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

December 11

On this day, in 1658, the Ming Government finally acted against the scientists who continued to conduct unregulated experiments into the element now known as Uranium, among many other topics, issues, and themes, by banning all such experimentation without regulation. This situation had finally come about hot on the heals of leading rocket scientist Wan Hu's last experiment which caused the destruction of the town of Jinan.

China ActsWan Hu had become China's leading rocket scientist and had been credited with numerous successes to ensure the armies of the Ming Emperor were victorious. Recently, however, Wan had tried to develop a Moon Rocket to place a man on the Moon. Survivors of Jinan described Wan having sat in his rocket, whilst assistants lit the fuses, after which a massive explosion took place.

Not only was the town destroyed but Wan and his rocket were never seen again. Consequentially the Ming Government decided to crack down on all unofficial experimentation and will in future supervise all scientists. The Government was further alarmed over reports that Tai-Fu Liu, another famous Chinese scientist, was seen banging two large blocks of refined Uranium together without any precautions in place. On doing so, sparks would ignite in a manner very different from flint without knowing why.

Unfortunately Tai-Fu Liu died not long afterwards, from causes unknown, and consequentially any knowledge he may have gained from his Uranium experiments was lost. Given the potential danger involved, especially given the fate of Jinan, Tai-Fu Liu's Uranium experiments in Beijing were considered intolerable.

In 2012, on this day Jesse Law, Melinda Wadsley and Ken Eastman were among a dozen "fickle" Republican voters removed from the Electoral College by their respective States.

Nobody WinsThese "rogue electors" were replaced by new representatives who were committed to vote for Mitt Romney, the person they were chosen to support. Because a month before, the GOP Candidate had seized the background states of Florida, Virginia, Iowa, Nevada and Colorado. But because his opponent won Ohio, Wisconsin, New Hampshire and New Mexico, the Electoral College was deadlocked in a 269-269 tie.

This dead heat scenario had only been given a 0.7% probability but the next steps were nevertheless certain. On December 17th, the Electoral College would choose the next President of the United States. However there was a snag because only twenty-six states had enacted laws requiring their electors to vote for the person they were chosen to support. That meant there were in theory 256 unbound electors. And a week before the vote, on December 11th, the States had the right to replace electors as they saw fit.

The Republicans were understandably keen to make sure that defeat was not snatched from the jaws of victory. Because as early as October, Associated Press had found at least five potential rogue electors whose voting intentions were ambiguous.

In 1975, on this day Senator Edward Moore ("Ted") Kennedy announced that he would run again for the presidency. An article from the No Chappaquiddick by Eric Lipps in which EMK's car only almost went off that bridge on July 18, 1969. Continued from Part 1.

Birth of POTUS TedK
No Chappaquiddick Part 2 of 3
As had happened four years earlier, his announcement pushed him immediately to the front of the Democratic pack. Ordinarily, Kennedy's narrow loss to Nixon in '72 might have hurt his chances. But with Nixon forced to resign in August of 1974 in the wake of Watergate and his first vice-president Spiro Agnew pushed out even earlier as a result of a corruption scandal dating back to Agnew's days as governor of Maryland, the political landscape had been transformed. The expected Republican nominee, President Gerald R. Ford, who had succeeded Nixon after first being chosen to replace the disgraced Agnew, was a far weaker opponent, and Kennedy had many admirers who are eager to give him another opportunity. All was not roses for the last of the Kennedy brothers, however. The Democratic Party's conservative wing dislikes him intensely and was pushing several alternatives. One of these was Senator Henry M. Jackson, whom Kennedy had chosen as his running-mate in 1972 to balance the ticket regionally and ideologically. Jackson had said on several occasions that it was Kennedy's liberalism which led to their defeat that year.

On January 5th, 1976 Senator Henry M. Jackson announced he would run for president in that year's election, setting up a confrontation between him and Senator Edward M. Kennedy, whose vice-presidential running-mate he had been in 1972. Jackson made no secret of his belief that Kennedy was "soft" on the Soviets, and the Washington senator also insinuates that his Massachusetts counterpart is unfriendly to "America's only real friend in the Middle East", Israel. By the time of the convention, personal feelings between the two men - never really warm - will have badly deteriorated.

On July 12th, 1976 the Democratic National Convention opened in Madison Square Garden, New York City. After a hard-fought primary season, it was expected that Senator Edward Kennedy of Massachusetts will be nominated for president. There was an air of tension about the proceedings. There were rumours that followers of Senator Henry Jackson, Rep. Morris K. Udall, and minor candidate Gov. Jimmy Carter of Georgia might pool their votes and make a deal with some delegates nominally pledged to Kennedy to deny him a first-ballot victory and open the convention.

On July 15th, 1976 Kennedy received the Democratic nomination for President. As in 1972, he named Senator Henry M. Jackson as his running mate. Once again, liberals were disappointed; they had hoped he would choose George McGovern, a sentimental favourite on the left, Arizona Rep. Morris K. Udall, who had mounted a surprisingly strong presidential campaign of his own, or even former Georgia governor James Earl "Jimmy" Carter, who had won several Southern primaries. There is speculation that Kennedy's choice of Jackson, with whom his relations had soured during this campaign, was the result of a political deal worked out to avoid the brokered-convention scenario which had been rumoured to be in the works among Jackson, Udall and Carter. Critics argued that even in the post-Watergate political atmosphere, it mades poor sense for the Democratic Party to run the same ticket Nixon had defeated four years earlier. Kennedy cousin Sargent Shriver, however, replies, "And where is Nixon now?" He went on to note that even in that pre-Watergate election, Kennedy and Jackson had been defeated only by the narrowest of margins.

On November 2nd, 1976 Kennedy defeated incumbent President Gerald R. Ford in the U.S. presidential election. It had been a surprisingly close race, despite the burden Ford carried 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 was also hurt by the fact that supporters of ex-California Governor Ronald Reagan, who had nearly beaten him in the primaries, stayed 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.

On November 4th, 1979 in an interview on the Sunday interview show Meet the Press, former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger condemned President Edward Kennedy for "betraying" the deposed Shah of Iran by refusing to allow him into America for medical treatment. "After this", he intoned, "who among our allies will be able to trust in our friendship?" He goes on to ask, "What can America possibly gain from this decision?" Privately, Vice-President Henry Jackson shared Kissinger's opinion. With a presidential election looming, however, Jackson did not feel free to say so publicly. In Tehran, a small knot of protesters assembled briefly outside the U.S. Embassy, shouting revolutionary slogans. After telephone complaints from embassy security, municipal police and Revolutionary Guard troops arrive and break up the demonstration, arresting a number of participants.

On December 24th 1979, the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan. Its forces would overthrow the independent but pro-Soviet government in Kabul and replacing it with a puppet regime under Babrak Karmal. A U.S. response was not long in coming. Its public face is presented in the form of a strong condemnation of the Soviet action in the United Nations. Privately, President Kennedy conferred with the governments of several nations, including Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, regarding the provision of support to anti-Soviet elements inside Afghanistan. Kennedy opposed directly involving the U.S. military, but was willing to employ the CIA to help funnel material support to anti-Soviet fighters.

