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[[EDITOR'S NOTE: Unless otherwise noted, historical items appear courtesy of longtime Nevada reporter Dennis Myers' Poor Denny's Almanac. [PDA] Items highlighted in blue are of particular interest to labor. Copyright © 2007 Dennis Myers.]]

Recent BARBWIRE Media Hits
and Ego Trips

   The Dean of Reno Bloggers could very well be Andrew Barbano, self-described "fighter of public demons," who started putting his "Barbwire" columns online in 1996 and now runs 10 sites.
      RENO NEWS & REVIEW, 11-9-2006

"Our long national nightmare is over."
Did I say that a dozen years ago?
CORY FARLEY, RGJ, 11-10-2006

BARBANO: Nevada's newly-hiked minimum wage is nowhere near enough
Reno Gazette-Journal, 11-11-2006

Oregon State U. minimum wage deflator

Time to bring back NAGPAC?
CORY FARLEY, RGJ, 8-1-2006

UPDATE: Feb. 28, 2007, 8:55 a.m PST, 16:55 GMT/SUT — On Feb. 28, 1993, a gun battle erupted near Waco, Texas, when Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms agents tried to serve warrants on the Branch Davidians; four agents and six Davidians were killed as a 51-day standoff began. [New York Times/AP e-headlines]

On this date in 1574, the Inquisition, now operating in the new world, burned two men at the stake in Mexico for the crime of Lutheranism; in 1865, Storey County Senator Charles Sumner presented a petition to the senate urging "passage of a law allowing blacks and mulattoes [to] testify in the courts of justice of this State"; in 1898, Hugh O'Flaherty, an Irish Catholic priest who organized an operation that rescued and secreted at least 3925 Allied prisoners and Jews in Nazi-occupied Rome, was born in Cahersiveen, Ireland (O'Flaherty received the Order of the British Empire and the U.S. Medal of Freedom, but in his native Ireland is remembered only with a grove of trees in Killarney National Park; see below); in 1903, the Nevada State Journal editorialized that "just is his [U.S. Senator Ben Tillman's] observation that the President has no moral right to outrage the sentiment of almost the entire white population of the south by appointing obnoxious negroes among them"; in 1910, a mob in Mina tarred and feathered a man named Tony Leyden, who the mobsters suspected of arson and other misdeeds (Leyden staggered to Luning); in 1919, Gandhi founded the Satyagraha Sabha whose members peacefully violated the law of sedition (satyagraha combines two Hindu words, one meaning truth, the other meaning to hold firm, a philosophy of nonviolence that is not passive, like pacifism, but forceful); in 1933, Nazi claims that the Reichstag fire was set by communists prompted a gullible President Paul Von Hindenburg to issue a decree placing emergency powers in the hands of Chancellor Adolf Hitler (an even more gullible Associated Press reported the nazi claims as fact: "Evidence uncovered today indicated that the reichstag fire, which left the main hall of the legislative building a mass of charred ruins, but which spared the library of the historic edifice, was deliberately set by a Dutch communist named An Der Luebbe [Marinus van der Lubbe], acting in concert with a number of other conspirators); in 1941, Alice Brock was born (you can get anything you want at Alice's restaurant); in 1943, the federal war relocation center in Topaz, Utah, notified Nevada Governor Edward Carville that it would provide 100 Japanese Americans evacuated from the west coast to assist Moapa farmers with their tomato crop, but Carville, to the farmers' consternation, objected to the entry of the evacuees into Nevada; in 1944, the Gestapo raided the ten Boom family home in Haarlem in the Netherlands, arresting 30 Dutch resistance workers and members of the family but missing the Jews hidden there; in 1955, a group of Israeli commandos attacked and destroyed an Egyptian military camp near the town of Gaza on the Gaza strip, an unprovoked attack (in an area that rarely saw violence) that Danish, Belgian and Swedish investigators later condemned as a "shocking outrage of extreme gravity and a clear provocation to the Egyptian military forces" and that set off an arms race between Egypt and Israel; in 1986, former Swedish Prime Minister Olaf Palme, a hero to U.S. troops and peace activists for opposing the Vietnam war and providing a refuge in Sweden for war objectors, and for his criticism of Soviet suppression of the Czech uprising, was assassinated in Stockholm; in 1989, the Nevada/Semipalatnisk Movement to Stop All Nuclear Testing was started in Russia, inspired by 1980's anti-nuclear protests at the Nevada Test Site.

Hugh O'Flaherty's Trees
by Brendan Kennelly

There is a tree called freedom and it grows
Somewhere in the hearts of men,
Rain falls, ice freezes, wind blows,
The tree shivers, steadies itself again,

Steadies itself like Hugh O'Flaherty's hand,
Guiding trapped and hunted people, day and night,
To what all hearts love and understand,
The tree of freedom upright in the light.

Mediterranean Palm, Italian Cypress, Holm Oak, Stone Pine;
A peaceful grove in honour of that man,
Commemorates all who struggle to be free.
The hurried world is a slave of time,
Wise men are victims of their shrewdest plans.


UPDATE: Feb. 27, 2007, 6:55 a.m PST, 14:55 GMT/SUT — On Feb. 27, 1897, England's prime minister recognized the authority of the United States over the western hempshere (neglecting to check with the other hemispheric nations, which did not agree); in 1898, the Nevada State Journal raised the issue of the 35 year-old debt supposedly owed by the U.S. government to Nevada for the cost of fighting against state tribes during the civil war: "As there is now a probability of an appropriation being made for the payment of those claims, as several States are interested in the passage of the bill, the press of the State should agitate the subject and publish facts from old settlers relative to the manner in which the depredations were committed and the hardships endured by reason of the loss of their cattle, and provisions and the burning of their houses by hostile Indians."; in 1920, Woodrow Wilson set a pattern for U.S. presidents by rebuffing a friendly overture from the Soviet Union; in 1933, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ray Wilbur, in a letter to U.S. Senator Tasker Oddie of Nevada, said plans to make Boulder City a virtual military reservation (which Oddie opposed) were made necessary by permissive "Nevada law and customs" involving liquor, prostitution and gambling; in 1933, the Nevada Senate approved a $4 a day minimum wage (the Assembly had passed a $5 version of the bill); in 1934, Ralph Nader, named by Time magazine as one of the 100 most influential people of the 20th century, was born in Connecticut; in 1937, it was announced that the workforce of the U.S. Forest Service work camp funded by the Works Progress Administration at Galena Creek south of Reno would be cut from 206 men to 78; in 1937, in the Nevada Supreme Court, attorney George Marshall, representing Lieutenant Governor Fred Alward, attacked price fixing by the Clark County Bar Association as part of his defense of Alward for accepting $44 instead of $100 for a divorce action; in 1939, the NBC Radio series I Love A Mystery began a month-long serial The Case Of The Nevada Cougar about killings at a Nevada gold mine; in 1956, Little Richard's Slippin' and Slidin' b/w Long Tall Sally was released; in 1962, a coup was attempted against Saigon dictator Ngo Dinh Diem, during which what may have occurrred the first death of a U.S. citizen in Vietnam; in 1964, heavyweight champion Cassius Clay confirmed that he had converted to Islam (the World Boxing Association suspended him because his conversion was "conduct detrimental to the best interests of boxing" but state boxing regulators declined to honor the suspension); in 1964, the Peter and Gordon recording of Lennon/McCartney's World Without Love was released; in 1970, The New York Times reported the U.S. army had ended its domestic surveillance program, which was not true; in 2003, Mr. Rogers died.

UPDATE: Feb. 26, 2007, 7:23 a.m. PST, 15:23 GMT/SUT — On Feb. 26, 1993, a bomb exploded in the garage of New York's World Trade Center, killing six people and injuring more than 1,000 others. [New York Times/AP e-headlines]

On Feb. 26, 1616, Catholic Cardinal Robert Bellarmine warned Galileo Galilei not to hold Copernican opinions, or to defend or teach them; in 1863, the Cherokee Indian National Council, which seceded from the union with the south, now seceded from the Confederacy to rejoin the union; in 1877, at a meeting at Wormley's Hotel in Washington, Republican and Democratic congressional leaders carved up the winner of the 1876 presidential election, Samuel Tilden, and agreed to appoint the loser, Rutherford Hayes, as president, a case of the winner of both the popular and the electoral votes being deprived of the presidential office; in 1899, a day after the Nevada Assembly used a bill making changes in the Purity of Elections Law for an amendment repealing the Purity of Elections Law, the Nevada State Journal called the maneuver "a cowardly, sneaking and most contemptible method of killing a bill"; in 1915, the Nevada Legislature approved measures to disincorporate Virginia City, Gold Hill and Austin; in 1923, Bessie Smith recorded Gulf Coast Blues for Columbia Records; in 1927, the Las Vegas Review published an extra after a U.S. Senate cloture motion failed to muster the two thirds vote needed to break a filibuster against the Boulder Dam bill, killing it for the year; in 1928, Antoine "Fats" Domino was born in New Orleans; in 1937, the Idaho House of Representatives approved a $15,000 appropriation for an investigation of the state government of Nevada's water permitting on the Salmon River watershed in Elko County; in 1937, the Reno Central Trades and Labor Council sent wires to President Franklin Roosevelt and the members of the Nevada congressional delegation demanding that only Nevada workers be employed on the construction of Boca Dam in California; in 1969, physicians Stanley Ames and Louis Tyrer spoke on the medical features of abortion before an audience of ministers at the Clergy Counseling Center (a Las Vegas association created to counsel women on alternatives to abortion or, when unable to dissuade them, to aid them to obtain safe abortions); On Feb. 26, 1969, in the half-finished showroom of the International Hotel in Las Vegas, Elvis signed a contract to appear at the hotel when it opened, marking his return to live performance for the first time in nine years [EDITOR'S NOTE: Future Assemblyman Bob Price, D-North Las Vegas, worked as an electrician (IBEW Local 357) on that job and still has his lunch pail signed by Elvis during that construction];

UPDATE in Memoriam
Bob Price, hall of fame Nevada lawmaker, union man and lifelong critic of casino corporate welfare, died 4 Jan. 2019
Las Vegas assemblymember tried to stop casino campaign contributions and paid the price.
Guitarist and friend of Elvis was 82

in 1969, two professors and a grad student were the speakers at a campus forum on Vietnam at the University of Nevada in Las Vegas; in 1997, thirt- three years after their arrival in the U.S., The Beatles won three Grammys (Best music video/long form, best music video/short form, and best pop performance by a duo or group); in 1998, the U.S. refused entry to an international weapons inspection team seeking to determine whether there were weapons of mass destruction at the submarine base at Bangor, Washington; in 1998, the first of the gullible Judith Miller's "news" stories claiming that Iraq was in the weapons of mass destruction business appeared in The New York Times, the start of a years-long series that stenographically reported all kinds of official U.S. claims, but failed to subject them to scrutiny and trivialized or ignored conflicting contentions, culminating in an unsavory batch of 2003 stories that aided the Bush administration's propaganda push which led to war; in 2001, the government of Afghanistan ordered the destruction of Buddha images in the country, some of them dating back centuries; in 2003, in a message to a joint session of the houses of the Nevada Legislature, Nevada Chief Justice Deborah Agosti called on the lawmakers to fund efforts to bring the state supreme court into the computer and digital age.

UPDATE: Feb. 25, 2007, 1:59 a.m. PST, 9:59 GMT/SUT — On Feb, 25, 1570, in his Regnans in Excelsis ("ruling from on high") bull, Pope Pius V released Britons from allegiance to Queen Elizabeth (thus subjecting English Catholics to suspicion of their national loyalties) and also excommunicated her; in 1880, the Nevada Southern Railroad (an extension of the Nevada Central from Ledlie Station to Cloverdale) and Nevada Northern Railroad (from Battle Mountain to the Idaho line) corporations were organized; in 1893, the Lyon County Times reported that horses on a local ranch had died of charbon (anthrax); in 1937, the Nevada State Journal published a letter from former interim Nevada district judge George Brown to U.S. Senator Key Pittman denouncing President Roosevelt's supreme court packing plan (the next day, the Journal published Pittman's reply supporting the FDR plan); in 1949, actor Robert Mitchum completed his two-month sentence for marijuana possession; in 1957, The Crickets recorded That'll Be the Day; in 1963, Vee Jay Records, the home label of The Four Seasons, released a record it licensed from Britain: Please Please Me b/w Ask Me Why by The Beatles (it stayed in the record stores by the tens of thousands); in 1964, Cassius Clay won the heavyweight championship from Sonny Liston when Liston refused to answer the bell for the seventh round (Clay fought round five blind after Liston allegedly juiced his gloves); in 1967, in a speech at a Nation Institute conference in Los Angeles, Martin Luther King, Jr., broke with the Johnson administration on Vietnam (Lyndon Johnson promptly ordered stepped-up FBI activities against King); in 1969, small counties Senator James Slattery, an extreme conservative Republican who served in the legislature during the governorships of Charles Russell, Grant Sawyer and Paul Laxalt, said the most effective governor he had seen was Sawyer (Sawyer did not return the admiration, criticizing Slattery in his autobiography); in 1969, Senator Warren Magnuson, D-Wash., labor unions, and competing airlines all called for tough scrutiny of Howard Hughes' proposed acquisition of Air West airlines (which, under Hughes‚ ownership, became known as Air Worst); in 1969, an avalanche on Mt. Charleston pushed a home containing a mother and her nine year old son down a hill and buried it under tons of snow; in 1969, Assemblymember Harry Reid introduced a package of five bills to invest customers with control of the local telephone company in Las Vegas; in 1974, a federal grand jury in Washington secretly named President Nixon as an unindicted co-conspirator in the Watergate coverup, a decision that has never actually been disclosed to the public by federal officials but was disclosed in a leak on June 6 by The Los Angeles Times; in 1986, "people power" street protests overthrew Phillippine dictator Ferdinand Marcos and installed popularly elected Corazon Aquino as president; in 1996, Imelda Marcos marked the tenth anniversary of the Phillippine revolution by offering a prayer for the secrecy of Swiss banks (I'm not making this up — see below); in 2003, Army Chief of Staff Eric Shinseki testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee that "something in the order of several hundred thousand soldiers" would be needed in a postwar Iraq occupation. For his trouble he was publicly derided by Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld — "it's not logical to me that it would take as many forces following the conflict as it would to win the war" — and his deputy Paul Wolfowitz ("quite outlandish"). Shinseki was ostracized and retired from the military 14 weeks later amid anger in the military about Rumsfeld's contempt for the professional officer corps.

Imelda Marcos: May the Lord enlighten ... the Swiss banks, that they might uphold justice and preserve the integrity of their own laws and the laws of confidentiality, trust and basic decency between the banks and their clients.

Recent BARBWIRE Media Hits
and Ego Trips

   The Dean of Reno Bloggers could very well be Andrew Barbano, self-described "fighter of public demons," who started putting his "Barbwire" columns online in 1996 and now runs 10 sites.
      RENO NEWS & REVIEW, 11-9-2006

"Our long national nightmare is over."
Did I say that a dozen years ago?
CORY FARLEY, RGJ, 11-10-2006

BARBANO: Nevada's newly-hiked minimum wage is nowhere near enough
Reno Gazette-Journal, 11-11-2006

Oregon State U. minimum wage deflator

Time to bring back NAGPAC?
CORY FARLEY, RGJ, 8-1-2006

UPDATE: Feb. 24, 2007, 8:22 p.m. PST, 04:22 2-25-2007 GMT/SUT — On Feb. 24 , 1208, twenty-six year-old Francis of Assisi decided to become a priest; in 1803, the U.S. Supreme Court released its decision in Marbury vs. Madison, establishing the power of judicial review of laws; in 1868, the U.S. House of Representatives impeached President Andrew Johnson; in 1866, the Nevada state seal, designed in 1864, was adopted by the state legislature; in 1904, a day after U.S. Senator Francis Newlands of Nevada voted against the Panama Canal treaty, the Carson City News labeled him a traitor and called for his tarring and feathering; in 1912, Elizabeth Gurley Flynn led 20,000 textile workers in the "Bread and Roses" strike (opposed by the AFL) in Lowell, Massachusetts; in 1912, Christian Wellesley and Josephine Callicott were married in New York City (Wellesley, an English lord, would go to Reno in 1933 for a divorce and stay to become a tax resident); in 1917, Woodrow Wilson made public the decoded Zimmerman telegram sent from the German foreign secretary to the German ambassador in Mexico, offering Mexico restoration of land taken by U.S. aggression in the Mexican war if Mexico entered the First World War on Germany's side; in 1918, manganese mining in Las Vegas was becoming a major part of the city's economy, with about 60 tons of ore hauled each day by motor truck (a Caterpillar taking 20 tons daily, a White truck 20 tons, Jeffries quad 10 tons and Peerless truck 12 tons), team-drawn wagons having been discontinued and expectations of railroad construction; in 1927, the Las Vegas chamber of commerce arranged with the telephone company for the installation of a pay phone at the Union Pacific station; in 1933, a small airplane was flying over Brooklyn when its engine stalled and pilot Jerry Longobardi made a hard landing atop a flat topped apartment building, coming to a stop with the nose and wheels over the edge of the roof; in 1933, Senator Albert Henderson of Clark County introduced legislation requiring businesses to pay of workers in money and not in scrip redeemable only at the company store, a measure to address abuses on the Hoover Dam project; in 1939, an Omaha resident wrote a letter to the editor to a Reno newspaper noting that Las Vegas merited a full page in the rotogravure section of the Omaha World Herald and demanding to know why the Reno Chamber of Commerce had not gotten such coverage of Reno; in 1957, Reese River Reveille publisher Jock Taylor was elected president of the Nevada Press Association, succeeding the Las Vegas Sun's Hank Greenspun; in 1965, District 1199 Health Care Workers in Wisconsin became the first known labor union to oppose the war in Vietnam (1199 came out against the proposed Iraq war on October 22d 2002); in 1969, twenty workers on the Nevada Test Site were stranded on Pahute Mesa (4071 feet low elevation to 7575 feet high elevation) in a blizzard; in 1982, John (posthumously) and Yoko received the album of the year Grammy for Double Fantasy; in 1983, the Reagan administration announced that it had classified three Canadian environmental documentaries (including the Oscar-winning If You Love This Planet) as "political propaganda" whose distribution in the United States would be "monitored" by the Justice Department; in 2003, John Darren Smith of an undisclosed Nevada community, died in Kuwait.

UPDATE: Feb. 23, 2007, 12:01 a.m. PST, 0:01 GMT/SUT — On this date in 1455, (traditional date) Johannes Gutenberg began work on the first printed book, the Bible; in 1836, 145 northern Mexicans rebelling against the abolition of slavery in Mexico barricaded themselves inside the Alamo where they were beseiged for 13 days by the forces of General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna; in 1848, U.S. Representative John Quincy Adams of Massachusetts, an antiwar leader, died without seeing the Mexican war end; in 1865, Nevada Governor Henry Blasdel, an opponent of gambling, nevertheless signed a bill lowering the penalties for gambling; in 1869, Governor Blasdel signed legislation providing for the construction of a Nevada state capitol; in 1883, Naches harvested the wheat at his Lovelock ranch and had it milled at Kemler's mill, receiving forty sacks of flour which he distributed among the tribal members who assisted him, prompting Winnemucca's Silver State to observe that "he is more generous to the red men than the Great Father at Washington and the Piutes think a great deal more of him than of the Chiefs of the Indian Bureau, who keep the lion's share of the money appropriated for their support"; in 1883, the Nevada State Journal wrote "The Western Union Company is in trouble with the citizens of Elko by an attempt to appropriate the streets for a line of poles. The company was ordered to desist upon pain of summary proceedings by the outraged citizens."; in 1933, Las Vegans were mobilizing to try to rescue four people stranded in heavy snows in the Groom mining district (now Area 51); in 1940, Woody Guthrie wrote This Land Is Your Land; in 1946, in Seattle, Paul Robeson expressed optimism over racial relations, opposed the armed services‚ segregation policies, said African-Americans had begun losing some of the gains they made during the war, and said black workers were better able to advance because of labor unions; in 1966, the U.S. announced that 13 percent of the South Vietnamese army had deserted in the previous calender year; in 1969, Gary Judd of Las Vegas died in Quang Nam province, Vietnam; in 1981, Spaniards watched a coup attempt on television for 18 hours as right wing military officers seized parliament but were defeated when King Juan Carlos stood against the conspirators; in 1988, the Chicago Cubs won their fight for permitting to install lights for night games; in 1993, the African Burial Ground, a colonial era cemetery for slave and free blacks unearthed in 1991 during excavation for a planned federal building at 290 Broadway in New York City, was declared a historical landmark administered by the U.S. General Services Administration; in 2001, a federal appeals court upheld rulings that the U.S. government has mismanaged funds held in trust for Native American tribes.

