In 1957, when Sputnik 2 left Earth, the Soviet spacecraft was the first vessel designed by humans carrying a living being into the universe. Aboard was the dog Laika, out there to test, if a complex organism would actually be able to survive in zero gravity for a longer period.
This post was written by Dirk Puehl the highly recommended author of #onthisday #history Google+ posts.
Space Age and Dog Years"Work with animals is a source of suffering to all of us. We treat them like babies who cannot speak. The more time passes, the more I'm sorry about it. We shouldn't have done it.. We did not learn enough from this mission to justify the death of the dog" (Oleg Georgovitch Gazenko, one of the Soviet animals in space programme, 1998).
Laika allegedly died after a few hours in, not from the state of weightlessness but of stress and noise and heat in the capsule. Since Sputnik 2 burned up during the re-entry into Earth's atmosphere, the actual fate of Laika remained officially unclear.
Three years later the Soviet Union started the next attempt to bring something living into space.. and back again. The two dogs Belka and Strelka were sent out in Sputnik 5 and everything seemed to work as expected, from the start of the craft in the Baikonur Cosmodrome until Sputnik V's first orbit. Then the life signs of the two dogs suddenly disappeared from Baikonur's measuring devices - from normal to simply gone in an instant.
Even though Sputnik 5 managed a soft landing, necessary for the planned manned space flights, the craft's hatch was open and everything inside destroyed. No clue about the two dogs could be found. Next year's plan to send a man into space had to be postponed for an indefinite time. The next unmanned flights, Soviet as well as those launched by the US, experienced serious setbacks, once they penetrated Earth's atmosphere. In 1961, Shepard reported three comet-like apparitions, accompanying him on his suborbital flight, a failure of his instruments after roughly 5 minutes and the apparitions following him until a height of roughly 30.000 feet.
The phenomenon continued to be visible, on clear nights even with bare eyes, while almost every attempt, Soviet, US, European, Japanese, Chinese and Indian, to launch something into space either inexplicably failed as soon as the object left Earth's atmosphere or downright exploded. The reporting of seeing the three comets ceased in 1985, as sudden as it began in 1960 and international space programmes slowly began to ramp up in the early 1990s again.
In 1902, on this day the steamship carrying nineteen year old Benito Mussolini docked at Ellis Island in Upper New York Bay.
Rise of Il DuceBorn in Dovia di Predappio, a small town in the province of Forli in Emilia-Romagna, he had emigrated from his native Italy in order to seek work and also to avoid military service. However he was unable to find a permanent job in New York and drifted into the criminal underclass of Little Italy.
Over many years he established a reputation for a unique boldness that eventually brought him to the attention of organized crime bosses. And by the 1930s, he had become the minor figure known as "Il Duce" - his rise restricted only by his non-Sicilian roots.
In 1964, on this day the emergence of damning photographic evidence that supported the continuing media revelations about his alleged affair with sister-in-law Jacky destroyed Robert Kennedy's electoral support and New Yorkers overwhelmingly re-elected the incumbent Republican Senator Kenneth Keating.
Article written by Ed & Amnah KhanThe Lancelot and Guinevere style tryst between the lovers signalled the bitter end of Camelot but in truth Kennedy had consistently polled two million less votes than Johnson and his prospects for election were always far from certain.
Fearing the emergence of a powerful new rival, Johnson had not taken any chances, allowing the "Jackiegate" scandal to leak to anti-Kennedy reporters in Boston, Washington and New York.
Of course Kennedy had no one to blame but himself. It was his own fear of this career-destroying revelation that was the sinister motive behind his decisions as US Attorney General that compromised the Warren Commission.
In 2011, following days of intense speculation in the media, US President Barack Obama confirmed that as a courtesy to Chinese Investors, an Independent Economics Professor from Beijing University who be permitted to attend the United States Congress Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction in an observer-only capacity.
Watch the Advert from "Citizens Against Government Waste"
Chinese ProfessorIn a barely disguised reference to the critical comments of Mark Steyn, Obama indicated that continued media speculation was unhelpful, causing further turmoil in the money markets.