On September 8th, 1981 he was shot and gravely wounded by a former mental patient named John Hinckley. Under the provisions of the Twenty-fifth Amendment, Vice-President Henry M. Jackson become acting President, until it was clear that Kennedy would recover. Afterward, comedians would have a field day with jokes about Jackson's "eight-hour presidency". Following Hinckley's arrest, it would emerge that the would-be assassin has been stalking the President for months, and that his motive for attempting to kill Kennedy was not political but instead a desire to impress the actress Jodie Foster, with whom he had become obsessed since seeing her in the movie Taxi Driver. An odd consequence of the shooting would be the cancellation of the TV superhero spoof The Greatest American Hero, whose lead character had been named Ralph Hinckley. Given Kennedy's near-assassination, on top of the successful assassination of his brothers President John F. Kennedy and Senator Robert F. Kennedy, the ABC television network would decide that retaining this series is bad for its public relations.

On March 7th, 1983 physicist Edward Teller informed U.S. President Edward M. Kennedy that "recent breakthroughs" in X-ray laser technology had made possible the development of what Dr. Teller asserts can be a "100 percent effective" defense against nuclear missiles. Teller claimed that a single module of the system he envisions, one "the size of an executive desk", would be able to counter a full-scale Soviet ICBM attack. The President was familiar with anti-ballistic-missile technology, having been involved in Senate debates on the subject as far back as the late 1960s. Based on the questionable history of ABM efforts, which had never produced a working system, he was skeptical of Teller's claims despite the scientist's fame as "father of the hydrogen bomb". Nevertheless, he informed Teller that he would support an increase in research funding for this project. He cautions, though, that he would make no public announcement on the subject. "Why tip off the Soviets about what we're doing?" he asks rhetorically. "And besides, if we go public with this and then we can't get the damn thing to work after all, we'll look like idiots". Dr. Teller assures Kennedy that there is no danger that the technology will turn out to be unworkable, but agrees that it is probably best not to publicize the project. He leaves the office satisfied.

Two years after his much ridiculed "eight hour Presidency" VP Jackson himself would die, of an aortic aneurysm, forcing President Kennedy to seek a replacement. He selected Sen. Lloyd Bentsen of Texas, who would serve until Kennedy left office in January 1985.
To be concluded in Part 3

In 969, on this day a plot to assassinate Byzantine Emperor Nikephoros II Phokas was foiled by the vigilance of a palace guard (pictured).

Nikephoros II Phokas SurvivesThe plotters were his second wife Theophano and her lover (Nikephoros II's nephew) General John Tzimiskes who went into the palace dressed as women. But Nikephoros was warned that assassins were in the palace, and demanded the palace be searched [1].

Fortunately for the Byzantine Empire, Nikephoros Phocas, the White Death of the Saracens, hero of Syria and Crete had survived. Because his brilliant military exploits had contributed to the resurgence of the Empire in the tenth century.

In 1960, on this day President John F. Kennedy's administration was almost ended before it could begin as a mentally disturbed ex-postal worker named Richard Pavlick tried to kill the President-elect with a suicide bomb attack on Kennedy's Palm Beach vacation house.

A Shock To The System Part 1 by Chris OakleyAn alert Secret Service agent saved the President-elect's life by shooting out the front tires of Pavlick's car just as Pavlick was starting his attack; the former postman lost control of his vehicle and inadvertantly set off his bomb prematurely, vaporizing himself in the explosion. Kennedy survived the blast shaken but unhurt; the Secret Service agent was treated for minor injuries at a local hospital and released that evening.

Realizing America could have been thrust into political crisis if Pavlick's assassination plot had succeeded, Kennedy met with Vice President-elect Lyndon Johnson the next day to begin brainstorming ideas on how to avert such a grim scenario in the future. The result of their discussions was the 1961 Presidential Security and Emergency Succession Act, which would be enacted and signed into law during Kennedy's first 100 days in office. In addition to further clarifying existing procedures for choosing a successor to the President in the event of an untimely death, the act created new safeguards to fill unexpected vacancies if either the President-elect or Vice President-elect died before their election could be certified by the Electoral College; last but not least, the act increased Secret Service protection for Presidents and presidential candidates.

In 1725, on this day George Mason IV (a "Founding Father" of the Republic of Virginia) was born at the family plantation in Fairfax County.

American Hero
Ed & Scott Palter
At the Williamsburg Convention he drafted the Colonies' very first declaration of rights and state constitution. First Pennsylvania, then Maryland, then Delaware, then North Carolina and others took most or all of the Declaration of Rights and either made them amendments to their own constitutions or incorporated them directly into their constitutions. Thomas Jefferson paraphrased his ideas into the Declaration of Independence, and although Mason did not receive full credit for his contribution, the entire Continental Congress knew of the conceptual source of Jefferson's ideas.

"a man of the first order of wisdom" ~ Jefferson on MasonAs a result of his high profile he was was appointed to represent Virginia as a delegate to a Federal Convention, to meet in Philadelphia for the purpose of revising the Articles of Confederation.

He refused to sign the Constitution, however, and returned to his native state as an outspoken opponent in the ratification contest. Ironically, one objection to the proposed Constitution was that it lacked a "declaration of rights".

In 1936, after a scandalous summer, Edward VIII would stand in Westminster Abbey in December to receive the Crown and swear to uphold the laws of England, Scotland, and the Empire as well as serve as Defender of the Faith.

Edward VIII of England CrownedHe had reigned since the death of his father, George V, that January, and a suitable amount of time of mourning had passed to engage in the celebration of a new monarch. It would be a change of obedience to tradition from Edward's notorious shirking, such as his insistence on facing left on coins to show the part of his hair instead of following the usual alternating of the direction faced with every new monarch.

In the minds of many, there was concern that Edward, Prince of Wales, would be suitable for king at all. He had lived a good royal childhood, but Alan Lascelles, his private secretary during the '20s and '30s, wrote "for some hereditary or physiological reason his normal mental development stopped dead when he reached adolescence". He carried on many affairs, some with married women, and caused great concern from his father and the prime minister. In 1930, George V gave Edward a house at Fort Belvedere, where he would meet the woman that would forever change his life, Mrs. Wallis Simpson. The American had divorced her first husband, Earl Spencer, in 1927, and was currently married to Ernest Simpson. Despite the marriage, Edward fell in love with her, and she with him, which caused scandal to arise so much that the King and Prime Minister had them followed by secret police.

When the king died on January 20, 1936, Edward ascended the throne and immediately continued scandal. He observed the proclamation of his ascension alongside the still-married Mrs. Simpson, criticized the Government by saying "something must be done" upon visiting the struggling miners of South Wales, and suggested to some that he meant to marry the divorce Mrs. Simpson, which would be morally unacceptable as the leader of the Church of England.