UPDATE: Feb. 22, 2007, 3:53 a.m. PST, 11:53 GMT/SUT — On Feb. 22, 1980, in a stunning upset, the United States Olympic hockey team defeated the Soviets at Lake Placid, N.Y., 4-to-3. (The U.S. team went on to win the gold medal.) [New York Times/AP e-headlines]

On Feb. 22, 1873, the SS Nevada, formerly the Paou Shan, arrived in San Francisco; in 1879, Frank Woolworth opened the Great 5 Cents Store in Utica, New York; in 1902, Indian Agent Fred Spriggs denied that there was smallpox on the Pyramid Lake reservation and also denied that there was a quarantine in force; in 1915, former Nevada lieutenant governor Gilbert Ross presided at the dedication of the Nevada pavilion at the Panama-Pacific Exposition in San Francisco, with 200 Nevadans in attendance; in 1918, as the Wilson administration's Palmer raids on political leftists were about to begin, Cronaca Sovversiva, an influential political newspaper published in Lynn, Massachusetts, was raided and shut down, its files seized, its supporters (including Sacco and Vanzetti) arrested and in some cases deported, its editors deported; in 1930, four-time Emmy winning singer Marni Nixon (the actual singing voice of Margaret O‚Brien in The Secret Garden, Deborah Kerr in The King and I, Natalie Wood in West Side Story, Audrey Hepburn in My Fair Lady) was born in Altadena, California; in 1937, Nevada Assembly Speaker William Kennett returned to his duty of presiding over the assembly after several days convalescing in Washoe General Hospital from a heart attack; in 1949, federal judge Roger Foley sentenced Las Vegas casino owner Robert Kaltenborn (Jackpot Club) to serve six months in a road camp in Arizona and pay a $2,000 fine for income tax evasion; in 1949, plans were announced for three million dollars in construction in Gerlach, with a 44-unit housing project, a United States Gypsum Company factory, a sewer system, telephone facilities and an electric distribution system; in 1956, Elvis' Heartbreak Hotel entered the top ten; in 1963, Lennon and McCartney formed Northern Songs as the publisher of their own songs; in 1965, after Malcolm X's assassination, The New York Times published an editorial suggesting that he had brought it on himself; in 1965, actor Pernell Roberts worked his last day as "Adam Cartwright" on the Bonanza television program, set in Nevada; in 1964, "We even enjoyed the work," George Harrison said as the Beatles departed the United States, leaving the world of U.S. music changed forever; in 1964, Temple Sinai in Reno got its first rabbi, author Julius Leibert, who had worked in Nevada in the Civilian Conservation Corps in 1938: "Nevada is the only state that has shed hypocrisy by allowing liberal attitudes"; in 1969, the AFL-CIO denounced black capitalism; in 1994, Papa John Creach of Jefferson Airplane died; in 1999, Nevada Governor Kenny Guinn appointed Valorie Vega to be a district court judge, the first Latina to serve in that capacity in Nevada history.

Interview with Eleanor Roosevelt/York Gazette and Daily/February 22d 1955: Q: President Roosevelt once said "If I worked in a factory, the first thing I would do would be to join a union." If you had to work in a department store, let us say, would you join a union? A: I certainly would. I do belong to a union in my own field — the American Newspaper Guild, CIO — and I would urge every woman who works to join the union of her industry.

UPDATE: Feb. 21, 2007, 12:26 a.m. PST, 20:26 GMT/SUT — On Feb. 21, 2005, Nevada labor leader Tom Stoneburner died.

On Feb. 21, 1885, President Arthur dedicated the Washington Monument; in 1902, the Paiutes in Winnemucca began a five-day festival and dance; in 1903, Anais Nin was born in Neuilly, France; in 1925, The New Yorker magazine appeared for the first time, with the famed character Eustace Tilley on the cover; in 1934, Nicaraguan patriot leader Augusto Cesar Sandino was assassinated by Somoza's U.S. Marines-created guardia; in 1937, twenty-one University of Nevada engineering students returned to Reno from San Francisco where they had toured various bay bridges; in 1945, Reverend Eric Liddell, 400 meter gold medal olympian whose story was told in Chariots of Fire, died as a Christian missionary while in Japanese captivity, probably from a brain tumor; in 1950, Governor Vail Pittman held an extradition hearing to hear arguments from Las Vegas attorney (and Nevada Assembly judiciary committee chair) Harry Claiborne and Dallas assistant district attorney Louis Woosley on whether Las Vegas casino figure Benny Binion should be turned over to Texas authorities for trial on racketeering charges; in 1956, the Howard Hughes movie The Conqueror, filmed in Utah downwind of the Nevada atomic test site, was released into theatres, followed in succeeding years by the leukemia and cancer deaths of most of the cast and crew, including Susan Hayward, John Wayne and director Dick Powell (see below); in 1962, J. Edgar Hoover received an award from the Freedom Foundation for the "most outstanding individual contribution to American freedom in 1961"; in 1965, Malcolm X was assassinated at a meeting of his Afro-American Unity Organization in Harlem; in 1966, The Beatles' Nowhere Man was released; in 2002, U.S. servicemember Kerry Frith of Las Vegas was killed in the Philippines; in 2007, the candidates for the Democratic presidential nomination (except Obama) will appear together at the community center in Carson City.

UPDATE: Feb. 20, 2007, 8:28 a.m. PST, 16:28 GMT/ SUT — Reno-Sparks NAACP: Rise above the Biden/Obama dustup

On Feb. 20, 1869, Tennessee Governor William Brownlow, who had taken a hard line against neo-Confederate activity, declared martial law in several Klan-ridden counties, forcing the Klan to disband, though some elements continued operating underground; in 1878, after G.H. Baldwin stabbed John Francis in the eye in Tuscarora, Baldwin was taken to jail in Elko "to save him from Judge Lynch"; in 1881, Matt Canavan, prominent citizen on the Comstock, said "Among these Indians no one has ever found a harlot, a coward or a thief"; in 1898, the Nevada State Journal reported that plans for the upcoming Trans-Mississippi Exposition in Omaha included an "Afro-American village [that] will be illustrative of every phase of life among the negroes of the South"; in 1901, in New York, Robert Leroy Parker, Harry Longabaugh and Etta Place boarded the British ship Herminius bound for Argentina; in 1913, the U.S. House of Representatives adopted an amendment to assure that federal anti-trust law would not be used against farmers or labor unions; in 1931, the Nevada Senate passed three bills sponsored by Senator A.S. Henderson of Clark County on real estate law to deal with land swindles that had begun appearing in Las Vegas in anticipation of a boom after the Boulder dam project was announced; in 1931, Assemblymember Lindley Branson's bill providing for the purchase of the Lehman caverns by the White Pine county commission with a $15,000 bond issue was delayed because of objections to the purchase price; in 1933, the Clark County Commission discussed a plan to beautify the Clark County Court House, in part by removing trees around the building and replacing them with gardens; in 1944, Norwegian resistance fighters blew up and sank the ferry Hydro in Lake Tinnsjø, causing the loss of huge tanks of heavy water being transported to Germany and setting back the Nazi atom bomb program significantly (the Norwegian anti-heavy water operations were dramatized in the Richard Harris/Kirk Douglas movie The Heroes of Telemark and chronicled in the BBC documentary The Real Heroes of Telemark); in 1962, astronaut John Glenn became the first American to orbit Earth as he flew aboard the Friendship 7 Mercury capsule [New York Times/AP e-headlines]; in 1964, Clark County commissioner James Ryan, the Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor in 1954, said he was considering running against U.S. Senator Howard Cannon in the Democratic primary; in 1970, John Lennon's Instant Karma was released in the United States; in 2000, the Fox Network canceled the rebroadcast of its Who Wants To Marry A Multimillionaire? after the romance between the two winners imploded and reports surfaced that the groom had once been accused of hitting a former girlfriend (Fox promised to never, ever, ever engage in such tawdry programming again); in 2003, the Bush administration said it would send 1,700 U.S. troops to the Philippines to fight in an internal dispute.

UPDATE: Feb. 19, 2007, 12:29 p.m. PST, 20:29 GMT/SUT — On Feb. 19, 1945, during World War II, some 30,000 United States Marines landed on the Western Pacific island of Iwo Jima, where they encountered ferocious resistance from Japanese forces. The Americans took control of the strategically. [New York Times/AP e-headlines]

On Feb. 19, 1377, John Wycliffe appeared before London Bishop William Courtenay to explain himself, defending his opposition to the veneration of relics, the sale of indulgences, the worship of saints and his criticism of clerical idleness (the session was halted when one of Wycliffe's allies, John of Gaunt, got into a fist fight with Courtenay and his entourage); in 1401, the first English religious martyr, parish priest William Sawtree, was burned at the stake when he said he worshiped Jesus instead of a cross; in 1876, a meeting was scheduled for the state capital to consider Charles Stevenson's proposal for erecting a quartz mill as Nevada's exhibit at the U.S. centennial exposition in Philadelphia and the Nevada State Journal published an attack on the idea and Stevenson (later governor); in 1878, J.W. Rover was hanged in Washoe County, Nevada, for the murder of one of his business partners, I.N. Sharp, twenty-one years before a third partner, F.J. McWorthy, reportedly confessed to the crime on his deathbed in Arizona; in 1890, an order was issued to Pyramid Lake tribal members prohibiting them from fishing on their reservation between January 15th and March 15th; in 1913, prizes were added to Cracker Jack; in 1915, British troops executed Winston Churchill's amateurish plan for an invasion of Turkey on Gallipoli peninsula, a campaign that left Allied forces pinned down on the beaches for eight pointless months while officers kept feeding more soldiers into the futile battle as combat deaths and disease swept the force, resulting in 33,532 deaths, damage to the careers of Churchill and many military officers, and alienation of Australia from Britain (8,587 of the deaths were Aussies) [Click here for the lyrics of And The Band Played "Waltzing Matilda" and historical bytes]; in 1942, in executive order 9066, President Roosevelt ordered the forced internment of U.S. citizens of Japanese descent in camps in the west (camps were eventually also established in Montana and Texas where Germans, Italians, Romanians, Czechs ,Bulgarians and Hungarians were interned); in 1945, U.S. marines landed on Iwo Jima; in 1963, Nevada Attorney General Harvey Dickerson issued an opinion to the public employees retirement system advising that the widow of a school teacher be denied his pension because he died before he finished filling out the forms naming her as a beneficiary; in 1964, the Johnson administration announced that it was cutting some forms of aid to Britain, Yugoslavia and France in retaliation for their unwillingness to block their nations' firms from engaging in trade with Cuba; in 1964, Gray Reid's department store in Reno was selling a line of Nevada centennial jewelry; in 1964, U.S. Mint director Eva Adams said she would not run for the U.S. Senate against Howard Cannon ("As long as the men do a good job I'm not about to run."); in 1964, two days after Governor Grant Sawyer refused to appear on David Susskind's television program Open End to debate Ovid Demaris and Ed Reid, authors of The Green Felt Jungle, there was a news report that Clark County commissioner Ralph Denton, insurance dealer Paul McDermott, Dunes Hotel president Major Riddle, Bank of Nevada president Art Smith, and state district judge David Zenoff had all refused to debate the authors; in 1970, Nevada gambling regulator Frank Johnson said organized crime had "infiltrated" the Las Vegas casino junket business; in 1970, National Congress of American Indians director Bruce Wilkey testified before the Pyramid Lake Task Force (established by U.S. Interior Secretary Walter Hickel and governors Ronald Reagan and Paul Laxalt) in Reno, arguing that the U.S. Department of the Interior handling of Pyramid Lake was "a crime being perpetrated" on tribal members through "deceit" and "calculated misrepresentation", that water was seized and wasted by the creation of the Newlands desert irrigation project without compensation and that the Washoe Project (involving construction of Truckee River upstream dams and reservoirs) would further damage the Pyramid tribe; in 1970, state welfare board chair Keith McDonald claimed that Nevada anti-poverty director Willie Wynn was a believer in "harassing and agitating the establishment" and had used $500 in public funds to send "at least one Las Vegas welfare rights organizer to New Orleans on Nevada taxpayers dollars to train to confront the establishment" (state welfare director George Miller said caustically that he supported sending the organizer out of state because "if she is back there she can't harass me"); in 1971, with Clark County commissioners considering licensing a brothel (to be operated by Joe Conforte) about ten miles from the Las Vegas strip, the Nevada Assembly's agriculture committee approved an "emergency" measure to strip that authority from the commission and sent it to the full house; in 1972, the British Broadcasting Corporation banned airplay of Paul McCartney's Give Ireland Back to the Irish (in 1967 the BBC had also banned A Day in the Life by The Beatles); in 1977, Rumours by Fleetwood Mac was released; in 1981, George Harrison was ordered to pay $587,000 for plagiarizing He's So Fine in his song My Sweet Lord, though the judge in the case (himself a songwriter) said that the evidence showed the plagiarism was unintentional; in 1996, former Nevada Governor Grant Sawyer died; in 2004, with conservative groups going to court to overturn 2,700 marriages performed in San Francisco for same sex couples over the previous week, City Attorney Dennis Herrera sued the State of California to protect the validity of the marriages.

[[EDITOR'S NOTE: Unless otherwise noted, historical items appear courtesy of longtime Nevada reporter Dennis Myers' Poor Denny's Almanac. [PDA] Items highlighted in blue are of particular interest to labor. Copyright © 2007 Dennis Myers.]]

UPDATE: Feb. 18, 2007, 2:39 p.m. PST, 22:39 GMT/SUT — On this date in 1850, San Francisco was incorporated; in 1869, construction began on the Virginia and Truckee Railroad; in 1871, the Arizona Territorial Legislature abolished Pah-Ute County after most of its land was transferred by Congress to Nevada; in 1885, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn was published; in 1894, Paul Revere Williams, a renowned African-American architect who did a lot of work in Reno, was born in Los Angeles; in 1913, Marcel DuChamp's monumental painting Nude Descending a Staircase was put on display at the Armory Show; in 1937, legislation for a sharply graduated tax on chain stores ($5 on the first store, $25 on the second, up to $500 for each store over five — $25 in 1937 being equivalent to about $317 in 2003) was being considered by the Nevada Legislature; in 1942, The Mills Brothers' Paper Doll was released by Decca; in 1959, Ray Charles recorded What'd I Say? (later sung by Elvis in Viva Las Vegas); in 1960, the winter olympic games began in Squaw Valley, with Reno as the host city (and the compiler of this almanac and his brother as sellers of program books at the ice hockey games); in 1964, a major earthquake hit Sao Jorge island in the Azores, creating so much devastation that 25,000 residents were made homeless (ships trying to evacuate the population were rocked by high waves); in 1964, it was discovered that the design for the U.S. Post Office stamp commemorating Nevada's centennial was based on a photograph in a Nevada Department of Economic Development tourist brochure that had been printed with the negative upside down, so the drawing of Virginia City was a mirror image of reality (a day later the post office said the problem would be fixed); in 1964, California Assemblymember Phillip Burton of San Franciso won a special U.S. House election, winning more than half the vote against seven opponents and avoiding a runoff; in 1970, the Chicago Seven were acquitted of conspiracy charges but two of the seven were convicted of having an intent to incite a riot while crossing state lines (the other two were found not guilty); in 1971, the flow of Owens Valley water to Los Angeles was resumed after being interrupted by a February 9 earthquake, though one of the two aqueducts was out of operation indefinitely; in 1982, at a news conference, President Reagan gave a history of the French and U.S. wars against Vietnam that said France "gave up" its colony, claimed Vietnam had been two nations before colonization, said that the northern government (instead of the southern government) had cancelled scheduled 1956 elections, and said that John Kennedy (instead of Lyndon Johnson) had landed the marines in Vietnam; in 1992, Pat Buchanan was transformed into a major political figure when the television networks on the basis of exit polls reported a remarkably strong second place showing for him in the New Hampshire primary of four to eight points behind President Bush, a showing which evaporated after actual votes were counted late that night (and after the networks ended their coverage) showing Bush finished sixteen points ahead of Buchanan, but the networks never corrected the record; in 1998, a team of Clinton administration officials (including Secretary of State Madeline Albright) sent to a "town meeting" in an Ohio State sports center to sell President Clinton's planned war against Iraq encountered hostility and anger, prompting the administration to screen out critics from crowds at succeeding stops but also forcing Clinton to retreat from his plans for war; in 2003, at a press conference Berkeley researchers accused several leading San Franciscans of the 1920s of a conspiracy that created the famous brass plaque of Francis Drake found in 1936 and declared a likely fraud in 1976.

Time magazine/April 19, 1937: NOVA ALBION In 1577, commanded by Queen Elizabeth to "annoy the King of Spain in his Indies," red-bearded little Francis Drake put out from Plymouth in the Golden Hind, entered Magellan Strait, went plundering up the west coast of the New World. Laden with Spanish treasure, he pushed north in search of an Arctic passage back to England. One day in the spring of 1579 [according to his ship's journal], he sailed into a "convenient and fit harborough" somewhere near the future site of San Francisco. There he received the homage of native Indians and, according to his chaplain's account, nailed to a "faire great poste" a brass plaque claiming "Nova Albion" in the name of Her Majesty. Then Francis Drake sailed on west round the world, and his plaque vanished into history.

Motoring near San Rafael, about 14 mi. north of San Francisco one day last summer, one Beryle Shinn had a puncture, decided to stop for picnic lunch on a nearby grassy bluff. Mr. Shinn squatted, found himself on a rock, lifted it, saw a dingy piece of metal. He rubbed off the dirt, managed to decipher the word "Drake," took his find to University of California's History Professor Herbert E. Bolton. Last week the historian announced himself satisfied that it was indeed the claim plate posted by Drake 357 years ago. [In fact, Bolton himself had doubts. — Dennis] Sold to the California Historical Society for a reputed $2,000, the plaque will be presented to University of California, hung where all who pass may read: Bee it knowne vnto all men by these presents, June 17, 1579, by the grace of God and in the name of Heir Majesty Queen Elizabeth of England and Herr successors forever I take possession of this kingdome whose king and people freely resigne their right and title in the whole land unto Herr Majesties keepeing now named by me an to bee knowne unto all men as Nova Albion. Francis Drake.

UPDATE: Feb, 17, 2007, 8:50 a.m. PST, 16:50 GMT/SUT — On this date in 1972, China admitted Nixon but a brothel refused a black man.