In a prime time interview, the controversial book author had restated a series of disputed facts from his book "After America - Get Ready for Armageddon". The key allegation was that the Federal Government was spending huge "black budget" sums on underground shelters to protect the ruling elite from the expected eruption of the Yellowstone Park Supervolcano expected during 20121.
In 1939, on this day French president Eduoard Daladier (pictured) met with a delegation of Martian envoys near Paris to witness a demonstration of a directed energy weapon which the chief envoy said would enable France and its allies to better defend themselves against possible future attack by Germany.
This weapon, nicknamed a "heat ray" by an American newspaper correspondent who was covering the demonstration for the Chicago Tribune, was capable of vaporizing even the hardest targets in the blink of an eye; in its first test firing on Earth soil it disintegrated more than a dozen heavy tanks in barely two seconds.
Part Three of Parley Movie footage of the test firing was duly sent to the British embassy in Paris, which in turn dispatched it to the Ministry of Defence offices in London for further review.A new thread by Chris Oakley
One British leader who was especially fascinated by the heat ray demonstration film was ex-Lord of the Admiralty Winston Churchill. Churchll, a fervent opponent of the Nazis from the day Hitler first came into power in 1933, saw the weapon as a lethally effective countermeasure to the Third Reich's constantly expanding bomber force and submarine fleet. By the spring of 1939 Churchill would be personally overseeing the construction of nearly a hundred heat ray projectors in Great Britain, twenty-five of them lined up along the coast of the Straits of Dover to deter the Germans from mounting an invasion attempt.
In 1956, on this day the commander of the
revolutionary armed forced of Hungary Colonel Pál Maléter (pictured) escapes from Tököl, near Budapest after Soviet officers attempt to illegally detain him during negotiations.
Conjoined Crisis Part 4
Pál Maléter escapesHe returns to Budapest where the leaders of the Hungarian Uprising are locked in a time-wasting argument about whether to fight or flee. He exhorts them to fight, but his fatalism is all too apparent and his impassioned speech only serves to dissuade the undecided leaders.
Imre Nagy requests refuge at Harmincad utca 6, the address of the British Embassy in Budapest. Meanwhile his colleagues, led by Maléter hatch an audacious escape plot into mines which date back to the old Empire and extend across the border into Czechoslovakia. From their, they form a Hungarian Resistance Movement based upon the military doctrines of the Cursed Polish Soldiers who continued to fight Soviet rule well into the 1950s. Via Nagy in the British Embassy, they broadcast appeals to the International Community for assistance. On the eve of the Presidential election, Adlai Stevenson pledges his support and General Eisenhower is left with a moral dilemma. An article from the Conjoined Crisis thread.
In 1933, on this day the forty first President of the United States Michael Stanley Dukakis was born to Greek immigrants of partly Vlach origin in Brookline, Massachusetts.
41st President of the United States
January 20, 1989 - 1993Prior to being president he was the 65th and 67th governor of Massachusetts. He was born to Greek immigrants of partly Vlach origin in Brookline, Massachusetts, the same town as John F. Kennedy, and was the longest serving governor in Massachusetts' history. He was the first Greek American president and second Greek American governor in U.S. history after Spiro Agnew.
1988 Presidential Election
Using the phenomenon termed the "Massachusetts Miracle" to promote his campaign, Dukakis sought the Democratic Party nomination for President of the United States in the 1988 elections, prevailing over a primary field which included Jesse Jackson, Dick Gephardt, Gary Hart, and Al Gore, among others. Dukakis' success at the primary level has been largely attributed to John Sasso, his campaign manager. Sasso, however, was among two aides dismissed (Paul Tully was the other one) when a video showing plagiarism by rival candidate Joe Biden (D-Delaware) was made public and an embarrassed Biden was forced to withdraw from the race. This situation got uglier when Tully implied that it was Dick Gephardt's campaign (as opposed to Dukakis' campaign) that actually passed along the damaging information on Biden.