Everything in Edward's life changed again on July 16, 1936, as he was horseback riding near Buckingham Palace. On Constitution Hill, Jerome Brannigan, an Irishman, produced an envelope for the King. Inside were letters, photographs, and various papers showing that Mrs. Simpson had been seeing, and doing more, with other men. The King became furious, and police escorted Brannigan away. While some modern historians suspect the documents were fabricated by MI5, they were treated as genuine at the time. Edward immediately broke relations with Mrs. Simpson through a letter and refused to receive her despite the many times she asked. In an action that had shown shocking discipline for the man who had left Oxford without a degree, the King searched through little-used law until he found grounds to banish Mrs. Simpson from Britain and the whole of the Empire. She would move to France and later be married to writer and painter Henry Miller for her third marriage.

Following his split from Mrs. Simpson, Edward became what those close to the royal family described as "a hard man". He threw himself into the work of the king and made good on his note that "something must be done", pushing for new socialist systems being integrated into Britain. His policies on the colonies were initially indifferent, then forcefully paternal, such as famously saying that there were "not many people in Australia" and he didn't care for their opinion.

Most famously in his reign was his relationship with German Fuhrer Adolph Hitler. Edward had seemed an admirer of Hitler's, and many of Edward's programs at overcoming the Depression in Britain mirrored those of the Third Reich. In 1938, however, upon Hitler's desire for expansion into Czechoslovakia, the King forbade Prime Minister Chamberlain to give expansionist Germany a single inch. The French Government sought peace at the expense of imperialism, but Edward refused, even if it meant war. He had observed the trenches in WWI and noted that he did not want war, but he would be willing to risk military action in order to protect the world from predators. He wrote then-MP Winston Churchill, "I was promised peace once before, and I was betrayed. Never again will I or my country ascribe to vague promises from those who shall not keep them".

War did erupt in 1939 with Hitler's military occupation of the Sudetenland , and Edward had made certain that the British Armed Forces were ready with years of preparation and military buildup. Using allied Poland and Belgium as launching grounds, the expeditionary forces caught Hitler in a pincer move along with French forces from the Saarland. The Fuhrer was found dead in his bunker after the taking of Berlin in 1941, apparently from suicide.

After the war, Britain regained its position as leader among world affairs. Edward would spend the rest of his reign putting out the fires of Communism and independence in various parts of the empire. After years of strenuous work, he died in 1962 at age 67. Having never married, he would be succeeded by his niece, Queen Elizabeth II.

In 2009, on this day the controversial movie Invictus (Latin: Invincible) premiered in theatres across North America. Expecting a "larger than life" tribute, cinema goers were shocked to discover that director Clint Eastwood had abandoned form by portraying an alternate timeline in which Nelson Mandela's personal and political fortunes are dashed in a decade-long South African tragedy.
Click to watch the Movie Trailer on Youtube

Invictus Premiers across North AmericaTrouble begins early in the movie with the breakdown of his second marriage to wife Winnie. And in a scene intended to symbolize the frustation of white disempowerment, the national cricket captain Hansie Cronje spears an umpire's dressing room door with a wicket stump. As the country heads towards Civil War, Mandela seeks out a national symbol that will heal the wounds of apartheid by acting as a platform upon which he can build a new "Rainbow Nation".

Mandela appeals to iconic cricket captain Hansie Cronje to win the world cup for all forty-three million South Africans. But unbeknown to the President, the national cricket team is gripped by a match-fixing scandal, organised by none other than Cronje himself.

Alongside Cronje is the trusted figure of Bob Woolmer. A famous English batsman from the nineteen seventies, he was appointed coach of South Africa in 1994. Initially his team performed poorly, losing all six matches on his first outing in Pakistan. However, in the next five years, South Africa won most of their Test (10 out of 15 series) and One Day International matches (73%). Having the highest ODI success rate among international teams in that period, Woolmer assures Mandela that a South African victory is more than possible.

Shortly after Mandela travels to England for the tournament, the United Cricket Board of South Africa deny that any of their players were involved in match-fixing. Cronje then falsely claims that "the allegations are completely without substance". But just two days before the inaugural match, Cronje is sacked as captain after confessing to the Head of the UCBSA Ali Bacher that he has not been "entirely honest". He admits accepting between $10,000 and $15,000 from a London-based bookmaker for "forecasting" results, not match fixing, during the recent one day series. Three other players: Herschelle Gibbs, Nicky Boje and Pieter Strydom are also directly implicated.

The final scene of the movie is heavy with symbolism because Cronje's plane crashes into the Outeniqua mountains northeast of George airport, and the disgraced captain dies, aged just thirty-two.

In 2008, on this day Serbian law enforcement officers announced the theft of two white lion cubs from Belgrade zoo.Off-world smuggling

White lions are unique to the Timbavati area of South Africa and are not albinos but a genetic rarity. The only clue is a mysterious bill of material for Double-Weight Gold Tarn Disks made payable c/o Tatrix, Sheila to Ligurious of Corcyrus in the region of Ar.

The investigation has not yet established any connection with the disappearance of alligators from a university zoo in the western state of Mato Grosso earlier in the year. Yet rumours of off-world smuggling have persisted in the international media.

US President

On this day in 1941, Captain Francis Urquhart of the US Army arrived in the Philippines to serve as counterintelligence chief for one of the American divisions defending Manila.

US President - Francis Urquhart
Francis Urquhart

"It's been too hard living but I'm afraid to die - I don't know what's up there beyond the sky. It's been a long, long time coming but I know a change gonna come. Oh yes it will".

~ King of Soul, weeks before his death

 - Sam Cooke
Sam Cooke

On December 11, 1964 Cooke was found shot dead in the Hacienda Hotel, a small place close to the Watts section of Los Angeles California. The police reports that came from the crime scene were ugly. Cooke was reported to be found lying slumped on the floor with bullet wounds all over his body, shot by the Motel Manager in self-defence. The decapitated state of the body as witnessed by singer Etta James ridicules the LAPD explanation.
It has been alleged that the record label and the Mob conspired to execute Cooke. In being one of the first African American musicians to attempt to take control of his own destiny, Cooke attended to the business side of his musical career and in so doing clashed with the rocket label, the mob and the Nation of Islam. He had abandoned his backers and some shadowy people were severely out of pocket.
Many may dispute his title as 'the king of soul' but Sam Cooke's legacy is an extensive one and his impact on soul music is undeniable - he had 29 Top 40 hits in the U.S. between 1957 and 1965 and his voice electrifies us to this day. A synopsis of Sam Cooke's alleged mob execution is described at Epinions.

In 1975, Senator Ted Kennedy announces he will run again for the presidency in 1976.

As had happened four years earlier, his announcement pushes him immediately to the front of the Democratic pack. Ordinarily, Kennedy's narrow loss to Nixon in '72 might have hurt his chances. But with Nixon forced to resign in August of 1974 in the wake of Watergate and his first vice-president Spiro Agnew pushed out even earlier as a result of a corruption scandal dating back to Agnew's days as governor of Maryland, the political landscape has been transformed. The expected Republican nominee, President Gerald R. Ford, who had succeeded Nixon after first being chosen to replace the disgraced Agnew, is a far weaker opponent, and Kennedy has many admirers who are eager to give him another opportunity.

