escalated to a new level.
In 1917, British Foreign Secretary Arthur James Balfour proclaimed support for Palestinian self-rule in a letter to Emir Faisal, a son of Sherif Hussein of Mecca. The letter stated the position, agreed at a British Cabinet meeting on October 31, 1917, that the British government supported nationalist plans for an Arab "national home" in Palestine, with the condition that nothing should be done which might prejudice the rights of Jewish kibbutzim there. The "Balfour Declaration" was later incorporated into the Sevres peace treaty with Turkey, Treaty of Versailles (pictured) and the Mandate for Palestine.
In 1941, retired Colonel T.E. Lawrence safely made the journey from Cloud Hill by motorbike. He was required at Number 10 Downing Street to receive orders from Winston Churchill. The Prime Minister was was under extreme pressure from Zionists because German death squads had assembled in Athens and were planning to execute a key phase of the Final Solution - in Palestine, the ancestral home of Jewry. The Mufti of Jerusalem was a Nazi sympathizer who had no problem with this scenario.
In 1976, Republican Governor Ronald Reagan defeated Democratic Governor Jimmy Carter in the presidential election. Governor Reagan of California had narrowly beaten President Gerald Ford for the Republican nomination by promising a return to integrity that those tainted by the Nixon Administration were unable to give. Reagan was unable to adequately deliver on those promises, and was defeated after one term in office.
In 1948, Republican Strom Thurmond of South Carolina defeated the American Bund candidate, Fritz Kuhn, and won the office of the presidency. Thurmond's administration was harsh towards minority ethnic groups in America, but not as harsh as the Bund would have been if it had assumed power. Its close ties to the New Reich in Europe were disturbing to all Americans who wanted a nation that still respected individual freedoms.
In 1963, Vietnamese President Ngo Dinh Diem and his younger brother, Ngo Dinh Nhu are murdered, overthrowing the Government of the Republic of Vietnam. That evening at Saigon international airport, the assassins board a plane to the south-western United States. They've got a tight schedule; in just twenty days time they have an appointment with two more brothers, the Kennedys. The incredible story of this double-hit brought to the cinema in the 1981 movie Nighthawks
In 1859, Aleksandr Vassilievich Samsonov was born on this day. After the Battle of Mukden in 1905 he accused General Paul von Rennenkampf of failing to assist him during the fighting and the two came to blows. Bitterness persisted between the pair until 1914 when they were given the joint command of the for the invasion of East Prussia. A fresh fight before the Battle of Tannenberg cost Tsarist Russia the campaign. The Russian First Army retreated in disarray into Willenberg, and the Second Army was completely destroyed. Over sixty German trains were required to transport the prisoners of war back into Imperial Germany.

November 1

In 1945, making the ill-fated decision to use Okinawa as a staging base a combined Allied naval armada, the largest ever assembled, prepared to commence the initial landings with an immediate objective of seizing the southern portion of the southernmost main Japanese island of Kyūshū.

If X-Day Had Not Failed
Part 1 Japan saved by a miracle
During the planning of the largest amphibious operation in human history Fleet Admiral William "Bull" Halsey, Jr. had notoriously said "Before we're through with them, the Japanese language will be spoken only in hell". Despite having a chillingly ruthless ring to this sinister statement actually there was a sound military reason for him saying it to motivate his uninformed sub-ordinates; because unlike D-Day eighteen months earlier, the invading army would have to defeat not only the available organized military forces of the Empire, but also by a fanatically hostile population. In this sense as well as the stubborn fight-to-the-bitter-end island race mentality the struggle could be better compared to Operation Sealion, Hitler's planned but never executed invasion of the British Isles, a violent to-the-death clash of two incompatible ways of life. In a tragic sense too bloody to contemplate, a failed attempt at Operation Sealion, had it ever have been executed, might well have better prepared the American homelands for the traumas of X-Day.

But whereas Ike had lucked out with the weather, Halsey and co. were left to curse their savage bad fortune. Because their forces were thrown into command chaos by a tsunami that struck the armada shortly after its departure from Okinawa. Needless to say, this enormous setback not only added to American hatred but at the same time re-inforced a sense of divine purpose for the Japanese defenders. But in a larger historical sense you might say that events were merely approaching the inevitable climax to a titanic struggle of rival cultures. This had first begun almost a century before with Admiral Matthew C. Perry's arrival in Tokyo Harbour when he had "opened" Japan, a euphemism for determined efforts to coerce Imperial Japan into bending to the will of the Western Allies.
To be continued..