Despite the claims that Dukakis always "turned the other cheek", he did run a particularly effective commercial against rival Dick Gephardt that featured a tumbler doing somersaults while the announcer said, "Dick Gephardt has been flip-flopping over the issues". Dukakis finished third in the Iowa caucuses and then became the first candidate to ever win a contested New Hampshire primary by more than 10 points, with Gephardt finishing second. Dukakis finished first in Minnesota and second in South Dakota before winning five states on March 8, 1988, the "Super Tuesday" primaries. As his competition continued to fade, Dukakis wound up with a seven-week stretch of one-on-one elections between himself and civil rights leader Jesse Jackson. Dukakis lost the Michigan caucus to Jackson but then prevailed by margins of two to one in Wisconsin, New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, California, and New Jersey, clinching the nomination on June 7, 1988.
Part 1 of a new article from Althistory WikiaTouching on his immigrant roots, Dukakis used Neil Diamond's ode to immigrants, "America", as the theme song for his campaign. Famed composer John Williams wrote "Fanfare for Michael Dukakis" in 1988 at the request of Dukakis' father-in-law, Harry Ellis Dickson. The piece was premiered under the baton of Dickson (then the Associated Conductor of the Boston Pops) at that year's Democratic National Convention in Atlanta. During the general election campaign, Vice President George H. W. Bush, the Republican nominee, criticized Dukakis for his traditionally liberal positions on many issues. These included Dukakis' statement during the primary season that he was "a card-carrying member of" the American Civil Liberties Union, his veto of legislation requiring public school teachers to lead pupils in the Pledge of Allegiance, and his opposition to the resumption of capital punishment in the United States.
Dukakis had trouble with the personality that he projected to the voting public. His reserved and stoic nature was easily interpreted to be a lack of passion (which went against the ethnic stereotype of his Greek American heritage). Dukakis was often referred to as "Zorba the Clerk". Nevertheless, Dukakis is considered to have done well in the first presidential debate with George Bush. In the second debate, Dukakis had been suffering from the flu and spent quite a bit of the day in bed. His performance was poor and played to his reputation as being cold.
During the campaign, Dukakis' mental health became an issue when he refused to release his full medical history and there were, according to The New York Times, "persistent suggestions" that he had undergone psychiatric treatment in the past. The issue even caused then-President Ronald Reagan, when asked whether the Democratic Presidential nominee should make his medical records public, to quip with a grin: "Look, I'm not going to pick on an invalid". Twenty minutes later, Reagan stated that he "attempted to make a joke in response to a question" and that "I think I was kidding, but I don't think I should have said what I said". Reagan continued, "I do believe that the medical history of a President is something that people have a right to know, and I speak from personal experience". Dr. Gerald R. Plotkin, Dukakis' physician since 1970, stated that "[Dukakis] has had no psychological symptoms, complaints or treatment". Story continues
In 644 (65 AH), on this day Caliph Omar was stabbed five times. The Muslim Caliphate had grown by leaps since its creation twelve years before at the Prophet's death. Omar, a Muhajir (Emigrant), had helped create the political structure after the funeral of Muhammad.
Caliph Omar Stabbed Five Times The Ansar (native helpers) planned to control the Muslim world themselves rather than letting foreigners rule, but Omar's politicking brought about disputes between the tribes, sparking scapegoatism and civil war that led to strong unification under the Caliph Abu Bakr. His reign would be two short years, during which Omar would serve as an adviser, recommending the writing of the Quran to ensure battled did not kill all memorizers of the word.
A new story by Jeff ProvineIn 634, Omar, soon to become known as Farooq the Great, was selected as the caliph to succeed Abu Bakr. He was a capable but very strict ruler, using harsh punishment for those refusing to support him. While many of political importance did not agree with him, they at least acknowledged with his skills as a legislator and reformer. Omar directed the growing nation through the famines and plagues of 638-9, expelled the Christians and Jews, and systematically conquered the Sassanid Empire. His brutality during the conquest and treatment of slaves afterward resulted in a new resurgence of distaste for the caliph.
Using propaganda for legitimacy, the Persians planned assassination as retaliation. In 644, Omar went for his Hajj to Mecca upon prophecies of never again seeing Mount Arafat and being hit with a rock during the ritual of Stoning the Devil. On November 3, Abu Lulu, who had faced the caliph due to tax issues, attacked with a knife, stabbing five times. He made for a sixth stab, but Omar's hand caught the blade and wrung it out of Abu Lulu's grip with much damage to his fingers. The assassin made to escape, but he was reportedly ripped apart by the hands of the crowd.