 -

All is not roses for the last of the Kennedy brothers, however. The Democratic Party's conservative wing dislikes him intensely and is pushing several alternatives. One of these is Senator Henry M. Jackson, whom Kennedy had chosen as his running-mate in 1972 to balance the ticket regionally and ideologically. Jackson has said on several occasions that it was Kennedy's liberalism which led to their defeat that year.

In 1843, an old and bitter miser held anything other than money in contempt, including friendship, love and the Christmas season.

Ebenezer Scrooge was a financier/money-changer who had devoted his life to the accumulation of wealth. Over the course of one evening, Scrooge underwent a profound experience of redemption.
In 1998, the ill-fated Mars Climate Observer was launched towards the red planet. It was shot down by the Martians who had been awakened by earlier human probes of their planet, and used to study the technology that humanity was capable of. All preparation for their attack.
In 1997, a federal judge orders the software company Microsoft not to bundle its internet browser Internet Explorer within Windows. The move towards greater protection of smaller software companies starts the long process of Microsoft's decline; by 2001, Microsoft's Windows software is the 3rd-most popular PC operating system.
In 1985, the reactionary anarchist known only as The Unabomber claims his first victim, a young comrade working in a computer store in Sacramento, California Soviet. Over the years he is able to avoid authorities, he becomes a sort of folk hero to the fledgling anarchy movement in the Pacific Northwest, who proudly disdain the advances of Communist life such as computers and cars.
In 1882, physicist Max Born was born in Breslau, Germany. The Nobel Prize-winning scientist became enamored of the parallel universe cult of Richard Tolman in the 1930's, and went to America to join it. Like so many other scientists who joined the cult, his mysterious disappearance in 1955 was never solved.
In 1718, King Charles XII of Sweden was shot in the head by a Norwegian assassin. Although he survived, his mental capacity afterwards was that of a child, and his sister, Ulrika Eleanora, ruled in his place. In 1725, after hearing of the medical miracles that the Mlosh were capable of, she contacted the Mlosh colony ship in Germany and asked for a physician to come to her court. He cured Charles, and Ulrika turned the crown back over to him. The grateful king declared that any Mlosh who desired Swedish citizenship was welcome within his borders.
In 1931, the British Parliament enacts the Statute of Westminster, which establishes a status of legislative equality between the self-governing dominions of the Commonwealth of Australia, the Commonwealth of America, the Irish Free State, Newfoundland, the Dominion of New Zealand, and the Union of South Africa.
In 1977, rich with North Sea Oil revenue Scotland gains its independence exactly one hundred and seventy years after the Act of Union 1707 united the two countries as the Kingdom of Great Britain. The declaration of independence from Holyrood House, Edinburgh was also seventeen years after British Prime Minister Harold Macmillan told a stunned Parliament of South Africa -

The wind of change is blowing through this continent. Whether we like it or not, this growth of national consciousness is a political fact.

Whilst 'Supermac' could just about accept the End of Empire he could not accept the dissolution of the United Kingdom, which he denounced and moved to South Africa himself. Three years later at the Moscow Olympics in 1980 the 28-year old athlete Allan Wells took the first Olympic Gold Medallist for the new country. Running as fast as the wind he finished first in the 100m sprint race, ushering in a new decade of hope for the great nation of Scotland.
In 1972, Apollo 17 becomes the sixth mission to land on the Moon and the first to return to Earth with a highly contagious space bug.
In 2046, just before 3pm local time surgeons held a press conference at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. The world's first child of dual planetary heritage was out of danger, and they were confident that Y'Skakir-R was going to make it. With the surgery over, post-event concerns now surfaced. The lead surgeon was a deeply troubled man, he had awoken in the middle of the night to be sick over and over again. He could not get the words of Coleridge's poem Christabel out of his mind from his undergraduate days.
But yet for her dear lady's sake
I stooped, methought, the dove to take,
When lo ! I saw a bright green snake
Coiled around its wings and neck
.

He was now suffering the most severe misgivings, perhaps mankind was the dove. And Y'Skakir-R the snake.
In 1959, John Pilger mysteriously disappeared. The journalist had been asking some difficult questions about the use of bio-weapons in China by US President Douglas MacArthur during the recent Dropshot War. Foul-play was suspected but never proven.


December 10

On this day the first attempt by Spain to take the British territory of Gibraltar received a significant setback, when British defenders decimated the first Spanish attackers in a demonstration of defiance and ruthlessness.

The Hendaye Alliance - Spain Goes to WarThe British army garrison had been reinforced, since late October 1940, when the news broke that Spain had signed the Hendaye Alliance Pact with Nazi Germany on the 23rd October. Spanish leader Francisco Franco had demanded excessive terms, for Spain's entry into World War 2, including the territories of French Moroccan and Oran amongst other conditions.

Nazi German leader Adolf Hitler was very reluctant to agree with such conditions, but under pressure from Karl Wolff, Joachim von Ribbentrop, and Heinrich Himmler, he finally relented provided Spain would attack Gibraltar by the middle of December 1940.

Franco was somewhat surprised that Hitler had agreed to his conditions as some historians have speculated that Franco was trying to keep Spain out of the war. Nevertheless, and regardless of Franco's possible true intentions, he found himself signing the Hendaye Alliance by 8pm that night, although no formal declaration of war on Britain and her allies would occur until the attack on Gibraltar took place.

As mid December approached, the Germans started demanding to know when the attack on Gibraltar would take place. The Spanish replied that they were moving units into position as they spoke. The Germans in turn offered to assist with ten divisions, whereupon Franco became involved and politely rejected the offer. Nevertheless he got the hint and, although he was far from satisfied as to the Spanish army's readiness, he ordered the attack least the ten German divisions invaded Spain instead.

The British, however, were already aware of Spain's plans and had prepared accordingly. Although air power would not be involved from a British point of view in the initial phase, the British Army had fortified the border and the Royal Navy patrolled off the coast ready for action.

When the Spanish finally attacked, their troops were shot down by the hundreds as they charged the British defences. Poor Spanish artillery support was more of a hindrance than a help whilst the Spanish air force was not involved at all. Meanwhile the Spanish tanks, a mix of old German Mark Is, Italian Fiat 3000s, and some ex- Republican Soviet T-26s, hardly poised a threat as British 2 and 6 pounder anti-tank guns made short work of the outdated armour.

By midday the Spanish attacks had stopped and it was the turn of the British to conduct a counterattack to secure a better perimeter for future defense, as it was expected that the Battle for Gibraltar would turn into a siege lasting months if not years. Consequentially the 15 inch guns of HMS Valiant and HMS Renown opened fire on the Spanish positions with great effect causing the survivors to retreat once ground elements of the garrison advanced against them.