On Feb. 17, 1972, President Nixon departed on his historic trip to China. [New York Times/AP e-headlines]

On this date in 1495, Columbus' second expedition to the new world sent 550 Native Americans to Spain as slaves (only 350 survived the trip); in 1879, the Nevada State Journal wrote "If the provision in the new constitution of Georgia requiring the payment of all taxes as a preliminary to voting was intended to disfranchise the negroes it has utterly failed. At the late election all the colored men were on hand, but a large proportion of the small white property owners failed to put in an appearance at tax office or the polls."; in 1892, as part of the program at McKissick's Opera House in Reno, a dozen Washo tribe members performed "the celebrated snake dance"; in an unrecorded year in the early 1900s, Las Vegas community leader Dorothy Dorothy was born on her family's ranch in Yreka, California; in 1906, labor leaders Bill Haywood, George Pettibone and Charles Moyer were kidnapped in Colorado by Pinkerton detectives and Idaho officials and put on a train for Idaho to stand trial on charges of murdering a former Idaho governor, an arrangement tolerated by the federal courts (the men were found not guilty); in 1909, in Augusta, Georgia, a local judge fined seven African-Americans thirty million dollars for allowing trash to accumulate on their properties and the defendants "sank to the bench with groans and staring eyes" — and after the judge had gotten his laugh from the spectators, he suspended the sentence; in 1910, Lindley Branson retired as the long time and (in labor circles) notorious publisher of the Tonopah Sun; in 1931, the American Legion post in Reno hosted a discussion of the legal gambling legislation pending before the Nevada Legislature, with attorney H.R. Cooke supporting gambling and University of Nevada professor R.C. Thompson opposing it; in 1932, Carson Indian School superintendent Frederick Snyder said if the Swing/Johnson bill, allowing states to take over federal Native American health care and education facilities, was approved by Congress, Nevada would probably be unaffected because the state didn't have the resources to do the job and so would leave it in the hands of the feds; in 1932, Nevada bank examiner Edward Seaborn, who had been scrutinizing the activities of Yerington's two banks, said he would probably allow the Mason Valley Bank to reopen shortly but that the Lyon County Bank was in a more "precarious condition" making it difficult to say what the bank's future would be; in 1933, the Washos and the Piutes were at odds over a proposed Nevada legislative resolution asking Congress to abolish the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs and allot Native American lands and trust fund, a resolution introduced at the request of the Pyramid Lake Piutes but opposed by the Washos (and defeated in the legislature); in 1933, Newsweek began publication; in 1933, the Nevada State Journal in Reno gave space on its editorial page to a Frank Williams, who argued that after two years of legal gambling in Nevada, it should be repealed; in 1933, the end of alcohol prohibition set off the most precipitous decline in the crime rate in recorded history, including a dramatic free fall in the homicide rate; in 1933, U.S. Senator Tasker Oddie of Nevada introduced legislation to name the lake that would be created behind Hoover Dam "Lake Nevada" and said he expected action on the measure by the end of the year's Congress; in 1937, wealthy New Yorker Fleming Holland denied use of her Virginia home for a charity home tour because labor leader John L. Lewis' home was on the same tour and she disapproved of the recent and successful General Motors strike; in 1942, the U.S.S. Nevada was prepared for dry dock after being refloated, so that its December 7 damage could be repaired; in 1944, U.S. Representative Charles MacKenzie of Louisiana denounced "with all the intensity of my soul" the CIO's wartime canteen in D.C. for U.S. servicepeople because it admitted both blacks and whites (Eleanor Roosevelt had appeared on opening night); in 1960, Elvis received his first gold album, for Elvis; in 1962, the Beach Boys' Surfin' was released; in 1966, Clark County sheriff's deputies were called to Las Vegas High School because of a cafeteria egg-throwing incident during a period of racial tension; in 1972, Beverly Harrell defended her decision not to admit an African-American man to her brothel at Lida Junction in Esmeralda County ("A bordello should have a choice of who they entertain.") but Nevada Equal Rights Commission director Tony McCormick said a formal complaint would be filed against her; in 1974, Bob Shaw, educated at the federal Indian school at Stewart, graduate of Sparks High School, resident of the Reno Indian Colony and editor of The Native Nevadan, was being mentioned as a candidate for the Nevada Assembly as a Republican; in 1975, John Lennon's album Rock 'n' Roll was released; in 1976, after receiving an award from Harvard's Hasty Pudding Club, Bette Midler said "This award characterizes what the American male wants in a woman — brains, talents and gorgeous tits."; in 1977, after Governor Mike O'Callaghan claimed that the Pyramid Lake fishery was wasting huge amounts of water and thus reducing power during the energy crisis, tribal attorney Robert Stitser said O'Callaghan was "full of hot air" and that O'Callaghan and Attorney General Robert List had declined to meet with the tribe and federal officials on the matter the previous year; in 1994, the distinguished journalist Randy Shilts, author of And The Band Played On and Conduct Unbecoming whose body of work appeared at number 44 on a list of the 100 greatest works of journalism of the 1900s, died in Sonoma County, California; in 1997, special prosecutor Ken Starr announced he would resign to become dean of Pepperdine Law School (he later withdrew his resignation under pressure from conservatives and journalists who wanted him to continue the investigation of President Clinton).

MONDO CONDO: Chicago developer gets a lesson in treating local labor right

UPDATE: Feb. 18, 2007— Fernando, can you hear us now? (Story and photo by Debra Reid/Daily Sparks Tribune)

HIGH RISE FIRE (Feb. 6, 2007)The under-construction Montage condominium project alight in the night. No sprinklers were in operation but Reno firefighters were able to extinguish the blaze. "The fire started when an area heater ignited plastic covering on a 13th-floor window. The fire broke through the ceiling and was doused by 10:30 p.m. by Reno firefighters," the Reno Gazette-Journal reported. (KTVN TV-2 still frame)

UPDATE 2-17-2007 — Developer cries crocodile tears (Associated Press/Las Vegas Sun)

UPDATE: Feb. 16, 2007, 11:38 a.m. PST, 19:38 GMT/SUT — Workers demonstrate at Montage condo construction site in downtown Reno

RENO, Nev. – Local construction workers and their families will demonstrate at the Montage high-rise condominium project on Saturday, Feb. 17.

Marchers will gather at 11:00 a.m. at the municipal ice skating rink at S. Virginia and E. First streets across from Reno City Hall. They will proceed to the Montage construction site at W. Second and Sierra (formerly the Golden Phoenix/Flamingo Hilton).

"Local taxpayers have devoted more than half a billion dollars and many years of effort toward improving their downtown area," stated Todd Koch, president of the Building and Construction Trades Council of Northern Nevada.

"Our efforts and investments in this community create economic opportunity which makes these kinds of projects possible," Koch added.

"Chicago developer Fernando Leal is taking advantage of this favorable climate to improve his own bottom line through the unfair treatment of northern Nevada construction workers by undercutting area standards for wages, benefits and working conditions.

"We are understandably disappointed and outraged that Mr. Leal and his contractors are bringing in workers from out of state and paying them well below area standard wages and benefits," Koch stated.

"Reno's taxpayers receive a lower return on their investment when developers use underqualified workers who bring into question the quality and value of the project for the consumer. Quality projects raise property values.

    Union members, including Scott Mathisen of Painters Union Local 567, marched Saturday against what they called unfair treatment and sub-standard wages for workers at the Montage condominium construction site in downtown Reno.

Story and Photo © Debra Reid/Sparks Tribune

"Use of underqualified workers also raises safety, accident and injury issues. Mr. Leal's attempt to erode area standards does a disservice to everyone involved except himself," Koch asserted.

"No one has been a bigger supporter of the revitalization of downtown Reno than the Building and Construction Trades Council," Koch said, "but we have also shown that we will not let workers – union or non-union – be abused by unscrupulous developers. Take the money and run is a business philosophy Reno can do without," he added.

The council, in operation for more than 100 years, is made up of 20 regional craft unions representing the majority of highly trained construction workers in the area.

Union members, retirees, their families and any concerned residents of the community are urged to join Saturday's demonstration.

Recent BARBWIRE Media Hits
and Ego Trips

   The Dean of Reno Bloggers could very well be Andrew Barbano, self-described "fighter of public demons," who started putting his "Barbwire" columns online in 1996 and now runs 10 sites.
      RENO NEWS & REVIEW, 11-9-2006

"Our long national nightmare is over."
Did I say that a dozen years ago?
CORY FARLEY, RGJ, 11-10-2006

BARBANO: Nevada's newly-hiked minimum wage is nowhere near enough
Reno Gazette-Journal, 11-11-2006

Oregon State U. minimum wage deflator

Time to bring back NAGPAC?
CORY FARLEY, RGJ, 8-1-2006

UPDATE: Feb. 16, 2007, 10:14 a.m. PST, 18:14 GMT/SUT —

On Feb. 16, 1865, the Nevada Legislature ratified the thirteenth amendment to the U.S. Constitution (outlawing slavery); in 1869, Assemblymember Curtis Hillyer, a Union Party member from Storey County, spoke in the Nevada Assembly in favor of votes for women; in 1878, the Nevada State Journal reported "Conamen, negroes and Caucasians can be seen all mixed in together in Carson's public schools."; in 1878, the Nevada State Journal reported "Mining men say that the Sutro tunnel could reach the Savage in fifteen days if so desired."; in 1911, Joaquin Miller, "poet of the Sierra" who had ridden with the Pony Express and lived for a year with a Native American tribe, was critically ill at Fabiola Hospital in Oakland and his physician said death might come in a matter of hours (he lived until February 13 or 17 1913); in 1913, President Taft agreed to halt incessant U.S. attacks on Mexico (it did little good — Woodrow Wilson alone invaded Mexico at least ten times); in 1918, in the historical capital of Vilnius, the First Lithuania Council declared the independence of Lithuania (independence was restated by a resolution passed by the Constituent Seimas on May 15, 1920); in 1931, a Reno divorce was granted in Francis Mahaffey vs. Marie Mahaffey after the husband testified that evangelist Aimee Semple McPherson's Four Square Angelus temple converted his wife and she became so obsessed that it broke up their marriage; in 1941, Reno's Bethel AME Church celebrated National Negro History Week because, said a church spokesperson, "Unfortunately no record is chronicled of the worthy and sacrificial contribution which the Negroes have made in developing our country."; in 1943, Eleanor Roosevelt wrote in her newspaper column "It is important for all of us to know the story of the people of the United States as a whole, and every minority group has contributed toward the making of our nation. The Negroes have done much for our country. There are no wars in which they have not participated. Their poets, writers, artists, musicians, educators and scientists have contributed to the culture and development of the people."; in 1954, with the French trying to break out of the encirclement of their supposed fortress at Dien Bien Phu, Undersecretary of State Walter Bedell Smith and Joint Chiefs chairman Arthur Radford testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that Vietnamese advances were "more apparent than real", were "nothing but real estate victories", and that things in Indochina were not "as bad as painted in the press" (the French were defeated three months later after a long siege); in 1959, attorney Fidel Castro was sworn into office as prime minister after Cuban dictator Fulgencio Batista fled to the Dominican Republic; in 1961, Las Vegan Howard Weisberger, who remained aboard the pirated ocean liner Santa Maria when the pirates released the 600 passengers, was greeted by a crowd of thousands when the recovered ship arrived in Lisbon (the pirates had evaded capture for eleven days); in 1968, Elvis received a gold record for his album How Great Thou Art, for which he would later also receive a Grammy; in 1972, Chuck Berry and John Lennon sang together on the Mike Douglas Show during John and Yoko's week as co-hosts of the program; in 1977, John Carrico, Jr., spokesperson for the slow growth group Citizens for Responsible Growth, said a ballot initiative to limit Reno growth to an annual 1.5 percent would be circulated for signatures; in 2001, cocktail waitresses in Reno held a rally to protest the Harrah's corporate policy making it an employment infraction to get older (the casino took photographs of workers when they began their employment and required them to remain unchanged from the photographs during their periods of employment).

UPDATE: Feb. 15, 2007, 12:16 a.m. PST, 00:16 GMT/SUT — On Feb. 15, 1898, the U.S. battleship Maine blew up in Havana Harbor, killing 260 crew members and escalating tensions with Spain. [New York Times/AP e-headlines] William Randolph Hearst, the Rupert Murdoch of his day, legendarily told one of his photographers "you provide the photos, I'll provide the war." (As Hearst did against Spain, Murdoch recently admitted to using his media empire to gin up support for the Iraq War.) [BARBWIRE]

George Bush/February 15, 2000: We ought to make the pie higher.

On Feb. 15, 399 BC, Socrates was condemned to death; in 1851, Boston hotel waiter Shadrach Minkins was seized in his workplace as a fugitive slave and when a judge refused to grant habeas corpus, a black and white mob broke into the local courthouse and freed him, hiding him in an attic before he made his way to Canada; in 1878, describing the local political situation in Elko County, the Elko Post observed "There are those who favor a new deck as well as a new deal."; in 1896, an effort was underway in Topeka to launch a national effort to obtain federal pensions for African-Americans who were enslaved before the Civil War; in 1904, drilling equipment arrived in Nevada for use in what was hoped would be Elko County oil fields; in 1913, responding to a request from the U.S. secretary of state for a study of whether the state legislatures properly ratified the 16th amendment to the United States Constitution, the solicitor general wrote a report that said the amendment was ratified legitimately but noted many problems: Nevada's lawmakers made "errors of punctuation and capitalization" and even copied the text of the amendment inaccurately by inserting extra words; in 1917, the main branch of the San Francisco Library was dedicated; in 1935, the Nevada Fish and Game Commission adopted a resolution allowing Native Americans to sell fish taken from the state's lakes in open season; in 1937 (or in this week) construction began on a swimming pool on Riverside Drive in Reno's Idlewild Park; in 1941, at Victor Studios, Duke Ellington and his orchestra made the first recording of his trademark Take The A Train; in 1954, Ronald Reagan began performing on stage at the Last Frontier Hotel Casino in Las Vegas; in 1966, Fred Friendly resigned as president of CBS News in protest against the network's decision to shut down live coverage of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearings on the Vietnam War and return to reruns of I Love Lucy and The Real McCoys; in 1971, Pyramid Lake tribal council chair Teddy James told state legislative committees that the California/Nevada Interstate Compact, a water agreement between the two states, "hastens the death of our Indian society and hastens the death of the lake" and Nevada Intertribal Council director Robert Hunter said "the compact may be good for California and good for Nevada but it is in no way good for the Indians"; but Reno attorney Paul Richards, representing hunting and fishing groups, said "Our concern is a guarantee of water to Nevada. Let us fight among ourselves after we get it."; in 1973, the Nixon administration was forced to drop its effort to prosecute investigative reporter Les Whitten, an aide to columnist Jack Anderson, and Native American leaders Anita Collins and Hank Adams after a federal grand jury refused to indict them for possession of stolen government documents; in 1973, the House Foreign Affairs Committee found an electronic bug in its hearing room; in 1998, The Rolling Stones performed in Las Vegas' Hard Rock Casino with Sting, Eddie Murphy, Brad Pitt and other celebrities in the audience; in 2002, George Bush approved Nevada's selection for a dump at Yucca Mountain for high level nuclear wastes; in 2003, in what is believed to have been the largest protest in human history, millions of people in Barcelona, Madrid, Manila, Berlin, London, Glasgow, Andalusia, Paris, Tokyo, Tel Aviv, Istanbul, Toronto, Winnipeg, Vancouver, Ottawa, Calgary, Ontario, Buenos Aires, Stuttgart, Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, Bangkok, Berne, Helsinki, Jakarta, Athens, Nova Scotia, Hong Kong, Canary Islands, Malta, Cyprus, Belgium, Austria, New Zealand, Bosnia, South Africa, Honduras, New Zealand, Hungary, Netherlands, Antarctica, Argentina, Uruguay, Chile, Equador, Brazil, Ireland, South Korea, Lebanon, Russia, Japan, India, Ukraine, Croatia, Singapore, Slovenia, Norway, Portugal, Brazil, Basque Country, Iceland, Poland and 600 U.S. communities (including September 11 targets New York and Washington) protested Bush administration plans to invade Iraq.

UPDATE: Feb. 14, 2007, 10:05 a.m. PST, 18:05 GMT/SUT — On Feb. 14, 1929, the St. Valentine's Day Massacre took place in a Chicago garage as seven rivals of Al Capone's gang were gunned down. [New York Times/AP e-headlines]

Ground Hog day was warm
    and fine;
But look what we get
    for a Valentine!

— Nevada State Journal
February 14, 1954

On Feb. 14, 270, Christian leader Valentine was beheaded on the road between Gaul and Rome (the date is traditional); in 1193, Duke Leopold V of Austria sold his prisoner Richard Lionheart of England to Holy Roman Emperor Henry VI of Germany for sixty thousand pounds of silver; in 1349, in Strasbourg, 2,000 Jews were burned at the stake; in 1779, Captain Cook, was killed by Hawaiians after he kidnapped islanders; in 1859, George Washington Gale Ferris, inventor of the Ferris Wheel who grew up in Nevada, was born in Galesburg, Illinois; in 1880, the U.S. Senate confirmed James E. Spencer of New York as Indian agent for Nevada; in 1914, the Nevada State Journal wrote "Experiments have determined that there is nothing in the fruit, vegetable and cereal lines with the exception of lemons and oranges that cannot be grown advantageously and in commercial quantities in Las Vegas valley. Even cotton and almonds are raised, cotton being one of the principal products of the valley"; in 1916, twenty one miners died in a fire in the Pennsylvania Mine in Butte, Montana; in 1933, in Florida, Giuseppe Zangara fired shots at a car carrying President-elect Franklin Roosevelt and Chicago Mayor Anton Cermak, killing Cermak; in 1945, Dr. Selic A. Shevin, a 17-year staff member of Chicago's Jackson Park Hospital who resigned in protest when the hospital refused to treat 19-year-old Toyoko Murayama in its emergency room, was photographed treating her while other hospitals were contacted to see if they would accept her; in 1957, Lionel Hampton's symphonic jazz suite King David premiered at Town Hall in New York City; in 1961, testimony began in the trial of physician Thomas Wyatt, owner of Carson Hot Springs, on charges of performing an abortion; in 1965, Nevada civil rights leaders said they opposed an alleged civil rights measure at the Nevada Legislature because it would preempt federal enforcement without providing for effective local enforcement; in 1965, churches in Sparks, Elko, Fallon, Las Vegas, Hawthorne and Reno swapped ministers on this Sunday in a sort of pastoral exchange program; in 1972, adding one more bit of colorful lore to the history of rock, John and Yoko began a week's stint as cohosts of The Mike Douglas Show; in 1973, the Las Vegas convention center was the site of a mutual admiration fight: Muhammad Ali faced Joe Bugner, who called Ali his idol, and after the fight was over (it went to Ali on a decision), Ali said Bugner could be champion one day; in 1989, a death sentence was imposed by Iran against author Salman Rushdie; in 1994, Jerry Garcia married Deborah Koons.