Over the next week, Omar would regain his strength. Seeing the damage done by his political enemies, he went on a new program of propaganda, investigation, exile, and execution to secure his place. Many of his allies disapproved of his position in what many considered a coup d'?tat against the Prophet's daughter Fatima. Through spies and torture, Omar determined who was truly loyal, and those that disagreed with his position were eliminated. Civil war broke out as a coup was attempted against him, but Omar was able to secure overwhelming support from the Bedouin tribes.
Omar the One-handed would spend the last of his reign planning further expansion. While he did not live to see his plans come to fruition, he did lay the groundwork for the conquest of the Byzantine Romans in 678 under the fourth caliph. Islam came to rule the center of the world, controlling vast trade routes and influencing cultures in every direction. While Viking pirates gave the Caliphate great trouble through the next centuries, the eventual religious conquest of Scandinavia would give great seafaring and exploration to the Muslim world. Additional military skills would be brought in upon the proselytization of much of the Mongol Horde.
Upon the discovery of the New World across the western Ocean, the Caliphate would come into a new golden age funded by gold secured in conquest from the natives. Muslim firearms and armor proved overwhelming to sun-worshiping, human sacrificing Inca and Mayans who wielded obsidian blades. The infidels faced plagues that served as a proving force that God was on the side of conquest. Using the wealth to invest in art and science, the Caliphate would spend the second millennium conquering eastward, unifying the world under Allah at Mecca. While pockets of dissidence are known to spring forth against the Caliph, they have always been dealt with in the manner that Omar would find most expedient.
In 1992, in a tightly contested three-way race, Reform Party candidate Ross Perot defeated incumbent Republican president George H.W. Bush and Democratic nominee Bill Clinton, becoming the 42nd President of the United States of America, as well as the first third party candidate to ever win a presidential election in the United States
President PerotUpon his swearing-in on January 20, 1993, Perot put forth measures to help the nation balance its federal budget, after the White House had been running record deficits for many years. In 1994, these efforts paid off, as the government recorded its first budget surplus since 1970, and the national debt began to shrink. Analysts project that the United States will have paid off all of its national debt by 2012, thanks in no small part to the Perot administration.
A new article from Althistory WikiaWhile the U.S. government was able to free itself of its dependence on other nations, the economic boom of the 90s gave way to a prosperous nation, thanks to the influence of the internet in job creation. As the U.S. felt a tidal wave of new jobs coming in, Perot's protectionist policies also recovered many jobs that had been previously outsourced by corporations.
Contrast to the 1992 election in which Perot won only 37 percent of the popular vote, his moderate appeal and successful policies won him 48 percent of the vote in the 1996 re-election against Republican candidate Bob Dole and Democratic candidate Al Gore, safely carrying him to a second term that oversaw stronger economic expansion than ever before. Perot's firm opposition to the Defense of Marriage Act and various anti-abortion legislature that reached his desk won the support of many Democrats. His popularity was propelled even further by the successful elimination of known terrorist Osama bin Laden, who Perot was alerted of before a planned, devastating attack on the World Trade Center.
Perot left office on January 20, 2001 with job approval exceeding 70 percent in several polls. He was succeeded by Joe Biden, a Democrat who continued the trend of fiscal responsbility in the government, carrying out Perot's legacy as a reform candidate.
In 1964, on this day John F. Kennedy was re-elected President of the United States. On the one hand, he accomplished the task of narrow passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act and the eventual passage of the 1966 Voting Rights Act, after much delay and compromise. But the White House soon found itself under fire when in 1964, the People's Republic of China detonated its first Atomic Bomb.
What if JFK Had Survived Dallas?These criticisms become even greater when the Kennedy, against the advice of his military advisors and his Secretary of State Robert MacNamara, orders the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Vietnam, during the lame duck year of 1967.
A new story by Jose Ricardo G. BondocBy 1968, the situation becomes even more grim for the Democrats. With the Soviets moving troops into Czechoslavakia, Viet Cong troops overrunning the capital of Saigon and the Chinese explosion of an H-Bomb, many Republicans and even some moderate Democrats are beginning to question whether the Kennedy administration's foreign policy should be considered a failure.