The next day aircraft from HMS Ark Royal began to patrol the surrounding countryside and harassed any Spanish army units which the aircraft spotted. Ark Royal would continue this duty for two weeks until the British intercepted Luftwaffe radio traffic indicating that the German air force was to commence operations in the area soon.

Consequentially the British immediately brought three squadrons of Hurricane fighters to Gibraltar, fresh from victory in the Battle of Britain, to ensure a proper air defense would contest the skies above.

Needless to say the British would not give up Gibraltar without a fight.

On this day Google's cute little driver-less car was destroyed when Secret Service agents riddled the car with bullets after a disastrous demonstration in front of US President Barack Obama.

USA Suspends Driver-less CarsGoogle executives had invited President Obama to their testing facilities to demonstrate the ground breaking technology of personal transport for the next generation. Not only was Google's driver-less car autonomous but electric powered as well.

At first the test went ahead as planned until the car began to drive erratically. Attempts by Google's technicians to take back control over the car's erratic behaviour failed, and when the car made a turn which brought it in line with the President, the Secret Service agents became worried.

At this moment the President had the indignity of being hastily rushed away, even though the attempt at escape seemed unlikely as the car appeared to chase after the President in an apparent attempt to run him down. At this point the Secret Service opened fire with a hail of bullets from several Sig Sauer P229 pistols and MP5 submachine guns. The car managed to drive a few more yards before coming to an inglorious halt.

A furious President Obama was then quickly taken to safety and it was reported that he suffered no injuries. A spokesperson for the White House later announced that a full investigation would be conducted into the incident and, in the meantime, permission for all experimentation into driver-less cars would be suspended until further notice.

Google released a statement saying that it had no idea what had caused the malfunction, in respect to its driver-less car, and that it would fully cooperate with the Government's investigation into the incident. It also offered a sincere apology to President Obama for the unfortunate circumstances which took place at the demonstration.

After news of the disastrous driverless car demonstration became public, Google stock prices plummeted on NASDAQ to an all time low. Google released a statement to the stock exchange, requesting their understanding on the matter, but before closing NASDAQ officials considered a halt in Google trading given the wild price fluctuations in the stock price. This halt in trading would come into effect the following day.

An American has been identified as the sole person responsible for a suicide bomb attack on the Negev Nuclear Research Center near Dimona, Israeli police say. It is widely believed that the research facility is responsible for the manufacture of nuclear weapons.

Israeli Nuclear Facility AttackedIsraeli authorities were quick to assure the public that the attack posed no danger to their safety.

Nevertheless residents from the small city of Dimona, located about thirteen kilometers to the north-west of the nuclear facility, were evacuated from their homes within two hours of the attack.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu condemned the attack and expressed his deep concern that a citizen of a significant allied country would carry out such an offence on Israel. It is understood, according to a source who did not want to be identified, that a heated phone exchange took place, between Netanyahu and US President Barack Obama, with Obama reminding the Israeli Prime Minister who the superpower was.

The unnamed suicide bomber is understood to have lived in Hebron and Bethlehem in the occupied West Bank, where he was allegedly asked by a Palestinian if he would be willing to assassinate the US President during a visit to the region. He moved to Israel a year and a half ago, after which he passed himself off to Israeli acquaintances as a US Navy Seal commando.

The attack comes with tensions between Israelis and Palestinians running high because of a dispute over access to a major holy site in Jerusalem known to Jews as the Temple Mount and Muslims as al-Haram al-Sharif.

The CIA has been cleared of allegations of brutal interrogations of al-Qaeda suspects in the years after the 9/11 attacks on the US, a US Senate report has said.

Senate Report Clears CIAThe summary of the report, compiled by Republicans on the Senate Intelligence Committee, said the CIA had not misled Americans about what it was doing.

The information the CIA collected this way ensured several terrorist attempts were foiled, the report said. In a statement, the CIA insisted the interrogations had helped save lives.

"The intelligence gained from the programme was critical to our understanding of al-Qaeda and continues to inform our counterterrorism efforts to this day," director John Brennan said.

However a Council of Europe report in 2006 said it had pieced together details of a "spider's web of secret detentions and unlawful inter-state transfers", based on evidence from detainees' testimonies, flight plans and other publicly-available information. US intelligence agencies were accused of using "extraordinary rendition" to send terror suspects for questioning in countries where they had no legal protection or rights under American law. Some of the suspects claimed they had been tortured in countries such as Syria and Egypt.

Reaction from across the globe was one of combined outrage. German Chancellor Angela Merkel claimed that the CIA misled politicians and the public, giving inaccurate information to obtain approval for using torture techniques, and that the US Senate Report was a mere whitewash. "These techniques did significant damage to America's standing in the world and made it harder to pursue our interests with allies and partners. The result of this report will only make matters worse," she said.

The Russian President Vladimir Putin went further and claimed that none of the ".. 20 cases of counterterrorism "successes" quoted in the Senate report attributed to the techniques led to unique or otherwise unavailable intelligence".

Furthermore he stressed that the methods used included sleep deprivation for up to 180 hours, often standing or in painful positions, and that waterboarding was physically harmful to prisoners, causing convulsions and vomiting.

UK Prime Minister David Cameron said the issue had been "dealt with from a British perspective" but that torture was wrong. "After 9/11 there were things that happened that were wrong - and we should be clear about the fact they were wrong," he said.

On this day protestors at the Royal Navy's nuclear submarine Clyde Naval Base clashed with guards whilst chanting support for the Scotland Liberation Army. As the morning protest progressed, the scuffles around the main entrance would pale into insignificance once gunfire was heard some distance to the north.

Scotland Under Fire 5Although the situation was far from clear at first, it was discovered that four civilians dressed in military type gear had made their way through the security fence, along the northern parameter, and were caught heading towards the nuclear submarine pens. Demands for surrender were ignored and guards opened fire when one believed that a weapon was being drawn. Two of the infiltrators were killed whilst the other two were seriously wounded.

News of the incident quickly spread with the Murdoch owned media soon blaming the Scotland Liberation Army with trying to attack the naval base. The British Ministry of Defence did not help in the matter either by being evasive over the incident. The Scotland Liberation Army, however, immediately contacted all media outlets refuting that they were involved. In a statement read live on BBC Scotland, a masked spokesperson accused the Royal Navy of overacting to the protest and was using the SLA as an excuse to cover up their brutal shooting and murder of the protestors.

Prime Minister David Cameron, however, before confirming the accuracy of the media reports, immediately placed the British defence forces on full alert across the country with Scotland in particular. Consequentially, by midday, the remaining protestors at the Clyde Naval Base had been arrested, in front the cameras of several news agencies that had arrived on the scene after word about the shootings had become known. Most of the protestors, it was quickly reported, were arrested outside the base on public land which happened to be sovereign Scottish territory.

Upon viewing these images on television, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon immediately released a statement damning the arrest of the protestors and demanded that they be released. Furthermore Sturgeon wanted a full report on the shootings and that Scottish police were to be involved with the investigation. If military personal were found to have a case to answer, then they should be tried accordingly in the Scottish Courts.