Author's Note: in reality the planned operation was abandoned when Japan surrendered following the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The operation had two parts: Operation Olympic and Operation Coronet. Set to begin in October 1945, Operation Olympic was intended to capture the southern third of the southernmost main Japanese island, Kyūshū, with the recently captured island of Okinawa to be used as a staging area. Later, in spring 1946, Operation Coronet was the planned invasion of the Kantō Plain, near Tokyo, on the Japanese island of Honshū. Airbases on Kyūshū captured in Operation Olympic would allow land-based air support for Operation Coronet.

In 1800, on this day US President Thomas Jefferson becomes the first President of the United States to live in the Executive Mansion. Part of our Traitor to the King thread.

A Traitor to the King Part 2He had succeeded George Washington with a decisive win in the 1796 General election. Other national leaders had impressive revolutionary credentials, but Hamilton had been discredited by scandal and since his imprisonment in the Tower of London, John Adams was temperamentally unfit for executive office better suited to his tight-lipped contemporaries.

But unfortunately, there was a sharp downside because Jefferson's unchallenged easy ride into the Presidency fuelled his natural arrogance and therefore created its own problems. A Francophile by conviction, he worked tireless with Paris to avoid a quasi-war. He even ignored the XYZ Affair, but when that scandal finally broke, public opinion was moving towards a declaration of war upon their former partner in the revolutionary war.

In 1950, President Truman is assassinated by Puerto Rican nationalists at the Blair House.

Assassination of President TrumanTruman had been staying at the less-secure Blair House because of remodeling at the White House. Because two years before he had ordered a controversial addition to the exterior of the White House: a second-floor balcony in the south portico that came to be known as the "Truman Balcony".

However, Puerto Ricans had gotten his schedule from a sympathizer on the staff there. Oscar Collazo and Griselio Torresola killed Truman and also White House Police officer Leslie Coffelt.

Vice-President Alben Barkley assumed the office of President, and ordered the F.B.I. to begin a series of raids to eradicate the nationalists in Puerto Rico. The island possession of the U.S. was a hotspot of political turmoil until it finally gained its independence in 1981.

In 1994, George Lucas, after much urging from his mentor Francis Ford Coppola, begins filming his second Star Wars trilogy, set after the Rebellion's triumphant victory at Endor in Return of the Jedi.

Second Star Wars TrilogyThis trilogy follows the marriage of Han Solo & Princess Leia, the Rebellion's efforts to reconstruct the Old Republic, and Luke Skywalker's new school for Jedi.

With the release of the 3rd film in this installment, 2003's Jedi Child, Lucas has announced that he will make yet another trilogy, this time telling the back story of Darth Vader and the fall of the Republic. Fans await breathlessly.

In 1214, on this day forces loyal to Trapezuntian emperor Alexios I (pictured) lifted the Siege of Sinope.

Komnenos Brothers lift the Siege of SinopeThe Seljuq Turks under their Sultan, Kaykaus I Sinope had attempted to seize this important port city on the Black Sea coast of modern Turkey, at the time held by the Empire of Trebizond, one of the Byzantine Greek successor states formed after the Fourth Crusade.

The hard fought victory was in no part due to the individual heroics of David Komnenos [1], Alexios' younger brother and co-founder of the Trapezuntian empire. Because much was at stake; defeat would have meant that the small Trapezuntian state would be cut off from overland contact with the metropolitan Byzantine lands of the Empire of Nicaea in western Asia Minor.

But instead, Alexios was given a legitimate claim to be Byzantine emperor (he was the eldest son of Manuel Komnenos and of Rusudan, daughter of George III of Georgia and thus a grandson of the Byzantine Emperor Andronikos I). Because in April 1204, shortly before the fall of Constantinople to the Fourth Crusade, the 22-year-old Alexios had occupied Trebizond with the aid of a Georgian contingent provided by his aunt, Queen Tamar of Georgia. Ten years later, he was all set for a triumphant return.

In 1956, hours after Khrushchev's resignation the Praesidium re-assembled to discuss the developing crisis in Eastern Europe.