Based on these concerns, and the disillusionment many white Southerners due to the Civil Rights legislation of the administration, Governor Ronald Reagan of California is elected President and Senator Robert Dole is elected Vice-President in 1968. Upon his inauguration, Reagan seeks to assure the nation stating, "It is morning in America!". The national sense of pride is further boosted that summer with the launch of Apollo 11. Yet the situation returns to situation of grim struggle when in 1970, backed by Vietnamese and Chinese forces, Communist forces begin attacks against the Thai military government. Based on these attacks, Reagan orders 50,000 troops into Thailand in order to back the military government in the region. The situation in Asia begins to escalate even further when Reagan blocks the PRC's entrance into the United Nations.Winning by a further landslide in 1972, Ronald Reagan is swept back into the White House.
By the 1976, Dole is running for the Presidency. As such it is not entirely unexpected that in the need for a clear victory against in the Thai Communist forces, Reagan orders the bombing of Cambodia. Although Democrats are apt to protest the action, yet they are hampered by the 1974 revelations of extramarrital affairs of John F. Kennedy during his administration. Yet the darkest element of the situation is the further chilling of relations with China as Mao dies.
By 1978 the Dole adminstration has been in office for over a year, when a military coup d'etat takes over the nation of Thailand, ending the U.S. backed democratic coalition.
By 1979, the Dole administration is faced with even greater foreign policy crises. In Iran the U.S. embassy is taken over by followers of the Ayatollah Khomeini, angered by the Reagan/Dole administration's support of the Shah of Iran. The region is further inflamed by the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. In China, the situation nearly explodes as Chinese forces lay claim to Taiwan, causing the Taiwan Straits Crisis.
With this, the Democrats are elected back into the White House under Eugene McCarthy and Walter Mondale in 1980, promising peace in Southeast Asia and security against the now revived "Communist menace".
In 2006, following the revelation that whilst his wife Elizabeth was undertaking chemotherapy he had fathered a child out of wedlock, the now disgraced former "Golden Boy" John Edwards tearfully resigned the Vice Presidency on this day, admitting in trademark syrup-laden southern drawl that given the opportunity, he committed sin "every day".
Watch the Youtube Clip
Chilling OutHis boss John Kerry has entertained doubts about Edward's sincerity even before the VP selection process had ended. Because Kerry talked with several potential picks, including Gephardt and Edwards. He was comfortable after his conversations with Gephardt, but even queasier about Edwards after they met.
Edwards told ABC News that he met secretly with former lover Rielle Hunter as recently as last month in a California hotel room at her request because "she was having some trouble, she just wanted to talk".Because Edwards had told Kerry he was going to share a story with him that he'd never told anyone else - that after his son Wade had been killed, he climbed onto the slab at the funeral home, laid there and hugged his body, and promised that he'd do all he could to make life better for people, to live up to Wade's ideals of service. Kerry was stunned, not moved, because, Edwards had recounted the same exact story to him, almost in the exact same words, a year or two before - and with the same preface, that he'd never shared the memory with anyone else. Kerry said he found it chilling, and he decided he couldn't pick Edwards unless he met with him again.
When they did, Kerry tried to get a better personal feel for his potential number two; as rivals for national office since 2000, shortly after Edwards had entered the Senate, the two men hadn't spent a lot of time together. Kerry also wanted a specific reassurance. He asked Edwards for a commitment that if he was chosen and the ticket lost, Edwards wouldn't run against him in 2008.
Kerry, a divorcee himself, needed a dyed-in-the-wool family man to replace the philandering Edwards, and who could better fit the bill than "a skinny guy with a funny name"?.
In 1957, the USSR launches a second Sputnik, this one carrying a dog, Laika. Although the dog dies in orbit after a few hours from stress and overheating due to a malfunction in the capsule's environmental controls, her successful launch proves that animals, and therefore potentially humans, can survive an orbital launch and can endure weightlessness.Laika's Tale by Eric LippsIn the U.S., some space enthusiasts are angry that the Eisenhower administration has allowed the Soviets to steal a march on the U.S. by being first to put a living creature in orbit. The President, however, dismisses the launch as a 'cheap propaganda stunt' and points out reassuringly to reporters that after all, Laika died, indicating, he says, 'the Soviet disregard for life which derives from their atheistic Communist beliefs.'