It did not take long for Cameron to reject the demands of Sturgeon and declared in turn that the British military had been attacked and the "SLA Clyde Four", as they were christened by the Murdoch media, had now given the British Government the raison d'etre for military action in Scotland. Consequentially all military bases and units in Scotland would remain on alert until further notice regardless of the protestations which came from Holyrood.

On this day Prince Moses of Egypt and Israel vented his anger at a new biopic about his life when he went into self exile and led the people of Israel from Egypt, a statement released by his personal assistant said.

Moses Fury at New Movie"Half of the events depicted in this movie, which I am so disgusted by I will not name, are simply not true," demanded Moses.

"I find it deeply objectionable that I am depicted by a white coloured man when clearly I have an olive complexion.

"Similarly all the bad people, like thieves, assassins, and so forth, are depicted by black people. Be rest assured there were even more white scum running around Egypt in those days, than anyone else, so again I find this to be pathetic".

The Prince is not the only person who believes that the unnamable movie, Exodus: Gods and Kings,is greatly flawed on many levels and has a race problem.

In the weeks before "Exodus" opens, on December 12, a number of people, from African-American activists to Jewish journalists, have called for a boycott of the potential blockbuster. "As much as I love a good Bible movie, I'm going to go ahead and boycott this one," is a typical response from many such people.

Even the leader of ISIS, Abu Omar al-Baghdadi, in a rare sign of international cooperation, has declared a jihad against the movie and its production team.

In defence of his movie, Ridley Scott has attributed the casting of his film to pure marketing concerns: "I can't mount a film of this budget, where I have to rely on tax rebates in Spain, and say that my lead actor is Mohammad so-and-so from such-and-such. I'm just not going to get it financed.

So the question doesn't even come up".

In 2005, on this day the thirty-seventh President of the United States Eugene Joseph ("Gene") McCarthy passed away in Washington, D.C. He was eight-nine years old and had been suffering from complications from Parkinson's disease.

Passing of the NeedleWhile teaching at St. Thomas College in Minnesota, he became increasingly interested in politics and launched a successful campaign for a Democratic seat in the House of Representatives, where he served from 1949-1959. His genial nature and good humour made him a popular newcomer in the House, where his wit earned him the nickname "the Needle". But his Presidency was the accidental result of an acrimonious fall-out between Hubert Humphrey and Lyndon Baines Johnson during the 1960 election. As a result, Johnson developed an unwavering hatred for Humphrey that precluded any possibility of partnership four years later. And instead, McCarthy became the Vice Presidential nominee in 1964 in Humphrey's place.

Because McCarthy could not challenge Johnson in New Hampshire, the President continued his re-election efforts uncontested. But unfortunately for Johnson, the effort and stress of campaigning lead to his second heart attack, and this time the result was fatal. And so six months before the 1968 general election, McCarthy was sworn in as his successor. While President McCarthy attempted to reverse Johnson's Vietnam policies, his reputation among those opposed to the war was compromised by his connection to the Johnson Administration. In the end he lost the election to Richard Nixon and McCarthy's Presidency was viewed mostly as a continuation of the Johnson Administration. Among the shortest in American history, his tenure lasted slightly less than a year.

In 1906, Nieuw Nederlander President Theodore Rosevelt became the first American to win a Nobel Prize, awarded for his work surrounding the Treaty of Oude Dorp, which ended the Boer War. An article from the multi-author American Mini-states thread.

Dutch Courage Part 6Prior to his neutral intervention what had started out as a local struggle by Dutch farmers for autonomy within the British Empire had begun to escalate alarmingly into world-wide conflict. A danger point of no-return had approached when the German Kaiser issued an informal declaration of support for the two independent Boer republics, the Orange Free State and the Transvaal Republic. Inevitably this move was viewed by her rival Great Britain as a cynical ploy for the mineral wealth of South Africa.

Fortunately, the tensions building between the Great Powers were dissolved at talks on Staaten Eylandt. But during the discussions it became increasingly clear that the German monarch was pursuing his own personal agenda without the safeguard operation of regular order by the Imperial German Government. Further flashpoints could be expected to lead to war, and so Rosevelt the peace-maker began to nurture a new doctrine for protecting international security - the so-called "big stick".

In 1936, on this day at Fort Belvedere, Edward VIII's written abdication notice was witnessed by British Prime Minister Arnold Hiller. Less than a month before, he had expressed his desire to marry Wallis Simpson when she became free to re-marry.

The Right Honourable Arnold Hiller, M.P
A teaser by Ed, Jeff Provine & Chris Oakley
But within days, everything in Edward's life changed again [1] as he was horseback riding near Buckingham Palace. On Constitution Hill, Jerome Brannigan, an Irishman, produced an envelope for the King. Inside were letters, photographs, and various papers showing that Mrs. Simpson had been seeing, and doing more, with other men. The King became furious, and police escorted Brannigan away. While some modern historians suspect the documents were fabricated by MI5, they were treated as genuine at the time. Edward immediately broke relations with Mrs. Simpson through a letter and refused to receive her despite the many times she asked. In an action that had shown shocking discipline for the man who had left Oxford without a degree, the King searched through little-used law until he found grounds to banish Mrs. Simpson from Britain and the whole of the Empire. She would move to France and later be married to writer and painter Henry Miller for her third marriage.

However Hiller made sure that the revelation did for Edward as well, enabling him to join the posts of Head of State and Head of Government become Great Britain's National Leader. You can read read the latest part of Chris Oakley's timeline at The Right Honourable Arnold Hiller MP at Changing the Times Magazine.

In 1896, on this day Swedish-born Alfred Nobel left a legacy for six prizes. Nobel worried over his legacy as his life came to an end. In 1867, he patented dynamite, a stable form of nitroglycerine soaked into an absorbent.

Nobel Leaves Legacy for Six Prizes It was to be a great boon to mankind: a tool for excavation for construction, for demolition of dangerous structures, and for swift, safe digging to mine Earth's bounty as well as build roads for travel and commerce. Afterward, he had invented further explosives, such as gelignite (blasting gel) and the smokeless propellant ballistite. All of these great leaps forward for the human race were quickly adapted to military use, however. Ballistite would even cause newspapers to accuse Nobel of treason against France as the Italians changed their rifles to use his compound.

His real concern came as he learned of an obituary that had been written about him, mistaking his death for that of his brother Ludvig. A French newspaper wrote "the merchant of death is dead" and said that he had become "rich by finding ways to kill more people faster than ever before". His patents for artificial silk, artificial leather, and other improvements were never mentioned. A lifetime of devotion to invention had made him out to be a monster. To rectify this, he wrote his last will and testament in 1895, one year before his death by stroke, dedicating 94% of his vast fortune to a foundation to give out prizes in physics, chemistry, medicine & physiology, literature, and peace (supposedly brought on by his long relationship with the pacifist countess Bertha Kinsky, who had married another man). While writing at the Swedish-Norwegian Club in Paris, someone remarked that he had great notions of working toward the betterment of man, but nothing to study what the betterment was. His formulation of the literary prize was for works "in an ideal direction", though it now seemed that the direction needed definition. To fill the gap, Nobel decided to add a sixth prize for the "sciences of society".