Conjoined Crisis Part 9
Suez Canal runs through the Praesidium [1]
Of course the preferred approach of the anti-party group was to find a resolution prior to appointing a new First Secretary. Because options varied from military crackdown through to a formula under which the members of the Warsaw Pact could find their own path to socialism.

As the Great Powers had always intended, the United Nations had been very quiet on the crisis, recognizing that the events were occurring in the Soviet Union's sphere of influence. But of course the same was not true of the situation in the Suez Canal. And at this critical junction, Egyptian President Abdul Gamal Nasser appealed to the Soviet Union in advance of the expected assault from Israel and France. In non-aligned parts of the globe, the Conjoined Crisis represented a fresh opportunity for a new world order, but it remained to be seen whether the Egyptians would be afforded the same degree of sovereignty as their comrades behind the Iron Curtain. An article from the Conjoined Crisis thread.

In 1956, on behalf of the United States, the Brazilian Ambassador to the United Nations João Carlos Muniz presented a ceasefire propsal which called for the immediate dispatch of a large peacekeeping force to the Suez Canal.

Brazil solves the Suez Canal CrisisOf course it would have been inappropriate for Ambassador Henry Cabot Lodge to present the proposal himself, and in selecting a suitable proxy, he had seriously considered approaching his Canadian equivalent, the Secretary of State for External Affairs Lester B. "Mike" Pearson (pictured). Because unlike other Commonwealth countries such as Australia and New Zealand, Canada had abstained, rather than voted against the ceasefire proposal. Moreover, Pearson was of course a more seasoned professonal than Muniz, having been in post since 1948, but Lodge wanted to avoid any hint of imperialism. He rightly judged that the proposal would be more compelling if it originated from a non-aligned, southern hemisphere nation.

But it proved to be a moot point because the proposal was passed so overwhelmingly that Canadian sponsorship would have sufficed. A year later, Muniz1 received a Nobel Peace Prize; the awarding committee celebrated Suez as "a victory for the UN and for the man who contributed more than anyone else to save the world at that time". A few months afterwards, the Canadian electors threw Pearson out of office anyway.

Robbed of the opportunity for an illuminating, but nevertheless superficial moment of history, Pearson was unable to seize the leadership of the Liberal Party. Perhaps it was for the best and mainstream partisan leadership would have been a bad career choice, because Pearson was later chosen for the much more suitable role of UN Secretary General. In this role, he would challenge Lyndon Baines Johnson during the Gulf of Tonkin Crisis, playing a hugely significant role in preventing the escalation of that tragic conflict.
A blog articles from our Canadian Heroes thread.

In 1784, on this day Benjamin Franklin was named President of Congress Assembled.

Benjamin Franklin Named President of Congress AssembledAfter great success winning favor in the French Court for the young United States of America and determining a treaty with Sweden without ever having visited the country, Franklin misspoke and ended his ambassadorial career. He had been invited, along with astronomer Bailly, physician Guillotine, and chemist Lavoisier, to participate in a royal commission to investigate the "animal magnetism" of Charles d'Eslon based upon the work of Franz Mesmer. Franklin let slip one of his famous lewd comments, this one directed about the possibility of His Majesty Louis XVI attempting to abscond the science for his romantic pursuits, and his royal favor disappeared. Louis said, "Monsieur, vous etes de finition," and Franklin was sent back to America. His work had been finished, however, and Congress welcomed him despite the office of Ambassador to France being eliminated.

Franklin soon found himself in politics at home, hoping to be elected to the Executive Council of Pennsylvania, but instead named as a representative to the Continental Congress since John Dickinson seemed firmly rooted in the position. Soon after arriving in Congress, fellow Pennsylvanian Thomas Mifflin announced his resignation as President effective October 31. Early polls looked to have Virginian Richard Henry Lee elected to fill the role, but he made known that matters at home would not allow him to sit and would only act as signatory on papers forwarded from his secretary. Franklin wrote of being upset by the disinterest in national union and volunteered himself, almost immediately being sworn in as delegates were pleased to have someone take responsibility.

His initial steps were to give the Continental Congress a clout of more than a place for states to bicker. Finding a great ally in young James Madison of Virginia, Franklin was able to navigate the differing delegates' opinions by working upon bridges Madison had already built while creating the Northwest Territory in 1783, which required ceding lands to Congress from overlapping claims by Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Connecticut. Franklin wanted to do more, but Congress lacked the ability to tax and was already in horrid debt from the war with requests for money from the states met with polite refusal. Though unable to tax, Franklin decided he would find a way for the government to make its money, or as he wrote, "earn our keep".