At NASA, the mood is one of frustration. Space agency scientists have been planning for years how to get animals and then humans into orbit, but with the Administration pressing them to devote their efforts to countering the perceived Soviet ICBM threat, none of their plans have gotten past the technical study stage. And after the way NASA chief Glennan's October 11 meeting with the President went, neither Glennan nor anyone else is optimistic that this will change any time soon.
When the hour she had been promised was up, Janice pulled her cell phone out and called up the auto service again. She was a little steamed, and let the poor customer service rep have it. "In my business, when I promise a customer something within the hour, I mean the hour we were currently talking in," she spit at the young woman on the other end of the line.
"I do apologize, ma'am. It's been a busy morning for our - "
"I don't care about your problems. I care about mine. If I don't have some service this hour, I'm going to be taking my business elsewhere".
"I'll do what I can, ma'am".
Janice hung up and threw the cell back into her purse. A very small part of her felt bad about yelling at someone who was essentially powerless to do anything about her situation, but most of her felt better after venting the anger and frustration. The cat was back, purring and approaching her legs, and she dodged it before it could make her sneeze again. "Ha!" She taunted it with a leg, then withdrew the leg before it could reach her. It whipped its little white tail and crouched down to spring on her.
After a few minutes of cat and mouse, it gave up and moved down the street to find other prey. Janice went back to sitting on the curb and looking down the street expectantly. At least the morning was warming up - she didn't really need her sweater anymore. She took it off and wrapped it around her waist, then sat back down to wait.
A few more minutes later, she got back up and went inside her house. She opened the garage door so that the mechanic could get at her car, then grabbed her phone book and looked for mechanics-on-wheels. There were several, and she didn't know if she wanted to trust any of them. She flopped herself down on her couch and turned on the TV. Hopefully, the guy would honk when he got there.
The network channels were off the air, and after flipping for a second, she wondered if her cable was down, but then she got the SciFi channel. It was a Twilight Zone she had seen before - of course, she had seen them all before - but it was something to occupy her mind. She sat there and let Rod work his magic over her.
"I said, get up!" Steph popped a waffle into the toaster and pushed the lever down. She set the plate with the waffles already done on the kitchen table and grabbed the syrup from the fridge. Her youngest, George, shuffled to the table and piled a couple of waffles onto his plate, then drowned them in syrup. "Hey, hey, Georgie, easy on the sugar, babe".
Her daughter bounced in, saying, "Just some juice, please, mom".
Steph sighed. "Joanie, I just made all these waffles".
"You can eat 'em. You don't need to watch your weight anymore". After a withering glare from her mother, Joan added, "Sorry".
Steph picked up one of the spare waffles and munched at it. "Hurry up, OK? We gotta leave before the traffic to town gets too bad".
The kids grunted affirmatively. George went back to his soggy waffles and Joan pulled a juice carton out of the refrigerator and poured herself a tall glass. Steph saw her casting hungry glances at George's waffles, and slid a plate over to her.
"Less calories if you don't put syrup on 'em".
Joan picked up one of the unadorned waffles and gobbled it down. At least it's something on her stomach, Steph thought. After a few relatively silent moments of gulping down breakfast, Steph looked at the kitchen clock and started. "Hey, we gotta go". They flurried about the small house, grabbing bags and books and rushing out to the beat-up old car outside. The kids fought over the front seat before Joan won and George resigned himself to the back. Steph locked up the house and climbed into the driver's seat and buckled in. "Buckle it, Joanie," she said to her daughter, who always forgot to fasten her seat belt. The girl snapped her belt, then went back to the magazine she was reading.
Steph drove the car down the long driveway to the road and headed off to the highway into Austin.
In 1964, Comrade President Gus Hall was elected to his first full term as president after succeeding slain Comrade President Rosenberg. He defeated Socialist Senator Barry Goldwater of the Arizona Soviet. The two tickets were a repeat, of sorts; Comrades Hall and Goldwater had been the vice-presidential candidates in the 1960 election.
In 1941, German Underground operatives, with inside help from American Bundists, bomb the American naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. G.U. Fuehrer Adolf Hitler lets it be known that he believes America should refrain from entering the war in Eurasia, should it wish to prevent a repeat of Pearl Harbor.