In 1901, the prizes began (Austrian Sigmund Freud winning the first Social Science prize for his Interpretation of Dreams) and have continued yearly since. By 1906, however, it became obvious that the Prize for Social Science had unleashed a hailstorm of new ideas when Max Weber received the prize for discussions in his essay, "The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism". The secularization and depth of scientific study of people in society had suddenly become very real to the largely Edwardian Western culture. In 1913, ?mile Durkheim won in recognition of his comparisons of aboriginal societies to modern ones, giving further clout to the in-depth study of humanity as one would study the laws of gravity.

There would be many winners of the Social Science prize over the years in fields as diverse as economics, psychology, education theory, legal and political science, and behavioral science. Along with the progression encouraged by the growth of material and social benefits, there has been a good deal of questioning the morality of treating humans as Petri dish. B. F. Skinner's win in 1953 would cause many to suspect that it would only be a matter of time before humans were reduced to robots under an artificial paternalism. Encouragement from the Peace Prize and discoveries lauded in physics, chemistry, and medicine along with social commentary from Literature kept the prestige of the Nobel prizes strong.

Even with the fears of 1984 and A Clockwork Orange, it is evident that the Prize for Social Science has made positive impact on humanity. Following the act-reward programming for international diplomacy and the UN's Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the world has been studied and organized into all but eliminating starvation and death from preventable disease. On the other hand, opponents argue that the majority of the human race has been turned to salary-slave consumer-addicts, continually chasing upward mobility while enjoying momentary vicarious pleasures from politico-industrial sponsored sporting events and taking in well clad palatable pop-science as hope (or fear) for the future. Some naysayers of the naysayers ask simply, "What's wrong with that?"

In 2010, on this day Andrew Beane wrote ~ the gloves are off .. and the rubber gloves are on at the nation's airports and bus stops. Starting today, the Transportation Security Administration of America began implementing full body cavity searches for all passengers on both domestic and international flights. Random body cavity searches are also being conducted at various bus stations around the country. The reaction of the traveling population has not been pretty.

Gloves are offIn Tampa, Florida, the father of a thirteen-year-old child was arrested for assaulting a TSA agent who insisted on performing a cavity search on the child. In Augusta, Maine, every bus at the Greyhound station sat empty as passengers protested the searches. In Los Angeles, a Delta Airlines flight took off with only one passenger. Upon landing, the passenger said that after twenty years in prison, the search did not bother him in the least.

The heightened security measures came after the November 23rd attempted bombing of Lufthansa flight 912 by Yemeni terror suspect Hakim al-Assad. Assad, known as the "butt bomber" in the blogosphere, attempted to detonate an egg-sized capsule filled with plastic explosives that was inserted in his rectum. He was restrained by fellow passengers when he failed to detonate the device by cell phone while flight attendance repeatedly instructed him to put the phone away.

President Obama told the nation that though the new security measure seem extreme, they are necessary in making sure America?s skies are safe and secure. Conservative radio personality Glenn Beck was quoted as saying "President Obama should not make such positive comments about this new procedure until he, too, goes through such a search".

Anger over the new security measures has caused an immediate drop in ticket sales, as the Christmas traveling season looms just over the horizon. Some analysts fear that commercial transportation could grind to a halt, with courts doing the same as lawsuits against TSA and other security agencies tie up the legal system.

In 2009, on this day movie director Ken Loach started filming on his movie adaptation of the 1973 Alistair MacLean Vietnam-themed novel Searching For Albert. The much-anticipated and highly controversial epic, whose cast was headlined by former soccer star-turned-action hero Vinnie Jones, focused on an SAS squad probing the Mekong Delta for their missing comrade.

Searching For AlbertGiven that almost three thousand British servicemen had died during the Vietnam War, it was perhaps inevitable that Albert would arouse strong passions both for and against it. Two Facebook pages, one calling for a boycott of the movie and the other urging people to see it, each registered over 100,000 hits within three days after they went online. (The movie's official website recorded 85,000 hits in its first week.)

A new thread by Chris OakleyPaddy Ashdown, head of Britain's largest Vietnam veterans' association, denounced the makers of the movie as "vultures" and promised to lead nationwide protests against it when it was released. However, one of his fellow vets, Boothberry MP David Davis, defended Albert as "a valuable reminder of the horrors of war". The ongoing debate between Ashdown and Davis recalled the controversy stirred up by the original novel, which was first published in 1973 just as popular outrage over the British presence in that country was hitting its peak. British troops had first been deployed to Vietnam in 1967 at the behest of then-prime minister Harold Wilson, who made the decision to enter the war as a sign of support for the United States after the U.S. helped shore up the British pound; Wilson's successor, Ted Heath, continued Britain's troop commitment in return for U.S. backing of British intervention in the Rhodesian Bush War. Indeed, British combat forces would stay in Vietnam long after the last U.S. servicemen had gone home-- during the final NVA/Viet Cong assault on Saigon in 1975, a detachment of Royal Marines fought side by side with South Vietnamese units in a last-ditch defense of South Vietnam's capital.

In 2009, on this day the movie "Avatar" premiered in cinema theatres across North America. Loosely based on the narrative of Joseph Conrad's novella "Heart of Darkness", the action/adventure of this blockbuster movie is relocated on the Earth-like planet of Pandora, set one hundred and fifty years in the future.
Click to watch the trailer.

Movie Premiere of "Avatar"Instead of genocidal Belgians murdering Africans for elephant tusks in the Congo, James Cameron's movie places "the haters" in conflict with the Na'vi, but these n-words are a blue-skinned species of sapient humanoids with feline characteristics. "Killing the indigenous population looks bad, but if there's one thing the shareholders hate more than bad press, it's a bad quarterly statement"And much like Conrad's novel, the underlying drivers are unchanged, predicated upon the pursuit of "unobtanium", a precious metal worth $20 million per kilogram. In a dramatic scene, the "Home Tree" of the Na'vi is destroyed to the music of Wagner - because it is located directly on top of a huge location of unobtanium. "Imagine all that chowder!" justifies Parker Selfridge, the insane corporate administrator for the RDA mining operation and a character clearly based on Conrad's rogue trader, Kurtz.

Selfridge is not the only character suspected of "getting lost in the woods". Reprising the tragic role of Conrad's hero Marlow, Jake Sulley is a US marine sent to Pandora to locate his renegade brother, Tommy. Suspected of "going native", the climax reveals that Tommy (pictured) has actually mutated into a Na'vi by transmigrating his human soul into an Avatar.

In 2009, on this day US President Barack Obama accepted the Nobel Peace Prize less than one month after Taliban insurgents finally overthrew the stooge Afghan Government installed by his predecessor, George W. Bush.