UPDATE: Feb. 13, 2007, 9:07 a.m. PST, 17:07 GMT/SUT — On Feb. 13, 1935, a jury in Flemington, N.J., found Bruno Richard Hauptmann guilty of first-degree murder in the kidnap-death of the infant son of Charles and Anne Lindbergh. Hauptmann was later executed. [New York Times/AP e-headlines]

On Feb. 13, 1633, Galileo Galilei arrived in Rome for trial by the Inquisition for supporting the Copernican theory [BARBWIRE EDITOR'S NOTE: By the grace of God, the Copernican theory was finally disproved in 2004 when the American Righteous of Right proved that the world actually revolves around George W. Bush]; in 1883, the Reese River Reveille wrote "Nevada Indians are said to be starving, and Congressman [George] Cassidy has applied for relief for them. Where are the reservations? Why are not the Indians on them? What tribes are starving? Are they the ones that are so prone to go on the war path with each returning Spring? It is well to know these things, if only for satisfaction."; in 1891, the Nevada State Journal wrote "[Lakota warrior] Rain-in-the-face, who is now at the head of the hostile tribes, is one of the bravest Indians in the west, as well as one of the worst. He is the reputed slayer of Custer, though that distinction has been claimed by Spotted Tail and several other braves. He is said to be absolutely devoid of fear." (it's unclear why this item was published, since at the time Rain in the Face had been inactive for a decade); in 1912, Nevada Attorney General Cleveland Baker was hospitalized in Oakland and "grave fears" about his recovery brought family members to his bedside; in 1917, the (Russian) revolution got underway with strikes and assemblies in Petrograd; in 1930, President Hoover's nomination of Charles Evans Hughes as chief justice of the United States was approved after a fight against confirmation by western Republican senators (Nevada's Senator Tasker Oddie, a Republican, voted for Hughes, and Senator Key Pittman, a Democrat, failed to vote); in 1930, an Iowa state legislator, a "dry" on the prohibition issue, was fined $300 plus court costs after pleading guilty to illegal possession of alcohol; in 1930, former first son John Coolidge, unhappy with his wife's pilot training, elicited a promise from her that she would quit (sign of the times: his wife's name was never given in The New York Times account); in 1937, when rumors circulated that Michigan union members, fresh from the victory of the General Motors strike, were traveling to Indiana to support fellow unionists, Indiana Governor Clifford Townsend declared martial law to keep them out (in Detroit, a union official denied the rumor); in 1937, Episcopal vicar William Stonson said that "paganism" was disappearing from the Pyramid Lake Indian Reservation; in 1945, Allies began the fire bombing of Dresden using incendiary weapons, killing more civilians than the Hiroshima bomb, even though the city was not an industrial center or a military target (Winston Churchill, who helped plan the bombing, said it was done "simply for the sake of increasing the terror" and later enraged his military commanders by trying to create a written record to escape his responsibility for it); in 1946, homecoming African-American veteran Isaac Woodard was blinded while being mistreated by Atlanta police, an incident described in the Woody Guthrie song The Ballad of Isaac Woodard; in 1953, the U.S. Senate Internal Security Committee chaired by Nevada Senator Patrick McCarran claimed to have uncovered a "commie dude ranch" in New Mexico, about 90 miles from Los Alamos; in 1964, Elvis Presley donated Franklin Roosevelt's presidential yacht, the Potomac, to St. Jude's Hospital; in 1965, the Western Shoshone, recently organized into an official organization with more than a thousand enrolled members so far, held a tribal meeting in Austin; in 1967, The Beatles single Penny Lane b/w Strawberry Fields Forever was released in the U.S. (in Britain on the 17th), signaling the group's growing use of electronically produced music, one of those rare 45's that produced hits on both sides; in 1970, Nevada District Judge Grant Bowen overturned the conviction of Reno cab driver Donald Nash who was convicted of pandering for offering to drive his passengers to a brothel in Storey County; in 1973, on The Mary Tyler Moore Show, there was a portrayal of a gay character that wasn't negative — Phyllis gets upset that her brother is spending time with Rhoda: Phyllis: "But he's handsome, he's witty, he's charming." Rhoda: "He's gay." Phyllis: "Oh, thank God it's just that."; in 1973, Nevada Supreme Court Justice David Zenoff called on state lawmakers to "enact now" a state law school, but higher education chancellor Neal Humphrey and UNLV and UNR presidents Roman Zorn and Edd Miller urged delay for feasibility study so the state would know what it was getting into; in 1981, Dark Side of the Moon achieved the longest tenure on the Billboard album chart — 402 weeks; in 1981, The New York Times published its longest sentence, 1,286 words, though because it was a quote from a teenager, the sentence was padded with gratuitous terms like "like" and "whatever"; in 2002, Jason Disney of Fallon died in Afghanistan; in 2007, at 9:02 a.m. PST, the cost of the Iraq war reached $366,069,655,984 (the cost to Nevada taxpayers was $3,279,315,520, to Las Vegas taxpayers $776,135,346, and to Reno taxpayers $269,269,997).

[[EDITOR'S NOTE: Unless otherwise noted, historical items appear courtesy of longtime Nevada reporter Dennis Myers' Poor Denny's Almanac. [PDA] Items highlighted in blue are of particular interest to labor. Copyright © 2007 Dennis Myers.]]

UPDATE: Feb. 12, 2007, 12:58 a.m. PST, 8:58 GMT/SUT — On Feb. 12, 1502, the Spanish government violated the treaty under which it took control of Granada from the Moors and ordered all Moslems to convert to Christianity or leave the country; in 1554, Lady Jane Grey, who was queen of England for nine days, was executed in the Tower of London; in 1895, the dime novel Deadwood Dick, Jr.'s, Double-Decker; or, Center-Fire, the Self-Cocker. by Edward L. Wheeler, a tale of hydraulic mining in Nevada (and number 82 in the Deadwood Dick series), was published by Beadle's Half Dime Library; in 1909, at a cornerstone ceremony for a memorial to Abraham Lincoln at his birthplace of Hodgenville, Kentucky, attended by President Theodore Roosevelt, press reports said there was "a notable lack of negroes" in attendance; in 1912, a news report suggested that with several Republicans missing or relocated to other states since the last regular session of the Nevada Legislature, the Democrats during the special session starting February 23d could reorganize the legislature with a plurality; various folks were calling for expansion of the call to special session to include changes in mortgage laws, repeal of quick divorce, and a prohibition on prize fights, and residents of Carson City were looking forward to the economic bump they expected to get from the session; in 1924, the beloved American Rhapsody (now called Rhapsody in Blue for Jazz Band and Piano) was performed for the first time in Aeolian Hall in New York City, conducted by Paul Whiteman, with piano by its composer George Gershwin, a performance that was broadcast on radio (disbelief that the 26-year-old Gershwin could have written the stunning symphony led to rumors that the great composer Ferde Grofe, who did the orchestrations for the Rhapsody's first performance, had actually written it); in 1937, the Nevada Assembly took up Churchill County Assemblymember Claude Smith's legislation to abolish the elected post of state surveyor general; in 1937, Native Americans, Civilian Conservation Corps workers and forest service workers were being credited with opening snowbound roads across western Nevada after unexpected winter storms hit the region like a sledgehammer; in 1944, K.L. Ogden's three month gambling license to operate one nickel slot machine and one dime slot machine on the main ground floor of the Corral Bar in Fallon expired (the date of issue on the license, which was signed by G. Etcheverry, was twelve days after the license expired); in 1950, Eleanor Roosevelt interviewed Albert Einstein on television and he spoke out against President Truman's new crash program to develop a hydrogen bomb, prompting the Immigration Service to try to deport him and the FBI to start trying to find derogatory information on him; in 1968, Jimi Hendrix performed for the students of Garfield High School in Seattle; in 1972, the U.S. negotiating team at the Paris peace talks refused to attend the negotiating session to protest a 75-nation assembly at Versailles held to protest U.S. involvement in Vietnam; in 1973, the first release of American prisoners of war from the Vietnam conflict took place [New York Times/AP e-headlines]; in 1997, The Washington Post reported on China funneling money to the Democratic National Committee in a probable effort to influence Clinton administration policies; in 2001, Earl Washington, a mentally disabled African-American, was sentenced to a halfway house instead of being freed after being exonerated by a DNA test of a murder for which he spent 19 years under sentence of death in a Virginia prison.

UPDATE: Feb. 11, 2007, 4:06 a.m. PST, 12:06 GMT/SUT — On Feb. 11, 1945, President Roosevelt, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and Soviet leader Josef Stalin signed the Yalta Agreement during World War II [New York Times/AP e-headlines] at which "Stalin took us to the cleaners," according to Fresno State history Prof. Jose C. Canales. [BARBWIRE]

On Feb. 11, 1805, assisted by Meriwether Lewis, Sacagawea gave birth to Jean Batiste Charbonneau, conceived with the French trapper who had purchased her for a slave from the Hidatsa tribe which had kidnapped her as a girl from her own Shoshone tribe; in 1858, fourteen year-old Bernadette Soubirous of Lourdes said she experienced an apparition of a woman; in 1870, at the Carson City branch of the U.S. Mint, the first coin (a seated liberty dollar) was struck; in 1889, a special election was held to vote again on 14 amendments to the Nevada Constitution, most of which had already been approved by voters the previous fall but were all overturned by the Nevada Supreme Court; in 1890, the Nevada Appeal reported that snowbound Virginia City was being supplied with potatoes through the Sutro tunnel; in 1937, General Motors signed an epochal agreement recognizing the United Auto Workers and protecting striking workers from prosecution after plant workers seized the Fisher Body plant in Flint and held it for forty-four days — but AFL President William Green, who was not involved, condemned the settlement as a defeat for labor: "All the laboring men of the country have been injured by the General Motors settlement" (and in D.C., a U.S. Senate committee revealed that GM had paid nearly half a million dollars over two years — about $6,900,000 in 2005 dollars — to the union-busting Pinkerton Detective Agency); in 1937, on a 13 to four vote, the Nevada Senate approved Nye County Senator William Marsh's constitutional amendment making lotteries legal and on a 17 to 15 standing vote the Nevada Assembly tabled Nye County Assemblymember Cada Boak's bill to sterilize "mentally deficient persons" and habitual criminals (and Clark County Senator Frank Ryan introduced legislation to move the opening of the legislature to March, a reaction to the capital being snowbound during 1937); in 1942, Nevadan Karetaro Ishii of Sparks was fired from his job with the Southern Pacific Railroad after 22 years (he was rehired the day after the war ended); in 1950, two days after making his first charges that there were communists in government, U.S. Senator Joseph McCarthy spoke in Reno at a Republican fundraiser at the Mapes Hotel (Edward Connors of the Nevada State Journal reported that on his reading copy of his speech text where he named the number of communists, McCarthy had scratched out the number "205" and written in the number "57"); in 1961, (Las Vegas) Sands Hotel manager Jack Entratter ran a newspaper ad: "$100 REWARD for return of our French poodle (no pedigree). Answers to name of DOTS. Three years old, black and white. Contact Jack Entratter, DU 2-7100."; in 1962, several servicepeople died in the crash of a military plane in Vietnam on the kind of mission the U.S. denied was taking place; in 1963, in a rigorous and hugely productive ten-hour recording session at the Abbey Road studio, The Beatles recorded final versions of ten songs for their first album, released on March 22d to capitalize on their first hit single, Please Please Me (one number recorded that day, Hold Me Tight, was not used on the album and the tape of it is not known to still exist); in 1966, installation ceremonies were held for University of Nevada Chancellor N. Edd Miller at the campus gymnasium, with U.S. Supreme Court Justice Tom Clark as speaker; in 1969, conscientious objector Thomas Bennett was killed while trying to rescue a fellow soldier, the end of two days of heroic actions for which he received the Medal of Honor (see citation below); in 1970, John and Yoko performed Instant Karma on the BBC's Top of the Pops; in 1977, in a motion asking U.S. District Judge Bruce Thompson to throw out Nevada Attorney General Robert List's lawsuit seeking title for the state of the beds of Pyramid Lake and the Truckee River within the Pyramid Lake Reservation, the U.S. Department of Justice described List's action as the latest chapter in a 113-year effort by the state to get the reservation away from the tribe; in 1979, followers of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini came to power when Iranian Prime Minister Shapur Bakhtiar stepped down after serving for 37 days following dictator Reza Pahlavi's flight from the country (during those 37 days Bakhtiar dismantled the hated Savak secret police); in 1990, as people around the world watched on live television, Nelson Mandela walked out of Victor Verster Prison after 27 years of imprisonment; in 2005, Lynne Stewart, court-appointed attorney to Egyptian Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman, was convicted of defrauding the U.S. government, conspiracy and providing support for terrorism by her actions of (1) issuing a press release to Reuters News Service in Cairo in which her client announced withdrawal of his support for a cease fire by insurgents against the Egyptian government and (2) by being present when her co-defendants allegedly aided her client in writing a series of letters.

Thomas Bennett
Congressional Medal of Honor Citation

     For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. Cpl. Bennett distinguished himself while serving as a platoon medical aidman with the 2d Platoon, Company B, during a reconnaissance-in-force mission. On 9 February the platoon was moving to assist the 1st Platoon of Company D, which had run into a North Vietnamese ambush, when it became heavily engaged by the intense small arms, automatic weapons, mortar and rocket fire from a well fortified and numerically superior enemy unit. In the initial barrage of fire, 3 of the point members of the platoon fell wounded. Cpl. Bennett, with complete disregard for his safety, ran through the heavy fire to his fallen comrades, administered life-saving first aid under fire and then made repeated trips carrying the wounded men to positions of relative safety from which they would be medically evacuated from the battle position. He valiantly exposed himself to the heavy fire in order to retrieve the bodies of several personnel. Throughout the night and following day, Cpl. Bennett moved from position to position treating and comforting the several personnel who had suffered shrapnel and gunshot wounds. On 11 February, Company B again moved in an assault on the well fortified enemy positions and became heavily engaged with the numerically superior enemy force. 5 members of the company fell wounded in the initial assault. Cpl. Bennett ran to their aid without regard to the heavy fire. He treated 1 wounded comrade and began running toward another seriously wounded man. Although the wounded man was located forward of the company position covered by heavy enemy grazing fire and Cpl. Bennett was warned that it was impossible to reach the position, he leaped forward with complete disregard for his safety to save his comrade's life. In attempting to save his fellow soldier, he was mortally wounded. Cpl. Bennett's undaunted concern for his comrades at the cost of his life above and beyond the call of duty are in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit, and the U.S. Army.

UPDATE: Feb. 10, 2007, 12:23 PST, 20:23 GMT/SUT — On Feb. 10, 1846, members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints began their westward trek from Illinois; in 1879, after Independent Henry Dangberg served the first month of the legislative session, he was unseated and Republican James Haines was sworn in as senator from Douglas County (Haines lost to Dangberg by two votes in the November election); in 1900, in the Yukon, the Nome News reported that the office of Nome city attorney, occupied by Key Pittman (later U.S. senator from Nevada), was abolished as a cost saving measure; in 1902, the judge and both lawyers in a water rights suit in Winnemucca were members of the same family; in 1914, in New York a shipload of African-Americans from Oklahoma were prepared to sail for Africa, recruited by Chief Alfred Sam as colonists to his Gold Coast (Ghana) homeland; in 1914, with a special session of the Nevada Legislature two weeks off, one member of the senate (W.F. Heffernan of Esmeralda County) was known to be living in Canada, one assemblymember (Halbert Bulmer of Storey) was traveling in South America, another (J.H. Cocks of Storey) was living in Alameda County, a third (George Coze of Lincoln) was rumored to be living in Utah, and a fourth (W.D. Coppernoll of Lander) could not be located; in 1914, 67 yea- old Milton Lee, arrested in Salt Lake City for possession of counterfeiting dies, confessed that he had served three terms in San Quentin for stagecoach robberies in the Yosemite and one term for train robbery and was known as the "gentleman bandit of the Yosemite"; in 1937, commenting in a letter to a Nevada American Legion official on the Nevada Legislature's deeding of land to the federal government for construction of a veterans hospital in Reno, Attorney General Gray Mashburn said that because the legislators did not reserve the power of legal process on the land, the hospital could become a criminal haven for the likes of Baby Face Nelson, the Reno mob hanger-on; in 1942, RCA Victor officials gave Glenn Miller and his orchestra the first gold record for Chattanooga Choo Choo (the record was a gold painted master disc of Chattanooga); in 1961, a bill was introduced in the Nevada Senate to remove Nevada District Judge John Sexton, who had sat on a politically sensitive Clark County strike injunction and also been cited for driving under the influence of alcohol, by the simple expedient of eliminating his judicial district (Assemblymember William Swackhamer, one of Judge Sexton's fellow Battle Mountaineers, said if the senate approved the bill he would put through a bill to remove a Clark County judge); in 1962, the Soviet Union exchanged captured American U-2 pilot Francis Gary Powers for Rudolph Ivanovich Abel, a Soviet spy held by the United States [New York Times/AP e-headlines]; in 1966, the morning after he received a flurry of anonymous harrassing phone calls and two days before The Washington Post reported that private detectives (later shown to be in the employ of General Motors) were tailing Ralph Nader, he testified on auto safety in the face of hostile questions from a U.S. Senate committee; in 1967, in a marathon recording session attended by a carnival atmosphere (orchestra members were in costumes) and by the comings and goings of Marianne Faithfull, Keith Richards, Donovan, Mike and Phyliss Nesmith, Patti Harrison and Mick Jagger, The Beatles worked on A Day in the Life for Sgt. Pepper; in 1967, Laura Dern was born in Los Angeles; in 1970, President Nixon appointed Nevada Assemblymember Leslie Mack Fry of Reno to the American Battle Monuments Commission; in 1971, four news photographers — Larry Burrows, Henri Huet, Kent Potter and Keisaburo Shimamoto — were killed covering the invasion of Laos; in 1975, Tapestry by Carole King was released; in 1981, a fire at the Las Vegas Hilton killed eight people and injured 198 others, reviving sprinkler retrofit legislation at the Nevada Legislature (introduced as a reaction to the 1980 MGM hotel fire that killed 84) that casino lobbyists had nearly succeeded in killing; in 1999, work on the German dump site for high level nuclear wastes at Gorleben, intended to receive wastes from 19 power plants, was halted; in 2003, Iraq agreed to a key U.N. demand by allowing U-2 overflights to search for weapons facilities, but George Bush dismissed the concession and continued preparations for war.