In 1789, founding father George Clinton was elected the first President of the United States by the Congress. The general from New York narrowly defeated fellow general George Washington by virtue of his experience as a governor. Clinton led the nation to a rocky start, but was able to erase the war debt and establish relations with most of Europe by the end of his 3rd term in 1800. Clinton's 3 terms established that as the traditional limit for presidential administrations.
In 2002, in the midterm elections, Republicans maintain their hold on the House and Senate.
On this day in 1968, former vice-president Richard Nixon was elected the 37 President of the United States; he did particularly well among Jewish-American voters by virute of his of his unswervingly pro-Israel foreign policy speeches, most notably his famous "there must not be another Sinai War" address just after the Republican National Convention in Miami Beach.
On this day in 1947, director John Ford completed filming of his documentary about Roswell's post-asteroid recovery efforts.
In 1970, in the midterm congressional election, Massachusetts Rep. Philip J. Philbin narrowly defeats Democratic challenger Robert F. Drinan.
Ironically, the strongly conservative Rep. Philbin had been a Democrat himself before switching parties in 1953 at the height of the McCarthy era. In his contest against Drinan, a Catholic priest, Philbin has benefited a great deal from the support of members of the Church hierarchy. There is talk that Drinan may face punishment from his ecclesiastical superiors because of his outspoken opposition to the wars in Cuba and Southeast Asia.
|Robert F. Drinan|
In 1992, Senator Sam Nunn of Georgia defeats incumbent Jack Kemp in the U.S. presidential election.
Observers marvel at how far Kemp's fortunes have fallen since the end of the Gulf War, when he had a 91 percent approval rating and seemed likely to win re-election in a landslide.
In 1812, Dewitt Clinton follows in his father's footsteps, although not in his party. Elected to the presidency as a Federalist, Clinton consolidates his hold on power by appointing friends and associates throughout the government. By the time he dies in office in 1821, the presidency has powers rivaling any king of Europe.
In 1933, President Michael Dukakis is born in Brookline, Massachusetts, the son of poor Greek immigrants. Dukakis rose through the Democratic party ranks to the governship of Massachusetts before running against Vice-President George Bush for the presidency in 1988. America had become very disenchanted with the Reagan administration because of the Iran-Contra scandal, and Bush paid the price for it. Dukakis served 2 successful terms, and oversaw the dissolution of the Soviet Union and the elimination of the federal budget deficit.
In 1850, Second Chancellor William Dayton of the North American Confederation is elevated to the First Chancellory when his predecessor, Juan Diego De La Hoya, dies in an air-car accident. Dayton wins his own term in the high office in 1855.
In 1964, Comrade President Gus Hall was elected to his first full term as president after succeeding slain Comrade President Rosenberg. He defeated Socialist Senator Barry Goldwater of the Arizona Soviet. The two tickets were a repeat, of sorts; Comrades Hall and Goldwater had been the vice-presidential candidates in the 1960 election.
In 1992, in the most stunning upset in election history, H. Ross Perot is elected President of the United States, defeating both the Republican and Democratic candidates. His folksy charm and colorful language soon wore thin, though; people saw that, instead of a competent technocrat, they had elected a paranoid megalomaniac. He was impeached in 1995, and his Vice-President, James Stockdale, proved little better in the Oval Office. The Democrats regained the White House with Senator Al Gore leading them in 1996.
In 1963, on behalf of the United States, President Richard M Nixon publicly expresses shock and disappointment that Vietnamese President Ngo Dinh Diem and his younger brother, Ngo Dinh Nhu are assassinated by plotters, overthrowing the Government of the Republic of Vietnam. This qualified statement leads many independents to question the involvement of the United Statements government in the coup, if not the assassination. Particularly, because Nixon had masterminded so many covert operations over the past eleven years. However, when Nixon himself is assassinated nineteen days later, this interpretation of US involvement at least is quashed.
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 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 SpeelHis 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 . 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  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.
Third US Presidentby Ed and Jeff ProvineIn 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.
44th President of the United States
January 20, 2005 - 2013The 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.
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.
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
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.
A new story by Jeff ProvineAs 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.
© Today in Alternate History, 2013-. All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.