Toast to PeaceOn October 9th the Norwegian Nobel Committee had announced that Obama had won the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize "for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples". By that time, the President had refocused the Afghan mission on reconciliation projects, aimed at ending the war through diplomatic and political means. In so doing, Obama had abandoned the failed attempt to bring the leaders of the 9/11 attacks to justice. And by that stage, the objective of bringing "sustainable security to the people of Afghanistan" was almost universally considered unachievable.

In his acceptance speech, Obama openly acknowledged that he did not feel that he deserved to be in the company of so many transformative figures that have been honoured by this prize.

In 2009, former U.S. President Al Gore accepted the Nobel Peace Prize for his actions in support of measures to combat global climate change, which include persuading a bitterly divided U.S. Senate to ratify the Kyoto Protocols in 2003 and directing tens of billions of dollars in federal money toward the development of so-called "green" energy technologies.

Gore Wins Nobel Peace PrizeConservatives in the United States are outraged, asserting that Gore is being rewarded for promoting "harmful solutions to a nonexistent problem".

A story by Eric LippsAmong the loudest critics is former Texas governor George W. Bush, whom Gore had defeated in the contested 2000 presidential election after Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy cast the deciding vote in Bush v. Gore which allowed manual recounting of disputed ballots in Florida to proceed. Mr. Bush had been a frequent critic of Gore Administration policies and had emerged as an outspoken skeptic on the subject of human-caused global warming.

In 2010, on this day a U.S. passenger airliner lands in Vietnam, at Hanoi's International Airport. It is the first such landing since the fall of Saigon in 1975 ended in the Vietnam War.Hanoi Horror by Eric Lipps

Before any passengers can disembark, however, a powerful bomb explodes, igniting the aircraft's engines and incinerating the plane in an explosion whose resultant fireball is visible for miles. It will latter be determined by forensic examiners that the bomb had employed military-grade explosive, giving rise to a variety of conspiracy theories spanning the political spectrum. Those theories are not quashed by the immediate attempt by Al Qaeda to take responsibility for the attack, because several other terrorist groups, including Islamic Jihad and Indonesia's Tamil Tigers, will also boast of being behind it.

Only in 2018 will it be learned that a previously unknown radical South Vietnamese group had planned and carried out the bombing with the intent of derailing normalization of U.S.-Vietnamese relations. The group, it will be learned, had the aid of revanchist U.S. military personnel, who provided the explosives and some technical assistance but who were told the target would be a Chinese plane rather than an American one and that the objective was to destabilize the Hanoi regime by provoking a military confrontation with Beijing.

The duplicitous scheme works, prompting President John McCain to sever all ties with Hanoi, setting relations between the U.S. and Vietnam back essentially to where they had been at war's end. Even after the true identity of the bombers is revealed, it will be years before another American passenger plane lands in Vietnam.

In 1960, on this day two New York Department of Corrections officers were suspended without pay after evidence surfaced that they had used excessive force in disciplining an inmate who was serving time at Rikers Island for stealing fuel supplies shortly after the Jamaica Bay hurricane.

NYC Department
NYC Department - of Corrections
of Corrections

On this day in 1944, American troops accepted the surrender of the last surviving German forces in Munich.

 -

In 2001, following a third hostile column by conservative pundit Wiliam Safire regarding his alleged lack of action against Al Qaeda, President Gore learns that the columnist was apparently tipped off about the CIA's Afghan operation by someone within his administration shortly after his November 27 column appeared.

 - Al Gore
Al Gore

The President is livid, not only at the security breach but at the implication that columnist Safire, who had been outspokenly in favor of his Republican opponent George W. Bush during the 2000 election, has deliberately chosen to rake him for inaction while knowing that his accusation was false.

Gore immediately orders a hunt for the columnist's source. In addition, he asks the White House counsel to determine whether legal action can be taken against Safire himself.

On this day in 1958, Sandy Koufax scored his 750th NBA career point in a 107-93 Celtics win over the Philadelphia Warriors at Boston Garden.

 - Sandy Koufax
Sandy Koufax

"Sitting in the morning sun I'll be sitting when the evening comes. Watching the ships roll in then I watch 'em roll away a-gain, yeah. I'm Sitting on the dock of the bay watching the tide roll a-way
I'm just sitting on the dock of the bay wasting time" ~ Otis Redding.

Madison, Wisconsin on December 10, 1967 ~

Sitting on the
Sitting on the - Dock of the Bay
Dock of the Bay

Five of the six members of Redding's backup band, The Bar-Kays, were killed when Redding's twin engine Beechcraft plane crashed into the icy waters of the Squaw Bay area of Lake Monona.

Redding, who had swapped seats with Ben Cauley and was sitting directly behind the co-pilot's seat, had fallen asleep on the flight clutching his seat cushion. He awoke when he realized he could not breathe. He said that he then saw band mate Phalon Jones look out of a window and say 'Oh, no.' Redding then unbuckled his safety belt which ultimately allowed him to separate himself from the wreckage. As the impact tore a wing off the small Beechcraft, the fuselage was torn open and Redding was able to bob to the surface as he clutched his seat cushion. Bassist James Alexander survived because he had taken a different flight as there was not enough room left on the plane.

Big O had been warning fellow artists that he was 'planning to leave this world', which seemed on first listening to be the meaning of 'Sitting on the Dock of the Bay' recorded only three days prior to the crash.

However, the song was Big O's first number #1, Redding's greatest commercial success, representing a significant stylistic departure from the bulk of his other work. The inner meaning of the song was Redding talking about leaving the world of gospel and rhythm & blues at Lyrics Vault.

In 1843, an old and bitter miser encountered Ignorance and Want. And something else too. Redemption.
In 1977, during Internation Human Rights Day, Comrade President John Anderson orders the arrest of counter-revolutionary dissidents who had staged a sit-in protest in the Washington Mall. The move is a black eye for the Soviet States in world opinion.
In 1964, Martin Luther King, Jr., in an attempt to make the majority of Americans realize the plight being faced by African and Semitic people across the globe, leads the march of hundreds of thousands of people on Washington, D.C. Although entirely peaceful, President Strom Thurmond has the National Guard keep its guns trained on the march throughout the long, cold day.
In 1963, a tragic scenario played out as the worlds of crime and entertainment mixed. Frank Sinatra, Jr., son of the celebrated singer, was kidnapped at gunpoint as he was staying at Harrah's Casino, and driven to California. The elder Sinatra received the call from the kidnappers, and offered to pay them the $250,000 they were asking. Unfortunately, once the money changed hands, the kidnappers shot father and son, ending the life of the legend and reducing the younger Sinatra to a paraplegic.
In 1869, Wyoming becomes the first state to grant men the right to vote. President Victoria Woodhull calls it a mistake, noting that 'the savage nature of our beloved men little lends itself to the careful consideration that politics requires.'
In 1817, the Chippewa people joined the North American Confederation, extending the great nation halfway across the continent. With the addition of the Mississippi River to their lands, the N.A.C. had millions of acres of good farm land, and this marked the beginning of their rise as a great power in the world.


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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.