UPDATE: Feb. 9, 2007, 5:09 a.m. PST, 13:09 GMT/SUT — On Feb. 9, 1267, the Catholic Synod of Breslau, Poland required Jews to wear distinctive caps (the same synod that year also forced Jews into compulsory ghettos); in 1825, John Quincy Adams was appointed president by the House of Representatives after the electoral college failed to choose a president (and following an election in which voter turnout set some kind of record for a presidential election: 26.9 percent of eligible voters, 8.2 percent going to Adams in a four-candidate race); in 1886, geologist Vincent Gianella, University of Nevada faculty member (1923-1952) after whom the mineral Gianellaite is named, was born in Marysville, California; in 1906, African-American Ed Johnson was convicted of raping 21 year-old Nevada Taylor in downtown Chattanooga (Johnson, almost certainly innocent, was broken out of jail and lynched a few hours after the U.S. Supreme stayed his execution and granted him an appeals hearing — the first stay of a criminal conviction in Supreme Court history; his last words were "God bless you all. I am innocent."); in 1909, Las Vegas was excited over the success of the Lucy Gray Mine, whose ore was being assayed at $600 a ton (in the 1910 census eleven people were recorded living on the mine property); in 1912, in Truckee, a coroner's jury exonerated prominent local business leader Paul Doyle (owner of P.M. Doyle's Mercantile, the Truckee Electric Light and Power Company and the Post Office Store) for killing Truckee Republican editor W.M. Smith in a gunfight, a proceeding in which the justice of the peace had resigned rather than render a verdict against Doyle: "very bitter feelings exist between the two factions" said a news report; in 1914, two representatives of the Washoe Building Trades began a tour of the state to gather material for the Annual Labor Review; in 1937, the opulent home of Grant Crumley, described as "a Tonopah showplace", was nearly destroyed by fire when freezing temperatures kept watermains from functioning, with damage estimated to be $20,000 ($266,697.50 in 2005 dollars); in 1940, the NBC radio program Death Valley Days broadcast a play titled Nevada, The Battle Born; in 1949, the Nevada Assembly defeated a measure sponsored by Assemblymember Don Crawford of Washoe County to outlaw the poll tax, Crawford pointing out that Nevada was bracketed in the nation's mind with the southern states that used the tax to keep African-Americans from voting but James Johnson of White Pine arguing that in Nevada it was merely a revenue producer (also speaking against the tax were Archie Cross of Washoe and James Ryan of Clark); in 1949, Assemblymember Fran Buol of Nye County introduced legislation providing for the microfilming of records handled by county recorders as well as court records; in 1951, El Rancho Vegas casino dealer Jack Waer was the first witness called before a federal grand jury investigation of mobster Mickey Cohen in Los Angeles; in 1951, a Southern Pacific switchman's strike ended in Sparks and Oakland, which meant that the Overland Limited started carrying an observation car again (use of the car had been suspended during the strike); in 1953, Air Force officials, noting that there were no clubs in Reno that would admit African-Americans, urged the Reno city council to approve a liquor license for Theresa King who wanted to operate King's Lounge at 900 East Commercial Row (Col. Willard Walter said that when the old Reno Army Air Base was reactivated in 1952, the lack of facilities for blacks became a morale problem; Dr. Morse Little provided a character reference for Ms. King); in 1953, Governor Charles Russell's executive secretary Chester Smith said he would resign to take a job in D.C. with U.S. Senator Patrick McCarran while he attended law school and expected eventually to join an investigating committee headed by Sen. Joseph McCarthy of Wisconsin; in 1953, thirty residents in Reno's Skyline Boulevard area lodged a protest before the city council against a hotel being built in their neightborhood; in 1955, the Congress of Industrial Organizations and the American Federation of Labor merged to form the AFL/CIO; in 1960, Democratic presidential candidate Hubert Humphrey of Minnesota addressed a joint session of the Nevada Legislature; in 1964, The Beatles appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show, drawing an audience of 73 million; in 1965, President Johnson ordered a Marine missile battalion to Vietnam, the first combat troops committed to the war (or, rather, the first to which the U.S. admitted); in 1966, Joe Mathews, sponsor of an initiative petition to hike Nevada gambling taxes, said he was close to having the necessary signatures in Washoe County; in 2002, ten thousand Israelis marched in Tel Aviv to protest brutal treatment of Palestinians.

UPDATE: Feb. 8, 2007, 2:05 a.m. PST, 10:09 GMT/SUT — On Feb. 8, 1996, in a ceremony at the Library of Congress, President Clinton signed legislation revamping the telecommunications industry, saying it would "bring the future to our doorstep." [New York Times/AP e-headlines] It resulted in skyrocketing cable TV rates, as it gave the industry a de facto monopoly which is still intact today. Go to the BarbanoMedia.com Cable TV War Room for chapter and verse on this sellout of Nevada and American consumers by Bill Clinton, Al Gore and Newt Gingrich. [BARBWIRE]

On Feb. 8, 1837, the U.S. Senate appointed Richard Johnson of Kentucky vice-president after the selection of a vice-president was thrown into the Senate when no candidate won a majority of electors (Johnson served his four years while presiding over the senate, working for Native American schooling, openly enjoying the company of his African-American mistresses, and spending one summer as manager of a small inn); in 1886, the Dawes Act became law, stripping tribes of the land held in common by their members and distributing the land to individual members, with an upper limit on distributions that resulted in massive land loss for Native Americans; in 1899, the Nevada State Journal reprinted from Popular Mechanics the moronic observations of Dr. Joseph Simms, author of 1872's Illustrated Physiognomy, on the brain features of "murderers, negroes and others sunk in ignorance."; in 1912, Governor Tasker Oddie called the Nevada Legislature into special session to deal with the empty state treasury by enacting legislation allowing the state to operate on a cash basis and to enact or raise taxes; in 1918, the army newspaper Stars and Stripes was published for the first time; in 1920, Winston Churchill laid out his anti-Semitic opinions in an article in London's Illustrated Sunday Herald: "From the days of Spartacus-Weishaupt to those of Karl Marx, and down to Trotsky (Russia), Bela Hun (Hungary), Rosa Luxembourg (Germany), and Emma Goldman (United States), this worldwide conspiracy for the overthrow of civilization and for the reconstitution of society on the basis of arrested development, of envious malevolence, and impossible equality, has been steadily growing. Although in all these countries there are many non-Jews every whit as bad as the worst of the Jewish revolutionaries, the part played by the latter in proportion to their numbers in the population is astonishing."; in 1924, Nevada put a person named Gee Jon to death in a gas chamber, the first legal use of this execution method in the United States; in 1937, during a "committee of the whole" session of the Nevada Assembly, independent Assemblymember Doug Tandy of Lander County presided, the first time since 1920 that a Democrat did not preside over the Assembly; in 1937, Senator Frank Ryan of Clark County introduced legislation to increase the penalty for narcotics possession from one to five years in prison to two to ten years, with repeat offenders sentenced to a ten year minimum, a proposal Ryan said was the result of a national campaign against narcotic offenders; in 1945, 350 U.S. soldiers — at least 150 Jews, others thought to be Jewish, and others considered troublemakers — culled by German soldiers from thousands of U.S. prisoners of war captured in the Battle of the Bulge were sent to Berga-an-der-Elster concentration camp, the only known case of U.S. soldiers being caught up in the Nazi camps (some of the Jews were identified because their Army dog tags had the letter H for Hebrew stamped on them; following the war, survivors were given U.S. "security certificates" ordering them not to tell the story of Berga); in 1962, a U.S. Military Assistance Command was set up in Saigon to oversee the growing U.S. military commitment; in 1966, U.S. Senators Howard Cannon and Alan Bible voted against ending a filibuster designed to halt approval of union shops; in 1966, U.S. Senator Thruston Morton of Kentucky, a former Republican national chair, called Democratic criticism of President Johnson's war policies "fool talk" and said "The flag is committed. I support the flag."; in 1967, a three-day fast by Christians and Jews in the United States began in protest against the Vietnam war; in 1969, the last issue of the Saturday Evening Post appeared (and no, it was neither started by nor had anything to do with Ben Franklin); in 1969, after the break up of Cream and Traffic, Ginger Baker, Stevie Winwood and Eric Clapton announced they were forming a new group that (after Rich Grech was added) became Blind Faith, which produced one monumental album and a legendary riot-torn concert tour before breaking up after only seven months; in 1977, a Clark County legislative caucus turned raucus after Senator Keith Ashworth invited a representative of Howard Hughes' airline Air West to speak, prompting Senator William Hernstadt to observe "$3,000 [is] now the price of a Nevada Senator" (Ashworth had received $3,000 from the parent corporation of Air West and Hernstadt was the sponsor of a resolution urging approval of an airline to compete with Air West); in 1978, auto manufacturers critic Ralph Nader arrived in Reno for a speech, was picked up at the airport in a four door sedan, and when it arrived at the destination he pulled up on the door lock button and the entire apparatus fell apart; in 1980, President Carter proposed reviving mandatory registration for the draft; in 1999, a strange saga unfolded in Pittsburgh: Las Vegas chessmaster Steve Kangas, who had purchased a gun and then traveled from Nevada across the country to the office building where millionaire Richard Mellon Scaife — who funded much of the impeachment campaign against Bill Clinton — has his offices, and killed himself in a room near Scaife's office (since his death, Kangas has become an obsession on the internet and his own web page is still in place).

UPDATE: Feb. 7, 2007, 2:49 a.m. PST, 4:49 a.m. CST, 10:49 GMT/SUT — On Feb. 7, 1941, Betty Joyce Luffman was born in Enid, Oklahoma, USA. [BARBWIRE]

On Feb. 7, 1569, Philip 2d exported the Inquisition to Spain's South American colonies; in 1879, on an 18 to six vote, the Nevada Senate unseated Douglas County Senator Henry Dangberg, elected as an independent, and seated Republican James Haines, who lost to Dangberg in the November election by two votes (before the vote, the senate breakdown was Republicans 16, Democrats 7, Citizens 1); in 1898, Emile Zola went on trial for libel for writing J'accuse, his accusation against French leaders for framing Jewish army captain Alfred Dreyfus on a charge of treason; in 1907, a construction crew excavating land for the construction of the Goldfield Hotel struck gold ore that assayed at $1.80; in 1912, Thomas Edison said France was becoming degenerate and the reason was the cigarette: "It is not the tobacco. It is the paper wrapping. The curse of absinthe is nothing compared to that of cigarettes. The world ought to follow Indiana in its legislation prohibiting the sale of cigarettes."; in 1912, with state government out of money, Governor Tasker Oddie was considering calling a special session of the Nevada Legislature; in 1919, Clark County commissioners traveled north by the Las Vegas and Tonopah Railway to the Nye County line to inspect the route of the new Goldfield/Las Vegas highway, even as the other end of the LV&T was being torn up southward for construction of the highway (so far, the portion of the railroad from Tonopah to Beatty had been destroyed); in 1920, a one-day special session of the Nevada Legislature ratified the women's suffrage amendment to the U.S. Constitution; in 1941, Nevada consumer activist Betty Barbano was born in Enid, Oklahoma; in 1945, Lutheran theologian and resistance leader Dietrich Bonhoeffer was sent to Buchenwald, where he died; in 1947, the bulk of the Dead Sea Scrolls were found in a cave at Khirbat Qumran on the northwest shore of the Dead Sea; in 1956, African-American student Autherine Lucy was expelled from the University of Alabama after mobs interfered with her attending classes (24 years later, the university lifted the expulsion and Lucy graduated in 1992); in 1963, Nevada banking institutions appealed to the public in newspaper advertisements for cooperation in complying with a new federal law requiring customers to surrender their social security numbers to financial institutions; in 1963, Storey County Senator James Slattery was threatening to kill a measure providing for a branch county library in Sparks; in 1963, Sparks Nugget owner Dick Graves purchased a lot at 1402 B Street in Sparks and was rumored to be planning construction of housing for his thousand workers at the Nugget; in 1964, The Beatles arrived at Kennedy Airport in New York and on the same day Baskin and Robbins added a flavor: Beatle Nut; in 1965, Cassius Clay embraced Islam and the name Muhammad Ali; in 1965, President Johnson ordered the bombing of Vietnam's north, provoking the Soviet Union to start sending surface to air missiles to Hanoi (the bombing continued, with occasional interruptions, for years; Vice-President Humphrey, who spoke against the bombing in National Security Council deliberations, was then excluded from Vietnam policy and planning for one year ); in 1968, Clark County Senator Mahlon Brown advocated rescinding the Nevada Legislature's 1967 creation of a medical school; in 1973, the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Presidential Campaign Activities (the Watergate Committee) was created; in 1974, Blazing Saddles was released; in 1980, Pink Floyd performed The Wall live onstage for the first time at the Los Angeles Sports Arena; in 1986, Phillippine dictator Ferdinand Marcos, who finally allowed an election, claimed victory against Corazon Aquino after the vote count showing Aquino ahead was suspiciously stopped, causing Filipinos to go into the streets in massive "people power" protests; in 2003, a display of Andy Warhol works went on view at the Bellagio Gallery in Las Vegas; in 2006, the CBS Evening News in its coverage of the funeral of Coretta Scott King, failed to report the comments of Reverend Joseph Lowery and other speakers calling George Bush to account.

Recent BARBWIRE Media Hits
and Ego Trips

   The Dean of Reno Bloggers could very well be Andrew Barbano, self-described "fighter of public demons," who started putting his "Barbwire" columns online in 1996 and now runs 10 sites.
      RENO NEWS & REVIEW, 11-9-2006

"Our long national nightmare is over."
Did I say that a dozen years ago?
CORY FARLEY, RGJ, 11-10-2006

BARBANO: Nevada's newly-hiked minimum wage is nowhere near enough
Reno Gazette-Journal, 11-11-2006

Oregon State U. minimum wage deflator

Time to bring back NAGPAC?
CORY FARLEY, RGJ, 8-1-2006

UPDATE: Feb. 6, 2007, 2:48 a.m. PST, 10:48 GMT/ SUT — On Feb. 6, 1790, after a thousand men worked for the better part of a year to tear down the hated Bastille, the last stone was presented to the French National Assembly; in 1808, nineteen years after the HMS Bounty mutineers vanished, the U.S. sealer Topaz discovered an island in the south Pacific inhabited by 35 people, including the only surviving mutineer (the news was largely ignored in England until 1814 when two British ships, the Tagus and the Briton, "discovered" Pitcairn, whereupon it became a sensation); in 1864, former Nevada Territorial Supreme Court Justice Gordon Mott wrote to President Lincoln seeking a brigadier general's rank for his brother Samuel Mott; in 1891, the Dalton gang staged — and bungled — a train robbery near Alila, California; in 1899, a peace treaty formally ending the Spanish American war and purchasing the Phillippines (which the U.S. had invaded and occupied while posing as liberators) from Spain for $20 million, was ratified by the U.S. Senate; in 1911, the first old age home opened in Phoenix; in 1912, the Twin Falls Commercial Club was told that the Union Pacific would build a railroad between Contact, a Nevada mining camp south of Jackpot, and Rogerson in Idaho; in 1912, establishing its alibi for an expected rise in typographical errors, the Elko Free Press informed its readers that its linotype typesetting machine was broken: "Until repairs are made we must ask the indulgence of our readers."; in 1919, after local businesses used wartime sentiment to roll back recent wage gains, laborers in Seattle launched a strike that shut down the city (the strike lasted five days and ended when national labor leaders intervened on the side of the businesses); in 1933 , Home Means Nevada became the official state song of Nevada (Home Means Nevada sheet music); in 1935, the board game Monopoly was introduced ; in 1936, the lake created by Hoover Dam was named after federal reclamation commissioner Elwood Mead; in 1937, as the road between Reno and Carson was cleared after several days of being blocked by snow, Senator Frank Ryan of Clark County floated the idea of changing the law so that future legislatures started on July 1; in 1939, officials of the Spanish Republic fled to France, where a government in exile was formed; in 1958, George Harrison probably met John Lennon and Paul McCartney for the first time at an appearance of the Lennon band, The Quarry Men, at Wilson Hall in Liverpool; in 1966, the Associated Press reported that in the Dominican Republic, provisional president Hector Garcia Godoy, who was installed after the U.S. invaded and occupied the nation, was being referred to as Hector Garcia Bunker (Ellsworth Bunker was the U.S. ambassador in the Republic); in 1966, financial analysts were reportedly puzzled in how to assess the ups and downs of shares of Northern Songs, The Beatles' public company on the London stock exchange; in 1966, the Las Vegas draft board, which called up 65 men in December and January, had to find another fifty for February (board clerk Cecile Oram: "With these high calls, the married man will have to be the next to go...And full time college students are much farther down the list."); in 1966, Denver U.S. Mint superintendent Fern Miller said that the coin press from the former Carson City branch of the U.S. Mint, put back into service at the Denver mint to help relieve a coin shortage, had been used mostly to stamp pennies and had broken down; in 1966, rich people living southwest of Reno objected to having the new highway 395 put through their neighborhoods; in 1985, President Reagan announced the "Reagan Doctrine" asserting a U.S. self-defense authority to decide who around the world is freedom loving and intervene on their side, a doctrine used to try to overthrow the Nicaraguan government and intervene in the Angolan civil war; in 1995, Robert Holland, Jr., won the "Yo! I want to be a CEO" contest and became CEO of Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream; in 1997, Senator Joe Neal of Clark County read a sample of his mail to the Nevada Senate: "I always thought you were a typical of what we get with aff. action and other programs that promote the unqualified, but after that rambling that you made yesterday we all know that your a dumb, fucking nigger. I suppose that you think that that the prisons are full of blacks because of racist courts, not because of the criminal element that runs thru your species. Did you know that your species accounts for 14% of the population and 70% of the crime? Whats the goals of your species in America, turn it into one of those great black run countries like somilia, hatie, or rawanda. FUCK YOU"; in 2003, an inter-African conference called for commemoration of February 6 as an annual day of opposition to the practice of female genital mutilation.

UPDATE: Feb. 5, 2007, 4:48 p.m. PST, 0:38 Feb. 6, 2007, SUT/GMT — Notice to the organized labor legislative corps from Nevada State AFL-CIO Executive Secretary-Treasurer Danny Thompson: "On Tuesday, Feb. 6, the Nevada State Senate Committee on Judiciary will hear from Larry Pinion, Executive Director of the Nevada State Board of Pharmacy. We should have a presence at this hearing. We don't want to forget how hard we worked to pass the (2005) legislation which set up the Canadian Drug Program for Nevadans. There is no reason to suspect a problem and there may be no public testimony, but our presence there is important."

From Jan Gilbert of the Progressive Leadership Alliance: "The hearing is scheduled for 8:00 a.m. in room 2149 at the legislature. They will be questioning whether there have been problems. It would be helpful to have people in the audience to show support for this very important program. The speakers are third on the list but we never know if they will be taken out of order. Please send this email to your network. Thanks."

UPDATE: Feb. 5, 2007, 6:55 a.m. PST, 14:55 SUT/GMT — On Feb. 5, 1937, President Roosevelt proposed increasing the number of Supreme Court justices; critics charged Roosevelt was attempting to "pack" the court. [New York Times/AP e-headlines]

On Feb. 5, 1428, Alfonso 5th, king of Aragon, Naples and Sicily, ordered the Jews of Sicily to convert to Catholicism (he was for some reason known as Alfonso the Magnanimous); in 1576, as part of a plan to end the French Wars of Religion, King Henry 3d of Navarre was forced to convert to Catholicism, a conversion he later renounced to return to Huguenotism; in 1631, Native American rights defender, religious freedom pioneer, Baptist leader and Rhode Island founder Roger Williams arrived in Boston from England; in 1830, the New York Daily Sentinel, the first daily labor newspaper for working people, began publication; in 1883, in a sharp breach of the separation of powers the Nevada Legislature, meeting in joint session, appointed Frank Bell state prison warden; in 1891, it was reported that the anti-Native American campaign that included the massacre at Wounded Knee Creek cost the U.S. $2,000,000 ($41 million in 2005 dollars), prompting the Nevada State Journal to say that it would be "cheaper to maintain military posts in the Indian country and prevent outbreaks than to fight Indians" (no suggestion that outbreaks could also be prevented by fair treatment of the tribes); in 1898, the Clara Nevada, loaded with gold and a hundred passengers, began a voyage from Skagway on the Klondike to Seattle and went down near Eldred Rock, supposedly with all hands (though the gold was never found, a skiff from the ship was found ashore, and the captain later turned up piloting other craft); in 1902, there was a dispute in Lovelock over the Southern Pacific Railroad's assertion of ownership of all the land for 200 feet on either side of the roadbed, since it meant that the SP owned the town; in 1909, Nevada's Clark County was created, named for William Andrews Clark, investor in a railroad that passed through the county and that began operation in 1905, by which time it was half-owned by the Union Pacific; in 1910, the Clark County Review contended that "Irrigation Projects in Southern Nevada Will Bring New Era of Prosperity"; in 1912, Elko physician A.J. "Bart" Hood was the owner of a new car, an EMF 30; in 1917, in the state capitol legislators said they expected to complete an investigation of the University of Nevada but in Reno auditors seeking records from the campus controller were thrown out of the office and a fist fight ensued; in 1917, while the Carson band played patriotic music in the Nevada Assembly hall, a joint session of the Nevada Legislature pledged support for any war President Wilson decided to launch; in 1937, Franklin Roosevelt proposed a change in the membership of the U.S. Supreme Court, a plan originally described by the press according to FDR's spin as court "reform" but later becoming better known as the court packing plan; in 1937, Nevada Highway Department Director Robert Allen called for a force of six highway patrol officers to patrol state highways; in 1940, the Glenn Miller Orchestra recorded Tuxedo Junction; in 1947, on the basis of six months of interviews of major league baseball players, City College of New York researchers reported that the reputed danger of players in southern states quitting the game if it was integrated was overstated ("Southern players, despite their hostile attitude, would do little more than grumble silently if they had to play on teams hiring Negroes because of fear of losing popularity in a game where there are a large number of applicants for major league berths") and that the attitude of fans and northern players was not an obstacle to integration; in 1965, Martin Luther King, Jr., was released from jail on bail after five days of imprisonment during the Selma voting rights campaign, and 450 additional people were jailed as he was released, bringing total arrests for the campaign to 3,300; in 1965, Georgia restaurant owner Lester Maddox was convicted of contempt of court for failing to obey a court order to serve African-Americans at his chicken restaurant and sentenced to a $200 ($1191.63 in 2005 dollars) a day fine until he complied; in 1966, Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara said he would testify before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee during the committee's hearings on Vietnam if it was a closed session but he refused to testify before the public; in 1966, Ferdinand Waldo DeMara, the great impostor who had become famous for impersonating a surgeon, civil engineer, sheriff's deputy, editor, assistant prison warden, lawyer, cancer researcher and teacher, was in a Catholic monastery in a tiny Missouri town and said he expected to stay there the rest of his life (the next year he graduated from Multnomah School of the Bible in Portland, became a Baptist minister, and worked as a hospital counselor in Anaheim, dying in 1982); in 1966, Tony Hatch's My Love by English movie star Petula Clark hit number one on the Billboard chart, the second of fifteen number one hits she had in the United States; in 1969, ABC broadcast the biggest, shortest-lived turkey in television history, Turn On, a spinoff of Laugh In that was so boring and tasteless that some local affiliates refused to air it and sponsor Bristol Myers dropped it (it was cancelled after a single show); in 1973, the funeral of Lt. Col William Nolde, believed to be the last U.S. soldier killed in Vietnam, was held at Arlington; in 2001, in the middle of the night, Canadian students with an annual tradition of dangling old Volkswagens from buildings in Vancouver hung an old red Volkswagen from the Golden Gate Bridge; in 2003, at the United Nations, a gullible U.S. secretary of state Colin Powell, using false intelligence, made the case for an armed and dangerous Iraq , a performance Powell later called "a blot" on his record, though the testimony remains posted to this day on the White House web site (the occasion also provided classic evidence of the way mainstream journalism shapes the news to support the establishment — the networks carried Powell's testimony live but cut away from testimony of a better informed U.N. arms inspector).