After the move to Federal Hall in New York City, Franklin's first project was the expansion of the United States Postal Service. Working with Postmaster General and fellow Philadelphian Ebenezer Hazard, Franklin devised an elegant system of couriers to transport mail over roads and waterways. He was able to secure legislation ratified by the states that allowed for free travel to any American citizen across state lines, thus stimulating commerce. Impeccable service and payment on stamps kept the Congress afloat, but its debts were still paralyzing. Franklin's voiced frustration over the lack of money, brought him to the attention of Alexander Hamilton, who had resigned from Congress in 1782 after his own pursuits of a bill to allow Congress to set 5% duties was refused by the states.

Hamilton had recently founded the bank of New York, and he met with Franklin proposing a central bank for the whole of the United States. Franklin confirmed the idea, but others, especially Thomas Jefferson, who had taken up Madison's position in the Continental Congress, spoke out against the notion of such a move as illegal. Further issues such as the deplorable treaty created by John Jay with the Spanish and reports from George Washington's tour of the Northwest finding a grave need for American surveying and forts against British, Spanish, and Indian encroachment led Franklin to call for a convention in early 1786 to sort out the many issues of the Articles of Confederation.

While some whispered that Franklin was attempting to create a wholly new constitution, the convention only reinvigorated the Articles and established a new system of strong confederation for the United States. George Washington was convinced to participate to provide commentary on the need for an American army beyond the single regiment that guarded the Northwest Territory. His clout enabled many of the delegates to agree, and Madison worked as a bridge between the vain opinions of Thomas Jefferson (who demanded guarantee of personal rights) and Alexander Hamilton (who demanded a central government who could tax to protect and improve itself).

After months of arguing, the convention assembled a variety of new bills from the Articles revolutionizing the position of federal government. Congress was to have delegates each with the power to propose laws based upon representation of population, but each state was given two final votes to allow for the splitting of opinion while still giving small states a staunch voice. A small, permanent executive office would keep the business of government running while Congress was out of session: maintaining an army in the territories (American defense would still be largely militias) as well as a navy to defend American interests, a national bank (which would settle the debt issues that were causing riots in Massachusetts as well as promote funding for Congress through allocating dues to be paid by states based upon population and defense requirements), and the Postal Service, which would spur heavy investment in canals and roadways into the new territories, to be repaid as turnpikes. A Supreme Court would decide final disagreements between the states, whose laws would be left largely to themselves, Jeffersonian ideals were guaranteed under a Bill of Rights. Further Jefferson/Hamilton compromise came with the moving of the capital to a new location in the South, where Washington suggested along the Potomac, though Franklin convinced him to found Federal City as westward as possible to spur expansion, finally deciding on a point beside Fort Cumberland, MD, where Washington had served in the French and Indian War.

The rewritten Articles proved a solidifying effect on the United States. After smoothing the transition to his successor Washington, Franklin retired from his presidential office and returned to Philadelphia, dying soon after as a national hero. Washington affirmed the military power of the United States and dispatched a successful naval campaign defeating the Barbary pirates. Franklin's expansionism was well met as the construction of Washington, D.C., prompted canal-building around the Great Falls on the Potomac and opened the Washington Road into Ohio.

After twenty years of growth and varying peace in attempts to sort out the overlapping territorial claims with Spain and Britain, the Napoleonic Wars seemed to threaten spilling over into the United States. Presidents Jefferson and Madison attempted to stave off war with Embargo Acts, but the limitations of federal power over trade stymied their abilities to control American shipping beyond suggestions and curtailing of the navy. British preying on American ships eventually started war in 1811, but after the impressive defeat of British raiders at the Battle of Washington, the stalemate turned to a favorable treaty removing British forces from illegal forts and helping America expand.