UPDATE: Feb. 4, 2007, 2:42 a.m. PST, 10:42 GMT/SUT — On Feb. 4, 1974, newspaper heiress Patricia Hearst was kidnapped in Berkeley, Calif., by the Symbionese Liberation Army. [New York Times/AP e-headlines]

David Lilienthal to a congressional committee investigating his suitability to be Atomic Energy Commission chair during the red baiting era/February 4, 1947: Any form of government, therefore, and any other institutions which make men means rather than ends, which exalt the state or any other institutions above the importance of men, which place arbitrary power over men as a fundamental tenet of government are contrary to that conception, and therefore, I am deeply opposed to them.

George Bush on Social Security/February 4, 2005: "Because the all — which is on the table begins to address the big cost drivers. For example, how benefits are calculate, for example, is on the table; whether or not benefits rise based upon wage increases or price increases. There's a series of parts of the formula that are being considered. And when you couple that, those different cost drivers, affecting those — changing those with personal accounts, the idea is to get what has been promised more likely to be — or closer delivered to what has been promised. DOES THAT MAKE ANY SENSE TO YOU? IT'S KIND OF MUDDLED. Look, there's a series of things that cause the — like, for example, benefits are calculated based upon inflation, as opposed to wage increases. This is a reform that would help solve the red if that were put into effect. In other words, how fast benefits grow, how fast the promised benefits grow, if those — that that growth is affect, it will help on the red.

On Feb. 4, 1783, England declared a cease fire in its war with the American colonies, ending the revolution; in 1846, Members of the LDS Church left Missouri, traveling overland, for settlement in the west; in 1846, LDS church member Sam Brannan chartered a ship in New York and with 238 fellow Mormons and his printing press sailed from New York for San Francisco by way of the Sandwich Islands, and then across Nevada (becoming known as the first Mormon in Nevada) to join the group that left Missouri; in 1861, Chiricahua chief Cochise accepted an invitation to meet with cavalry Lt. George Bascom at Arizona's Apache Pass, where he was accused of kidnapping a white boy and arrested (he escaped); in 1869, labor leader William (Big Bill) Haywood, who at age 15 worked in the Ohio mine in Nevada's Humboldt County, was born in Salt Lake City (he is one of three U.S. citizens buried at the Kremlin wall as a hero of the revolution); in 1899, a long insurgency against U.S. occupation of the Phillippines began when U.S. soldiers opened fire on Filipinos; in 1937, Nevada Assembly Speaker William Kennett, who collapsed in the capitol under the effect of chest pains on February 3d, was being cared for in the Carson City nursing home of Mrs. A. Noonan (highway department director Robert Allen said Kennett could be moved to a Reno hospital but only by way of Fallon since most highways were snowbound, Reno aviator Keith Scott volunteered to fly to Carson and take Kennett by air to Reno but the snow prevented landing on Carson's airfield, and Kennett's physician said he recommended against a move anyway); in 1954, at a planning commission meeting in Las Vegas, residents objected to racial integration of apartment complexes near Nellis Air Base; in 1957, a gas explosion in downtown Reno damaged buildings in all directions, killed two people and injured forty; in 1961, United Artists released The Misfits (filmed in western Nevada) into theatres where it encountered few customers and generally unfavorable reviews, though it achieved a certain mythic status because it was the last completed film of both Clark Gable and Marilyn Monroe; in 1962, after the latest Pentagon experiment with new technology to win the war in Vietnam, veteran war correspondent Homer Bigart of The New York Times, stationed in Saigon, wrote a legendary story lead that foreshadowed U.S. ignorance of Vietnamese culture and much of the course of the rest of the war:" SAIGON, VIET NAM, Feb 4 — American antimalarial spray killed the cats that ate the rats that devoured the crops that were the main props against agitation in the central lowlands of South Vietnam. The result: a hungry, embittered rural population tending to support the Viet Cong insurgents."; by coincidence on the same day in 1962, during the battle of Hong My, the first U.S. helicopter was shot down in Vietnam, signaling that the NLF was beginning to adapt to and master this aspect of U.S. technology; in 1965, Malcolm X and Coretta Scott King spoke to civil rights supporters at Brown Chapel in Selma, Ala.; in 1966, Hoc Tap, a scholarly Vietnamese journal, published an article by Vietnamese military commander Vo Nguyen Giap in which he said that the United States invasion of Vietnam made it clear who was the enemy of the Vietnamese public and that while "We do not feel at all complacent at 'initial successes'," he was confident the U.S. would lose the war; in 1966, New Jersey Attorney General Arthur Sills launched an investigation of the Rat Finks, an anti-Semitic and anti-African American faction of the state Republican Party; in 1966, Las Vegas city officials removed briefly clad "showgirls" from a proposed new city seal drawn by Clark County School District artist Richard Thompson (the original seal showed an artesian well erupting water against a background of mountains, cactus and a Joshua tree); in 1966, Telesystems Corporation of Delaware was seeking nonexclusive franchises from Las Vegas, North Las Vegas and Clark County to provide community antenna service in the Las Vegas Valley; in 1966, Reynolds Electrical and Engineering, the Atomic Energy Commission and U.S. Senators Howard Cannon and Alan Bible were all flinging threats at Local 525 of the Plumbers and Pipefitters Union, whose 130 members at the Nevada Test Site were on strike; in 1966, Jefferson Airplane played Fillmore in San Francisco; in 1966, U.S. Senator Howard Cannon of Nevada called for a prisoner exchange to free Foreign Service officer Douglas Ramsey of Boulder City, an aide to Col. John Paul Vann who was captured by the National Liberation Front at Hau Nghia and became the longest held NLF U.S. prisoner of the Vietnam war; in 1966, the Reno Sparks Association of Evangelicals endorsed a gambling tax increase initiative petition opposed by the casino industry and Governor Sawyer; in 1966, the Nevada Supreme Court overturned Acting Governor Paul Laxalt's action convening a state grand jury to investigate the Sawyer administration's highway department while Governor Sawyer was out of state; in 1972, Senator Strom Thurmond called for the deportation of John Lennon from the United States; in 1977, a great one-night band made up of Gregg Allman, Donald Byrd, Charlie Daniels, Chuck Berry, Chuck Mangione Les McCann, the Pointer Sisters, Johnny Rivers, Seals & Crofts, Doc Severinsen, Junior Walker and several members of Booker T and the MGs performed on ABC; in 1983, Karen Carpenter died; in 1984, in Las Vegas, Frank Aquiler set the world frisbee distance record (184 yards); in 1987, Congress overrode President Reagan's veto of the Clean Air act; in 1992, President George Bush visited a National Grocers Association convention where he was puzzled by a price scanner at a grocery checkout counter; in 1998, Bill Gates was hit in the face with a pie in Belgium; in 1999, four New York City plainclothes officers searching for a rapist fired 41 shots at unarmed bystander/street merchant Amadou Diallo, hitting him 19 times and killing him (the officers were later indicted on second degree murder charges and found not guilty); in 2000, an Oklahoma state investigating commission recommended that the state pay reparations for the 1921 Tulsa race riot by whites that left 300 mostly African American residents dead.

UPDATE: Feb. 3, 2007, 10:04 a.m. PST, 18:04 GMT/SUT — The day the music died

On Feb. 3, 1377, Robert of Geneva, a representative of Pope Gregory 11th, used mercenary troops to destroy the Italian town of Cesena and massacre much of the population; in 1821, Elizabeth Blackwell, the first woman physician in the United States, was born in Bristol, England; in 1863, in Nevada's Territorial Enterprise, Samuel Clemens made his first known use of the pen name Mark Twain; in 1879, the Nevada State Journal editorialized on proposed legislation in Congress to establish reservations for African-Americans: "It lacks practicality."; in 1912, Joe Peck of Whiterock in Elko County received a letter from boxer Jim Flynn's manager saying that Peck's Park would be considered as the site for a fight between Flynn and Jack Johnson (the fight was held on July 4 in Las Vegas, New Mexico); in 1920, several Women's Christian Temperance Union members in Reno who had worked in the early days of the state's suffrage campaign said they would attend the special session of the Nevada Legislature to see the federal suffrage amendment ratified; in 1920, Governor Emmet Boyle praised Nevada's criminal syndicalism statute that was used against labor organizations but said he was leaning against an American Legion proposal to expand his special session call to the Nevada Legislature to include amendment of the syndicalism law; in 1920, an Arizona hardware store owner went on trial for kidnapping in the 1917 Bisbee Deportation, when vigilantes hauled 2,000 striking copper miners from their beds, loaded 1,186 of them into a railroad car, shipped them across the border to New Mexico, and abandoned them in the desert; in 1933, Hopi Chief Joseph Secakuku of Oriahi Mesa said members of his tribe were "totally ignorant of the economic depression...My people recognize the advantage of the white man's civilization, but they also see the value of their own heritage. Simple in tastes and want, they are living now as comfortably as at any time in the past. They don't know what depression is and can't understand the lamentations of the white man."; in 1937, Michigan Governor Frank Murphy, acting to try to prevent the violent company eviction of sit down strikers, ordered the Flint sheriff to hold off on eviction, told General Motors officers that if they recognized the United Auto Workers union as representative of the workers and told the UAW that if they vacated the factory, then he would use the national guard to guarantee that the factory would stay closed and matters at a standstill while the two sides negotiated; in 1937, Nevada Assembly Speaker William Kennett of Nye County, called Speaker pro tempore John Oldham of Elko to the dais to preside, told Oldham "I don‚t know whether I'll be able to make it to the door or not", walked on crutches to a pay telephone in the hallway to call a doctor, and collapsed from an apparent heart attack but rallied after receiving ten injections of an opiate; in 1937, western Nevada was snowbound, skiers were taking supplies to stranded parties and isolated families, the Lake Tahoe mail boat Marion B was driven ashore by the force of a storm, all roads north, west, and south of Reno were blocked, and assemblymembers Frank Bacigalupi and J.E. Sweatt, both of Washoe County, reached the legislature by traveling east to Leeteville and then west to Carson City; in 1947, Percival Prattis became the first African-American reporter admitted to the congressional press galleries; in 1956, at Sun Records the legendary recordings known as the Million Dollar Quartet tapes by Carl Perkins, Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis and Johnny Cash, were made (although a photograph showed all four of them around a piano, Cash did not actually perform on the recordings); in 1959, a small plane carrying Richie Valens, Buddy Holly and The Big Bopper crashed in a field near Mason City, Iowa, killing all aboard (Waylon Jennings and guitarist Tommy Allsup had given up their seats to Valens and the Bopper); in 1959, Nevada-based Bonanza Airlines increased its service to St. George, Utah, because of the area's skiing, tourism and movie location shooting (the notorious 1955 film The Conqueror, whose cast and crew — including John Wayne, Susan Hayward, Pedro Armendariz, Agnes Moorhead and director Dick Powell — suffered high cancer/leukemia rates after being filmed near St. George, which is downwind of the Nevada atomic test site); in 1961, Bob Dylan recorded San Francisco Bay Blues, his first recording; in 1962, actress Michelle Greene (L.A. Law) was born in Las Vegas; in 1966, Nevada District Judge John Sexton, who went on strike a week earlier in protest against being reversed by the Nevada Supreme Court, returned to work; in 1968, The Beatles recorded Lady Madonna; in 1968, the Nevada State Journal reported plans to shut down Vista airport east of Sparks; in 1998, joyriding U.S. Marine aviators flew between the upper and lower lines of an Italian cable car service, severing a line and sending a gondola crashing to the ground, killing 20 (the U.S. sneaked the four crew members out of the country to avoid trial and back to the U.S. where the pilot was tried and acquitted by a Marine tribunal).

[[EDITOR'S NOTE: Unless otherwise noted, historical items appear courtesy of longtime Nevada reporter Dennis Myers' Poor Denny's Almanac. [PDA] Items highlighted in blue are of particular interest to labor. Copyright © 2007 Dennis Myers.]]

UPDATE: Feb. 2, 2007, 4:51 a.m. PST, 12:51 GMT/SUT — Boris Pasternak/New York Times/February 2, 1959: In every generation, there has to be some fool who will speak the truth as he sees it.

On Feb. 2, 1494, Christopher Columbus began the practice of enslaving Native Americans; in 1653, the city of New Amsterdam (New York) was incorporated; in 1848, the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo was signed, concluding the U.S. war of aggression against Mexico, which was forced to turn over a third of its territory, including Nevada; in 1870, Samuel Clemens married Olivia Langdon in Elmira, New York; in 1882, President Chester A. Arthur sent a message to Congress asking for payment of the cost of improvements on Shoshone land at Duck Valley, Nevada; in 1892, the Elko Free Press reported that Nevada's former U.S. representative, William Woodburn, was being urged to run for justice of the Nevada Supreme Court; in 1912, Robert La Follette of Wisconsin, campaigning for the Republican presidential nomination while ill, made a speech before the Periodical Publishers Association banquet in Philadelphia that was so rambling and repetitious that it raised questions about his sanity and knocked him out of the race (however, his speech was an attack on the press, so it's entirely possible that the resulting news coverage reflected their distress); in 1922, the Nevada State Journal wrote "But there are Indians in Nevada, the Washoes for instance, who have no tribal lands, and who are deserving of the attention of the white people of the state before land becomes so scarce that they cannot be cared for as they should be. In this land which has belonged to their people for untold generations, this tribe of about 400 members has no land on which they can reside with a feeling of ownership, and that fact is not creditable to the American people. There are great valleys in Nevada where it is possible at no great cost to locate this people with ample land for their sustenance, and this should be done. The American people are big hearted enough to reach out to Europe and Asia to save the lives of starving people, and they ought to have charity enough to put the Washoe and all other Indians on a footing of independence."; in 1929, Las Vegas postmaster Robert Griffith appealed for public support for construction of a Las Vegas airport to prevent the loss to Utah of a western air mail port; in 1933, the Reno Indian Colony adopted resolutions asking the Nevada Legislature to memorialize Congress to abolish the U.S Bureau of Indian Affairs — "nothing more or less than an organized body of white people who are living at ease at the expense of a race of Indians who are suffering from want" — and provide relief to Native Americans made indigent by bureau practices; in 1933, the Nevada Assembly defeated by one vote a minimum wage bill that would have required $5-a-day pay on all public works in the state (Assembly Daily Journal, Feb. 3); in 1959, Ritchie Valens, Buddy Holly and The Big Bopper appeared at the Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake, Iowa; in 1966, a U.S. Senate committee opened hearings in San Francisco about the use of electronic eavesdropping by local law enforcement officials; in 1966, Nevada Assemblymember Ed Fike of Clark County complained that a state welfare official misled him before enactment about whether a new law shifting authority for child care programs from counties to the state would apply to Clark County (there was no explanation of why he didn't read the bill for himself); in 1968, the Star Trek episode A Private Little War was broadcast for the first time, written by Gene Roddenberry as his personal endorsement of the war in Vietnam (see below); in 1993, in the movie Groundhog Day, "Phil Connors" (Bill Murray) keeps living this day over and over and over in Punxsutawney, Pa.; in 1999, quadruplets were born in Las Vegas to Helene and Myles Beck (three girls and one boy: Rose, Pearl, Lexie, Lewis).

From A Private Little War by Gene Roddenberry:

McCOY: I don't have a solution. But furnishing them with firearms is certainly not the answer!
KIRK: Bones, do you remember the twentieth-century brush wars on the Asian continent? Two giant powers involved, much like the Klingons and ourselves. Neither side felt that they could pull out?
McCOY: Yes, I remember˜it went on bloody year after bloody year!
KIRK: But what would you have suggested? That one side arm its friends with an overpowering weapon? Mankind would never have lived to travel space if they had. No — the only solution is what happened, back then: balance of power.
McCOY: And if the Klingons give their side even more?
KIRK: Then we arm our side with exactly that much more. A balance of power — the trickiest, most difficult, dirtiest game of them all — but the only one that preserves both sides!

UPDATE: Feb. 1, 2007, 2:51 a.m. PST, 10:51 GMT/SUT — The inimitable Molly Ivins lies dead at 62. Sumbitch! Here's how to contribute your comments. Watch the Feb. 4 Barbwire for a personal Nevada columnists hall of flames in her honor.

Dear Readers: Why do the brightest lights burn out so damned soon?

All I can say about the Amazing Ms. I is SUMBITCH! —in every heartbroken and admiring sense of the word. What a helluva talent. Mike Royko's gone, now her. So who've we got left? Jon Stewart, Bill Maher, Lewis Black, George Carlin and Steven Colbert, I guess. As with Royko, it's not the same. They never made another Mark Twain or Damon Runyon or Will Rogers. I suppose we will somehow muddle thru.

So don't cry. LAUGH, DAMMIT!

Be well. Raise hell.

For me, Molly's greatest words of wisdom came with three children's books she gave my son when he was born. In her inimitable way, she captured the spirit of each in one-sentence inscriptions. In Alice in Wonderland, she offered "Here's to six impossible things before breakfast." For The Wind in the Willows, it was"May you have Toad's zest for life." And in The Little Prince, she wrote"May your heart always see clearly."

Like the Little Prince, Molly Ivins has left us for a journey of her own. But while she was here, her heart never failed to see clear and true — and for that, we can all be grateful. — Anthony Zurcher, Editor, Creators Syndicate

An editorial and some of Molly's greatest hits from The Progressive magazine

Mother remembers Molly
From MotherJones.com

January 31, 2007/Houston Chronicle/Associated Press
Quotes and quips from Molly Ivins

Some quotes from Molly Ivins, the liberal political writer whose words could be clever, ruthless and humorous ˜sometimes in the same sentence":

The Gray Lady remembers one of her own

    "...While she drew important writing assignments, like covering the Son of Sam killings and Elvis Presley’s death, she sensed she did not fit in and complained that Times editors drained the life from her prose. 'Naturally, I was miserable, at five times my previous salary,' she later wrote. 'The New York Times is a great newspaper: it is also No Fun.'

   "Covering an annual chicken slaughter in New Mexico in 1980, she used a sexually suggestive phrase, which her editors deleted from the final article. But her effort to use it angered the executive editor, A. M. Rosenthal, who ordered her back to New York and assigned her to City Hall, where she covered routine matters with little flair...."

The New York Times, 2-1-2007
Free Registration may be required

EDITOR'S NOTE: The Gray Lady remains gray. Here's what pissed off auld Abe. With such prissyness, it is little wonder that the Times promoted getting us into the current unpleasantness on the sands of Araby.

   "Molly Ivins could have played in the league of the big boys. They invited her in, giving her a bureau chief job with The New York Times — which she wrote her way out of when she referred to a 'community chicken-killing festival' in a small town as a 'gang-pluck.'"
From Remembering Molly Ivins by John Nichols, Washington correspondent, The Nation

From her spiritual home paper

   "...Despite her failing health, and an impending ice storm, Molly insisted on being driven to the Observer's most recent public event in early January so she could thank our supporters. Observer writers are useful, she explained to the crowd, in much the same way as good hunting dogs. Turn them loose, let them hunt. When they return with their prey, pat them on the head, say a few words of praise, and set them loose to hunt again.

   "For the time being, The Texas Observer's web site will be dedicated to remembering Molly, her work, her wit, her contributions to the political discourse of a nation. We invite readers to submit their own thoughts and recollections, to say a few words of praise. Then, we will return to the hunt."...


Berserkeley braces to bring the curtain down

Tuesday, January 30, 2007/Berkeley Daily Planet
Editorial: A Tribute for Molly Ivins
By Becky O'Malley

   The Berkeley Daily Planet is hereby launching what we might call the Molly Ivins Festschrift. A festschrift is defined by Merriam-Webster as "a volume of writings by different authors presented as a tribute or memorial especially to a scholar." Academics are wont to create festschrifts on the occasion of a revered colleague's 60th birthday, for example. Molly's already 62, but no time like the present to catch up with what we should have done two years ago. And we might call it festschrift if we could reliably remember how to spell or pronounce that German word, but let's just call it the Molly Ivins Tribute Project.

   Here at the Berkeley Daily Planet we've set up a special mailbox to receive the offerings. We'll publish them as they come in, at least one every day if possible, in our Internet edition, berkeleydailyplanet.com. We'd like them to be contributed free of copyright, so that any publication, print or online, can take them off the web and re-circulate them to their own readers. The best ones we'll also run in our Tuesday and Friday printed papers. A good length would be 600-800 words, which would work for most publications. And of course, columnists under contract should just write pieces to run in their regular outlets.

   Readers, please take on the job of forwarding this call for contributions to any good columnist you read regularly, and to any publications which might circulate the results.

Anything you send to Berkeley or elsewhere, please forward a copy to barbano@frontpage.reno.nv.us

Be well. Raise hell.


On Feb. 1, 1709, English privateer Alexander Selkirk (later used by Daniel Defoe as the model for Robinson Crusoe), who had himself stranded on Mas a Tierra Island 400 miles off the coast of Chile because he thought, correctly, that his ship the Cinque Ports would sink, was rescued after four years and four months; in 1789, Vietnamese troops drove Chinese forces out of the Vietnamese capital of Thang Long (now Ha Noi); in 1790, the Supreme Court of the United States met for the first time; in 1879, the Nevada State Journal wrote "The contrast of the British-Canadian authorities with the War Department of the United States in the management of the Indian race is worthy of record. We are driving the North Western Indians from their reservations (secured by treaty) at the point of the bayonet; and the Canadian Government treat their red men as wards upon their charity, and never deprive them of their reservations."; in 1901, Robert Leroy Parker, Harry Longabaugh and Etta Place checked into Catherine Taylor's boarding house in New York City; in 1936, Rose Marie, filmed at Lake Tahoe and starring Jeanette McDonald and Nelson Eddy, was released; in 1951, New Jersey truck driver Paul Mandry, who had been waiting out his divorce residency in an auto court in Las Vegas, moved to Reno after two atomic bomb detonations made him leave the south; in 1951, legislation was introduced by Senator Mahlon Brown of Clark County to limit the powers of justices of the peace to perform marriages to the townships where they were elected, possibly a response to a competition for weddings among Las Vegas justices; in 1951, residents of the Duckwater/Currant area of Nye County were asking the Nevada Legislature to detach their region from Nye and attach it to White Pine; in 1960, Senator John Kennedy of Massachusetts addressed a joint session of the Nevada Legislature with a saber-rattling speech about the "singleminded advance" of communism, using several themes that would become familiar later in the year: "Can a nation organized and governed such as ours endure? We travel along a knife edged path which requires leadership better equipped than any since Lincoln's day to make clear to our people the vast spectrum of our challenges." (Reno Mayor Bud Baker traveled to Carson City to give Kennedy the key to Reno and Reno chamber of commerce president Frank Bender attacked JFK for meeting with labor leaders but not the chamber); in 1964, without telling the U.S. public, the U.S. government launched attacks on northern coastal bases in Vietnam (Operation Plan 34a), an illegal act of war that provoked retaliation by Vietnamese patrol boats against a U.S. ship in the Gulf of Tonkin, which retaliation Lyndon Johnson then used as a pretext for war; in 1968, David Leroy Collins of Carson City, Nevada, died in Vietnam (panel 36e, line 47 of the Vietnam wall); in 1973, at a Nevada Legislature hearing on the state higher education budget, Assemblymember Robert Robinson of Clark County asked if a supposed feeling among UNLV students that they needed to transfer to UNR in order to get accepted to the university medical school was true, Chancellor Neil Humphrey said that none of the med students rejected in Nevada had gained admission at other institutions, showing that there was no favoritism toward Reno students or against Las Vegas students; in 1977, Assemblymember James Kosinski of Washoe County introduced legislation to decriminalize marijuana in Nevada; in 1977, state personnel director James Wittenberg responded to claims that state workers have "jobs for life" by pointing out that in the previous year, 225 workers had been fired, most of them for performance-related reasons; in 1994, the New Republic reported that the Clinton health plan would "prevent you from going outside the system", a claim that was immediately seized upon by George Will, Rush Limbaugh and innumerable others, dominated the debate over the plan, and won the author of the article a National Association of Magazine Editors award, even though the claim was false, as the New Republic itself admitted (but the magazine waited more than a year to correct the record, until the plan was dead).

UPDATE: Jan. 31, 2007, 7:42 A.M. PST, 15:42 GMT/SUT —
On Jan. 31, 1865,
the House of Representatives passed a constitutional amendment to abolish slavery. [New York Times/AP e-headlines]

George W. Bush/January 31, 2001: There's no such thing as legacies. At least, there is a legacy but I'll never see it.

On Jan. 31, 1686, Louis XIV of France, acting for Catholicism, ordered that the Waldensian Church be suppressed, and its churches were burned, its members imprisoned or forced (with their children) to convert to Catholicism; in 1887, the Nevada Indian Commission (Jewett Adams, S.L. Lee and Henry Yerington) sent to the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs a copy of a measure enacted by the Nevada Legislature offering 160 acres and $10,000 for the establishment of a federal Native American school; in 1920, in Brooklyn, Assistant Secretary of the Navy Franklin Roosevelt, soon to be the Democratic vice-presidential candidate, implicitly criticized President Wilson for failing to get the U.S. ready for the world war, saying that as a navy official he (Roosevelt) had broken the law and spent unappropriated money to make up for lost time; in 1920, in Washington, Interior Secretary Franklin Lane announced that 24 more farms of from 29 to 106 acres were being opened for settlement on the Newlands Project in Nevada; in 1933, Adolf Hitler promised to respect parliamentary democracy in Germany; in 1940, the first social security benefit check in the amount of $22.54 was issued to a Vermont woman; in 1941, near Sainte-Marie-aux-Mines in France, Eddie Slovik was shot and killed at 10:04 in the morning by a U.S. military firing squad, the only U.S. soldier to be executed for desertion since the Civil War; in 1961, in Montreal, historian Arnold Toynbee and Israeli Ambassador to Canada Yaacov Herzog debated Toynbee's contention that Israeli atrocities against the Palestinians in the 1948 war are analogous to Nazi atrocities against the Jews; in 1970, Donald Lloyd Swanson of Reno died in Thua Thien province, Vietnam (panel 14w, row 87); in 1971, George Harrison's My Sweet Lord hit number one; in 1972, it became known that the Nevada Gaming Control Board had been attempting to arrange a meeting with billionaire Howard Hughes in connection with his casino licenses (Governor Mike O'Callaghan and gambling regulator Phil Hannifin later claimed to have met face to face with Hughes in London and said that this meeting satisfied the board's requirements); in 1977, Clark County Senator William Hernstadt introduced legislation to lift the 95 percent rule to make it easier to recruit someone to head the University of Nevada medical school (under Nevada law then, no public employee could be paid more than 95 percent of the Nevada governor's salary); in 1977, the Nevada Senate approved funding for a hearing in Las Vegas on the Equal Rights Amendment; in 1998, Bruce Springsteen, Jon Bon Jovi, Steve Van Zandt and Southside Johnny performed at a benefit for the family of New Jersey police sergeant Patrick King (the concert later showed up on bootleg).

UPDATE: Jan. 30, 2007, 2:48 a.m. PST, 10:46 GMT/SUT — On Jan. 30, 1948, Indian political and spiritual leader Mahatma Gandhi was murdered by a Hindu extremist. [New York Times/AP e-headlines]

New York Evening Post: We cannot forget the execrations we have heard yelled out in our streets against Andrew Jackson; we cannot forget the language which has been used by the Bank-Tory press concerning him; we cannot forget the speeches of Senators describing him as a cut-throat and a villain, the scourger of the people, a despot, a usurper.

On Jan. 30, 1798, after a dispute on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives between Representatives Matthew Lyon and Roger Griswold, Lyon reportedly spat on Griswold, who two weeks later again attacked Lyon with a hickory stick and Lyon fought back with hot fire tongs; in 1835, at a funeral in the U.S. Capitol, a painter named Richard Lawrence tried to shoot President Jackson with two pistols, both of which misfired (Lawrence was committed to a mental institution); in 1883, in an interview with the Elko Free Press, Indian Agent John Mayhugh reported that there were 300 Shoshone on "his" reservation (the Duck Valley reservation astride the Nevada/Idaho border) and that they were all in excellent health, happy, contented, with plenty to eat, good shelter and warm clothing, but that the tribal members reported trouble brewing among the Bannocks, which trouble Mayhugh reported to his superiors in D.C.; in 1905, the San Pedro, Los Angeles and Salt Lake Railroad was completed, providing service to Las Vegas; in 1933, WXYX in Detroit and several other Michigan radio stations began broadcasting The Lone Ranger starring Brace Beemer as the ranger and John Todd as Tonto; in 1946, filming began in Reno on Margie, starring Jeanne Crain, Hattie McDaniel and Hobart Cavanaugh (a Virginia City native); in 1948, Mohandas Gandhi, one of the towering figures of the twentieth century, was assassinated; in 1956, the Montgomery home of Martin Luther King, Jr., (with his wife and their baby inside) was dynamited; in 1957, an explosion at the Titanium Metals plant in Henderson seriously injured two men and ten others were also hospitalized; in 1958, the first two-way moving sidewalk began operating at Love Field in Dallas; in 1961, Clark County commissioners appointed Ralph Lamb, an unsuccessful candidate for sheriff, to replace Sheriff William "Butch" Leypoldt after Leypoldt was appointed a state gambling regulator by Governor Grant Sawyer; in 1961, the Protestant magazine Christian Century criticized New York Catholic Cardinal Francis Spellman for doing "his country and his church a disservice" by supporting public aid to religious schools; in 1961, Roger Maris signed a reported $36,000 Yankee contract, representing a $15,000 raise; in 1968, attacks by 80,000 Vietnamese troops against U.S. forces swept dozens of cities and towns across Vietnam, launching the Tet Offensive; in 1968, in the wake of a hunger strike at the Nevada State Prison, Assemblymember Flora Dungan said Governor Paul Laxalt was looking for a scapegoat to blame for prison problems and that he'd better get some professional penologists to help; in 1969, in their last live appearance ever, known as the rooftop concert, The Beatles went up on the roof of their Apple Records office building in London (Three Saville Row) and began jamming, causing crowds to gather in the street below, a final and unannounced concert that ended with the police arriving and John's famous line, heard on the Let It Be album and documentary: "I'd like to say thank you very much on behalf of the group and myself and I hope we passed the audition"; in 1972, as Irish member of Parliament Bernadette Devlin began speaking to a crowd in British occupied Londonderry, British soldiers inexplicably opened fire on the crowd, killing 13 unarmed residents (five of the wounded were shot in the back), generating new recruits and respectability for the Irish Republican Army; in 1973, state economic development director Robert Goodman told the Nevada senate finance committee that Reno had done well in attracting new industry but that Las Vegas needed help in accomplishing it; in 2000, the city government of Reno imploded the Mapes Hotel.

UPDATE: Jan. 29, 2007, 9:15 a.m. PST< 17:15 GMT/SUT — On Jan. 29, 1963, poet Robert Frost died in Boston.[New York Times/AP e-headlines]

George Bush/January 29, 2000: Will the highways on the internet become more few?

George Bush/January 29, 2002: The war on terror involves Saddam Hussein because of the nature of Saddam Hussein, the history of Saddam Hussein, and his willingness to terrorize himself.

George Bush/January 29, 2004: More Muslims have died at the hands of killers than — I say more Muslims — a lot of Muslims have died — I don't know the exact count — at Istanbul. Look at these different places around the world where there's been tremendous death and destruction because killers kill.

On Jan. 29, 1802, John Beckley was appointed the first librarian of Congress; in 1834, Andrew Jackson became the first president to use federal troops to suppress a labor protest; in 1845, The Raven by Edgar Allen Poe was published in the New York Mirror; in 1910, eastern businesspeople declared their intention to acquire 200,000 acres of land in the Pahrump Valley under the Desert Land Act of 1894; in 1915, the widow of U.S. Senator George Nixon took over operation of one of his holdings, the Reno Evening Gazette; in 1918, actor John Forsythe was born (he starred in the 1952 movie Captive City, filmed in Carson City and Reno) in Penn Grove, New Jersey; in 1920, Tonopah miners and mine operators agreed to accept a federal mediator's recommendations on issues remaining unresolved after the 1919 strike settlement; in 1961, Edward R. Murrow, appointed director of the federal overseas propaganda agency, said that he would try to avoid a strident tone by the U.S. toward other nations; in 1961, President Kennedy, reading in a newspaper that the General Services Administration had denied office supplies and long distance funding to the transition staff of departing President Eisenhower, ordered the GSA to provide the needed items; in 1967, Big Brother (with Janis Joplin), the Grateful Dead, Moby Grape and Allen Ginsberg performed in a benefit at the Avalon Ballroom in San Francisco; in 1968, Jim Morrison of The Doors drove to Las Vegas with reporter Robert Gover where they were arrested and reportedly brutalized by local police; in 1989, the company that imported the Yugo went bankrupt, breaking the hearts of repair mechanics everywhere; in 1993, President Clinton ordered officials to draft an order ending the ban on gays in the military (he later caved); in 1998, President Clinton appointed Martha Gould of Reno to a second term on the national library commission; in 2001, Human Rights Watch sent a letter to Israeli Prime Minister Ehid Barak to call for an end to the Israeli policy of murdering its critics and opponents, set up a commission to investigate those who ordered or participated in assassinations, and make public "all cases of individuals killed or wounded to date as a result of the 'liquidation' policy" (deputy defense minister Ephraim Sneh recently confirmed that nothing has changed: "I can tell you unequivocally what the policy is. If anyone has committed or is planning to carry out terrorist attacks, he has to be hit").

UPDATE: Jan. 28, 2007, 11:56 a.m. PST, 19:56 GMT/SUT — On Jan. 28, 1986, space shuttle Challenger exploded 73 seconds after liftoff from Cape Canaveral, killing all seven crew members. [New York Times/AP e-headlines]

George W. Bush/January 28, 2003: The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa. Our intelligence sources tell us that he has attempted to purchase high-strength aluminum tubes suitable for nuclear weapons production.

On Jan. 23, 1495, Pope Alexander VI gave his son Cesare Borgia as a hostage to French King Charles VIII; in 1848, in a lecture in Concord, Massachusetts, Henry David Thoreau gave a lecture which would be published the next year under the title Resistance to Civil Government and would later make history across the world, inspiring freedom fighters in India, Denmark, the U.S. and South Africa (it is known to us as Civil Disobedience); in 1859, fifty-foot claims, the first Gold Hill strikes, were located by Alexander Henderson, James Finney (who reportedly named Virginia City), Henry T.P. Comstock, John Bishop, Jack Yount and perhaps others; in 1878, the first college newspaper, the Yale News, was published; in 1883, two Elko County train robbers were captured after a shootout with a posse (the take from the robbery was $10); in 1890, a hundred inches of snow over a period of a month completely closed rail and road access to Virginia City (eight tons of potatoes reached the residents through the Sutro mine drainage tunnel and up a mine shaft); in 1909, Esmeralda Assemblymember J.W. Brooks tried unsuccessfully to defeat Nevada's first state law exempting church property from taxation; in 1938, the NBC Radio program Death Valley Days broadcast a radio play titled Nevada's Plymouth Rock; in 1956, the nation got its first look at Elvis when he made his television debut, appearing on Jimmy and Tommy Dorsey's Stage Show (he sang Heartbreak Hotel, recorded eight days earlier), the first of six appearances on the program; in 1958, teenagers Caril Fugate and Charles Starkweather departed Lincoln, Nebraska, on a killing spree around the midwest that was later dramatized in The Sugarland Express, Badlands and even the Woody Allen comedy Take the Money and Run; in 1965, The Who appeared in England on Ready Steady Go! performing I Can't Explain; in 1970, bids for printing the UNLV catalog were opened (the winning bid was $11,651 from Mayhew Ltd.); in 1972, fifty-five years after his death, Scott Joplin's opera Treemonisha premiered at the Atlanta Memorial Arts Center (and went on to win the Pulitzer Prize); in 1986, the space shuttle Challenger exploded; in 1997, Hilton Hotels launched a $10.5 billion hostile takeover bid against ITT involving the Desert Inn and Caesars properties in Las Vegas (ITT stockholders went for a better bid from Starwood Lodging).

UPDATE: Jan. 27, 2007, 8:31 a.m. PST, 16:31 GMT/SUT — On Jan. 27, 1967, Astronauts Virgil I. ''Gus'' Grissom, Edward H. White and Roger B. Chaffee died in a flash fire during a test aboard their Apollo I spacecraft at Cape Kennedy, Fla. [New York Times/AP e-headlines]

George W. Bush/Nashua, New Hampshire/January 27, 2000: I know how hard it is for you to put food on your family.