Expansionism, however, brought up the question of slavery in the territories. Congress would eventually end the slave trade and ban slavery in northern, then all, territories, but the South was legally protected from "Northern aggression" until unpopularity and economic forces gradually wiped out slavery over the course of the 1870s. Expansionism would run rampant as Manifest Destiny was completed with the end of the frontier in the 1890s, though further colonial expansion into the Philippines, Hawaii, and Caribbean would fall short of expectations. A new boom would come with the economy after the Great War, but the resulting crash from unfounded investments would wipe out the antiquated American banking system and shatter the United States as the underfunded federal government collapsed with the strain. States would fall into groups, "Balkanizing" the nation into seventeen parts following their own social ideals.

In 2007, Robbie Taylor wrote the first words.of his novel Before/After ~ The light was strong this morning. Kevin looked up at the sun, holding his hand over his head to shade his eyes, and smiled. It was just cool enough to be comfortable without a jacket, a typical winter day in Texas.

Installment One of Before/AfterKevin walked over to his truck, a beat-up old '98 Chevy, and hopped inside. He had a good drive ahead of him today - Austin was about 100 miles away - and he was ready to get started. Kevin's truck, which he sometimes called The Love Boat, had a couple of jiffy may-pop tires on the passenger side, and the electrical system might as well be driven by a hamster on a wheel, but he figured it could make it to Austin.

He started the truck, let it warm up - it wouldn't go in reverse unless he let it warm up - and then pulled out of his dirt driveway. He had put some food and water outside for the dog, which was now barking and wagging its tail at him from the other side of the fence. He waved at it and then rolled down to the farm road. A couple of miles down that was the big highway, and down that open road was Austin and the promise of the big city.

He stopped at the railroad tracks while a train passed by, and turned on the radio. There was some stupid morning show on his usual channel, so he flipped to the news on NPR. Usual bad politicians, war troubles, economic difficulties, then a heart-warming story of human will overcoming adversity - typical news. He whistled while he listened to it, not really paying attention.

Message from Robbie Taylor - Hit the Facebook Like button on the Amazon page to let me know you've done it, and if Before/After hits the top 1000, I will randomly choose one of you to send an autographed, personalized print copy of the book.When the train went by, he proceeded on down to the highway. He stopped at the little convenience store at the corner of the highway to gas up and grab a snack. With the truck's tank filled and his stomach following suit as he munched on a danish, he drove onto the highway and pointed his truck north.

He hadn't driven on the highway for some time because of his tires, but he felt pretty good about them today. The truck shimmied a little because the wheels were unevenly filled, but it wasn't so bad. The vibration of the steering wheel in his hands just helped keep him awake.

Kevin usually got a little sleepy on long drives, but he felt very energetic today. The traffic thinned out as he left town and headed towards the hill country. There were a bunch of little towns between Bryan and Austin, but it was going to be a lonely drive. Fortunately, there was only a 30-mile stretch of bad radio between when Bryan's stations faded out and Austin's stations could be picked up, so he had that for company.

He almost wished he'd brought his dog, but the little guy didn't like long car rides, and Kevin didn't feel like cleaning up his truck today. He felt his cell phone buzz against his waist, and heard his own voice coming from it; "Kevin, your cell phone is ringing. Kevin, your cell phone is ringing. Kevin, pick up your phone!" He ignored it. It was probably just work, wondering where he was. He wasn't going to worry about that, today, either.
The novel can be purchased for the Kindle on Amazon, in Print at Lulu or for the Book at Barnes & Noble or Smashwords.

In 1948, Major Glenn Miller flew out of Templehof Airport the morning after a special Halloween Concert in which his Army Air Force Band had performed live Jazz Music for the US Troops that had been stationed in Berlin ever since the Soviet Blockade had begun in June.

All that JazzIt was the most dangerous journey the Band had taken since the fateful flight to Paris in December 1944. Ordered by General Eisenhower to leave RAF Twinwood Farm "on or about the 15th", an unfortunate choice of timing combined with the actions of their rookie pilot who had misread the instruments of their single-engine Noorduyn Norseman bush plane.

During their flight over the English Channel, they had very nearly wandered into a jettison zone where no less than one hundred and thirty-eight Lancaster bombers were about to release approximately one hundred thousand incendiaries in a designated area before landing. Fortunately, tragedy was averted by Air Force navigator Fred Shaw who spotted the small, single-engined monoplane in the path of the bombers.

The true nature of the flight to Paris would later emerge. Because Miller (who was a fluent German speaker) had been enlisted by Eisenhower to covertly attempt to convince some German officers to end the war early.

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