On Jan. 27, 1302, Dante was exiled from Florence for his role in an anti-papal faction (he never returned, wandering from town to town); in 1593, Giordano Bruno was put on trial for heresy by the Vatican after a life in which he fled the Catholic Inquisition in Naples, was excommunicated by the Calvinists in Geneva, was excommunicated by the Lutherans in Helmstadt, and was finally captured by the Catholics in Venice (his Vatican trial lasted seven years, and he was convicted and burned at the stake); in 1756, Mozart was born in Salzburg; in 1829, John Jones, later a U.S. senator from Nevada, was born at "The Hay," Herefordshire, England; in 1892, with a dispute between Chili (Chile) and the United States in the news, Nevada's governor and secretary of state were receiving letters and wires from people volunteering to fight in a war, most of them also asking to be officers; in 1905, a day after his appointment as a deputy sheriff of Esmeralda County, Nevada, Virgil Earp was sworn into office; in 1926, television was first demonstrated by a Scottish inventor; in 1927, Nevada Assemblymember Frank Winter, an Elko County Democrat, announced that a design by state worker Louis Schellbach 3d had been selected for a new state flag (legally adopted in 1929); in 1951, the first Nevada atomic test occurred, the one-kiloton bomb dropped from a plane over Frenchman Flat, the flash seen in San Francisco; in 1958, at the height of his popularity, Little Richard Penniman left show business to enter a religious college in Alabama and become a minister (he began performing again as a gospel singer five years later); in 1956, Heartbreak Hotel, Elvis' first RCA record, was released; in 1961, President Kennedy appointed Edward R. Murrow to be the director of the United States Information Agency; in 1964, the Warren Commission held a secret meeting to decide how to make its "magic bullet" theory (which said that one bullet from Lee Oswald's rifle hit President Kennedy in the back, fractured his spine, exited through his throat, entered John Connolly's back, shattered a rib, exited through his chest, entered Connolly's wrist, broke his wrist bone, exited through his palm, entered Connolly's thigh and finally came to rest embedded in the thigh in pristine condition) mesh with conflicting autopsy results; in 1965, Las Vegas labor union leader Tom Hanley accused the Las Vegas Police Department of covering up the beating of a worker, Leonard Blanchard, who had been on a picket line at the California Club for two months; in 1965, the actors who would play Tarzan and Jane in the new Tarzan movie, Tarzan '65, were announced — Rams linebacker Mike Henry and actress Sharon Tate, who would later be murdered by the Manson family (the name of the movie was changed to Tarzan and the Valley of Gold and Jane was ultimately played by Nancy Kovack); in 1972, Watergate conspirators Gordon Liddy and John Dean met in the office of U.S. Attorney General John Mitchell's to discuss an elaborate million dollar surveillance, burglary and kidnapping plan, possibly including a burglary of the office of Las Vegas Sun publisher Hank Greenspun; in 1984, a 54-mile-long tunnel, most of which passes under the sea floor between the Japanese islands of Honshu and Hokkaido, began operation; in 1998, President Clinton appointed assistant Clark County district attorney (Ms.) Johnnie Rawlinson to be a U.S. District Court judge.

Recent BARBWIRE Media Hits
and Ego Trips

   The Dean of Reno Bloggers could very well be Andrew Barbano, self-described "fighter of public demons," who started putting his "Barbwire" columns online in 1996 and now runs 10 sites.
      RENO NEWS & REVIEW, 11-9-2006

"Our long national nightmare is over."
Did I say that a dozen years ago?
CORY FARLEY, RGJ, 11-10-2006

BARBANO: Nevada's newly-hiked minimum wage is nowhere near enough
Reno Gazette-Journal, 11-11-2006

Oregon State U. minimum wage deflator

Time to bring back NAGPAC?
CORY FARLEY, RGJ, 8-1-2006

UPDATE: Jan. 26, 2007, 3:19 a.m. PST, 11:19 GMT/SUT — On Jan. 26, 1784, Benjamin Franklin opposed the selection of the eagle as the U.S. national bird because it is a scavenger and instead championed the turkey (see below); in 1808, Australians rebelled against the rule of William Bligh who had been made governor of New South Wales after being cleared of charges stemming from the mutiny aboard the Bounty (he was cleared in this new mutiny, too); in 1875, Pinkerton detectives attacked the James family farmhouse in Clay County, Missouri, in an effort to find Frank and Jesse (who were elsewhere) and instead killed their younger brother and dismembered their mother's arm; in 1892, the ice harvest was underway on the Truckee River; in 1912, future Las Vegas city attorney and U.S. senator Howard Cannon of Nevada was born in St. George, Utah; in 1925, Paul Newman was born in Shaker Heights, Ohio; in 1934, the Apollo Theatre opened in Harlem; in 1936, U.S. Bureau of Reclamation director Elwood Mead died (Lake Mead behind Hoover Dam is named for him); in 1945, the inhabitants of a complex of dozens of concentration camps in and around Auschwitz, Poland, were freed by Soviet soldiers; in 1962, Bishop Joseph A. Burke of the New York Catholic Diocese of Buffalo declared the Twist (a dance in which the boy and girl never touch) to be impure and banned it from Catholic schools in the diocese; in 1963, President Kennedy, released a statement on nuclear testing in Nevada; in 1963, Walk Like A Man by The Four Seasons was released on the Vee Jay label; in 1965, U.S. District Judge Roger Foley ordered Clark County Sheriff Ralph Lamb to explain why a prisoner named Earl Wagner had been jailed in Las Vegas for six months without ever being brought to trial; in 1965, businesspeople and residents on Maryland Parkway in Las Vegas were upset by an Uptown Kiwanis Club proposal to change the name of the street to University Parkway; in 1967, four Clark County senators introduced legislation to outlaw trading stamps in Nevada; in 1967, Governor Paul Laxalt said he had dropped prison inmates as staff members at the governor's mansion: "We decided we would feel more comfortable with our own trusted help."; in 1967, in what was touted as an ecumenical milestone, the Catholic Diocese of Reno (which included all of Nevada) was admitted to the Nevada Council of Churches, the second instance of a Catholic admission to a state council; in 1992, the Americans with Disabilities Act took effect; in 1993, the former president of Czechoslovakia, Vaclav Havel, was elected president of the new Czech Republic after the partitioning of Czechoslovakia; in 2001 former Reno barber Loyd "Dutch" Myers died in the Philippines.

Benjamin Franklin: For my own part I wish the Bald Eagle had not been chosen the Representative of our Country. He is a Bird of bad moral Character. He does not get his Living honestly. You may have seen him perched on some dead Tree near the River, where, too lazy to fish for himself, he watches the Labour of the Fishing Hawk; and when that diligent Bird has at length taken a Fish, and is bearing it to his Nest for the Support of his Mate and young Ones, the Bald Eagle pursues him and takes it from him.

With all this Injustice, he is never in good Case but like those among Men who live by Sharping & Robbing he is generally poor and often very lousy. Besides he is a rank Coward: The little King Bird not bigger than a Sparrow attacks him boldly and drives him out of the District. He is therefore by no means a proper Emblem for the brave and honest Cincinnati of America who have driven all the King birds from our Country....

For the Truth the Turkey is in Comparison a much more respectable Bird, and withal a true original Native of America...He is besides, though a little vain & silly, a Bird of Courage, and would not hesitate to attack a Grenadier of the British Guards who should presume to invade his Farm Yard with a red Coat on.

UPDATE: Jan. 25, 2007, 1:46 a.m. PST, 9:46 SUT/GMT — On Jan. 25, 1915, the inventor of the telephone, Alexander Graham Bell, inaugurated U.S. transcontinental telephone service. [New York Times/AP e-headlines]

On Jan. 25, 1533, four months before his divorce from Catherine of Aragon, Henry VIII secretly married Anne Boleyn, who would give birth to Elizabeth; in 1787, debt- ridden farmers staged Shay's Rebellion in Massachusetts; in 1851, Sojourner Truth spoke before a Black Women's Rights Convention in Ohio; in 1859, U.S. Senator Andrew Johnson of Tennessee addressed the senate on the subject of a cross-country railroad; in 1877, a congressionally appointed electoral commission awarded the presidency to Rutherford B. Hayes, who lost both popular and electoral votes (to Samuel Tilden) in the 1876 election; in 1882, Adeline Virginia Stephen, later Virginia Woolf, was born in London; in 1919, A.T. Lay of Humboldt County was the first local resident to take advantage of a new state law by paying $25 to get out of jury duty; in 1920, Nevada District Judge Edward Lunsford threw a charge of criminal syndicalism against Thomas Degan out of court after the Washoe County district attorney and the American Legion's lawyer argued that Degan's membership in the Industrial Workers of the World was a felony; in 1936, 415 men from two Civilian Conservation Corps camps in Boulder City were given a tour of Hoover Dam and shown films and slides on the dam construction at the Boulder theatre; in 1959, Pope John XXIII proclaimed the revolutionary Second Vatican Council; in 1961, President Kennedy's first formal news conference as president was broadcast live, marking a break with previous practice in which presidents retained some control over the content and disclosure of news conferences; in 1961, Bob Dylan went to Woody Guthrie's house in Queens to meet the folk legend, was twice sent away (Guthrie was in the hospital) and finally was admitted to the house where he met teenaged Arlo; in 1965, Nevada landowner William McCall sued U.S. Secretary of the Interior Stewart Udall and other federal officials to force them to recognize 25 Clark County mining claims, known to contain both gold and silver, for which he paid $5,200; in 1967, congressional testimony by U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara, in which he said the National Liberation Front in Vietnam was running out of soldiers, was released; in 1967, Reno high school students Claire McCorkle, Joe Reading, Eddie Joseph and Dorothy Nash were winners in the Voice of Democracy speech competition, a contest sponsored by the VFW Americanism Program; in 1967, Carson City fire official Les Groth reported that the Nevada governor's mansion was filled with fire hazards and in need of structural rehabilitation; in 1970, the film M*A*S*H premiered; in 1992, Guns 'n' Roses appeared before 17,590 people at the Thomas and Mack Center in Las Vegas, the largest audience at the center to that time (later eclipsed by the audience for U2 in 2001); in 1995, heavy flooding washed into Las Vegas; in 1998, in the media firestorm that broke after the disclosure of sexual accusations against President Clinton, NBC broke into the normally inviolable Super Bowl broadcast so Tom Brokaw and Claire Shipman could report a story (a "sighting" of Clinton and Monica Lewinsky in an intimate encounter) that turned out to be false.

UPDATE: Jan. 24, 2007, 9:17 a.m. PST, 17:17 GMT/SUT — On Jan. 24, 1965, Winston Churchill died in London at age 90. [New York Times/AP e-headlines]

On Jan. 24, 1573, John Donne was born in London; in 1892, the Carson City Nevada Appeal reported that a thousand Danes were expected to emigrate to the U.S. to start a large creamery along the Walker River for which products they had been guaranteed special rates by the Southern Pacific and the Carson and Colorado, and the newspaper also reported that Reno's Nevada Creamery Company might acquire the Gould Creamery; in 1906, three hundred African-American leaders from around the nation gathered in the Metropolitan Church in D.C. to protest against mistreatment of blacks and denial of suffrage in the south; in 1920, the Churchill County Commercial Club adopted a resolution asking Governor Emmet Boyle to call a special session of the Nevada Legislature to pass a law protecting Nevada from the "evils of continued Japanese immigraton"; in 1920, Elko county high school principal George Jensen resigned to go to Columbia University (whether as a student or instructor was not specified in the news account of his departure); in 1923, Indiana Governor Warren McCray sent a national guard officer to check on the situation in Blanford, Indiana, where whites ordered African-Americans out of town; in 1951, the Elko County chamber of commerce, in a ceremony conducted by Newt Crumley, named District Attorney Grant Sawyer as Elko's "man of the year"; in 1960, Johnny Preston's Running Bear, written by the Big Bopper, reached number one on the record charts; in 1962, Brian Epstein signed a management contract with The Beatles; in 1962, Peter Fonda took a screen test for the role of John Kennedy in P.T. 109 (a photo of Fonda/Kennedy in navy uniform and looking emaciated was released to the press); in 1962, Nevada Attorney General Roger Foley wrote a letter to U.S. Attorney General Robert Kennedy saying that because Nevada had no anti-discrimination statutes, it had no authority — except for casino licensing — to stop racial discrimination (the letter was a response to criticism from civil rights leader Prentiss Walker of Las Vegas, who said African-Americans had been prevented from attending a Democratic breakfast in Hawthorne at which U.S. Senator Howard Cannon spoke); in 1962, U.S. Representative Walter Baring of Nevada testified before the House Rules Committee against President Kennedy's proposed cabinet department of urban affairs, saying it would end home rule by states and that "A government that is big enough to give you everything you want is a government big enough to take everything you've got"; in 1962, teen singer Danny Peppermint was electrocuted by a mike stand at the Las Vegas Thunderbird and nearly died; in 1965, at a hearing on the color line at Hawthorne's El Capitan and other businesses, two restaurant spokespeople said they were reluctant to serve African-Americans for fear of losing white customers and Mineral County District Attorney Leonard Blaisdell said he doubted that anything would change unless state legislators passed anti-bias laws; in 1965, Mrs. Spencer Tracy, director of a clinic in Los Angeles, wrote to the Las Vegas Review-Journal to object to the newspaper's use of the term "deaf mute"; in 1967, at Fame Studios in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, Aretha Franklin cut the first side of her first record — I Never Loved a Man the Way I Love You, a song whose greatness was so apparent to the studio musicians that they started dancing: "We knew a star had been born" (songwriter Dan Penn); in 1996, ground was broken for the Las Vegas Hilton's Star Trek/The Experience; in 2001, Governor Kenny Guinn wrote to U.S. Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham objecting to selection of Nevada's Yucca Mountain as a dump for nuclear wastes; in 2001, the Nevada State Archives and Library opened a conference on the needs of tribal museums, archives and libraries.

UPDATE: Jan. 23, 2007, 7:15 a.m. PST, 15:15 SUT/GMT —

George W. Bush/January 23d 2004: The illiteracy level of our children are appalling.

On Jan. 23, 1892, a U.S. Census Bureau report on pauperism in the United States reported the number of paupers in almshouses in California was 2,600; in Washington 71; in Oregon 99 and in Nevada 20; in 1892, Carson City's Appeal reported "Several beautiful views could have been obtained yesterday from the effect of the pogonip, especially that of the Capitol square"; in 1892, the Appeal also reported "It is said there are no more trout in Walker Lake."; in 1907, representatives of Hawthorne and Mina arrived in Carson City to lobby against moving the county seat of Esmeralda County from Hawthorne to Goldfield; in 1920, Holland refused to hand Kaiser Wilhelm over to the tender mercies of the large Allied powers after the world war; in 1920, the federal grand jury in Carson City convened to hear 18 cases, including a dozen Chinese opium cases, a still being operated at Sutro, and a boxcar robbery; in 1923, Empire Trust of New York announced that the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers had purchased a "large interest" of the bank and would place two union officers on the bank's board of directors; in 1923, the success of alcohol prohibition was on full display: in Gary, Indiana, 67 leading citizens including the mayor and sheriff were either under arrest or being sought for arrest for bootlegging; at the Quantico marine base an investigation of bootlegging was underway at the order of Commandant Smedley Butler; and in Hollywood, the film community was a target of a booze and narcotics probe ordered by U.S. prohibition commissioner Ray Haynes; in 1941, the U.S. Army Air Corps leased the former Western Air Express airfield from the City of Las Vegas; in 1958, Maybe Baby by The Crickets was released; in 1968, North Korea captured the spy ship U.S.S. Pueblo (reservists in Nevada were called to active duty and sent to the Pacific) and held it for eleven months until U.S. officials apologized for its spying; in 1970, Nevada Governor Paul Laxalt taped a cameo appearance on the CBS situation comedy The Governor and J.J.; in 1973, President Nixon announced an end to the Vietnam war (though the U.S. continued bombing Vietnam) and during a New York concert Neil Young was handed a message telling him that (U.S. participation in) the Vietnam war had ended and he told the audience "peace has come", setting off ten minutes of hysterical cheering and crying; in 1975, Barney Miller debuted on ABC; in 1976, singer, athlete (baseball, basketball, tennis, football All American), movie star and author Paul Robeson, whose career was destroyed after he was targeted by red baiters in the 1950s, died in obscurity in Philadelphia; in 2002, U.S. forces attacked the village of Hazer Qadam and killed friendly Afghanis under the impression it was an Al Qaeda outpost, releasing 27 imprisoned and brutalized survivors after learning it was an anti-Taliban village; in 2002, Las Vegas was named "place of a lifetime" by the National Geographic magazine

UPDATE: Jan. 22, 2007, 8:19 a.m. PST, 16:19 GMT/SUT — On Jan. 22, 1973, the Supreme Court handed down its Roe vs. Wade decision, which legalized abortion. [New York Times/AP e-headlines]

George W. Bush on quail hunting/January 22d 2004/Roswell, New Mexico: Just remember it's the birds that's supposed to suffer, not the hunter.

On Jan. 22, 1867, the Nevada Legislature ratified the 14th amendment to the U.S. Constitution (a post-Civil War amendment guaranteeing citizens due process and equal protection of the laws and extending the protection of the Bill of Rights — previously a protection only against the federal government — to actions by the states, thus fulfilling one of the original purposes of Nevada's admission to the union; in 1873, during a congressional hearing into the Credit Mobelier scandal, the Watergate of its day, Central Pacific Railroad lobbyist Oakes Ames said he had paid off Vice-President Schyler Colfax with a payment of $1,200, which Colfax denied on the spot (an examination of Colfax's bank account disclosed a deposit of that amount, whereupon Colfax said a since-deceased supporter had mailed a thousand dollar bill to him as a campaign contribution); in 1892, Carson City's Appeal reported that lynchings exceeded legal hangings in the United States in 1881, 195 to 123; in 1905, the first Russian revolution began with Bloody Sunday, in which five hundred Russians were massacred by Czarist troops; in 1910 after a school bond issue was approved by voters by a vote of 62 to 4, the Clark County Review reported "Several good citizens have called on the Review and requested that the paper "roast" the four citizens who registered their ballots against proper school accommodations for the children of Las Vegas; but what's the use? Men who could vote against public school facilities would perhaps not comprehend it, or care if they did."; in 1912, the Carson City News published an account of the alleged November 1911 crimes and arrest of Indian Mike and his deaf mute son, contradicting previous published accounts by other newspapers that portrayed the two as bloodthirsty renegades; in 1940, President Franklin Roosevelt signed an executive order abolishing customs collection district number 48 (Nevada and Utah), revoking Salt Lake City's status as a customs entry point, and putting Nevada and Utah into the same district with San Francisco; in 1944, with victory for the U.S. in the war looking more likely, the 14,000-acre Keystone Ordnance Works in Geneva, Pennsylvania, near Meadville ended its operations, though its 1,530 male and 330 female workers would be phased out gradually; in 1949, it was reported that 19 Nevada state agencies were having to pay $1,794 a month for rent; in 1949, the International Concatenated Order of Hoo-Hoo held initiation ceremonies in Reno; in 1950, auto executive Preston Tucker was cleared of all fraud charges against him in the manufacture and marketing of his innovative Tucker automobile, a not-guilty finding that came too late to save his company and the car; in 1965, Actor Ray Walston, who appeared in the Kim Novak/Dean Martin film Kiss Me, Stupid (set in a small Nevada town), defended the movie against harsh criticism for its smuttiness by critics and the Catholic Legion of Decency; in 1965, Major Riddle's Silver Nugget Casino (in North Las Vegas) opened a day late, spoiling its grand opening, after labor unions struck the club for two days until Riddle paid his "delinquent accounts" with union health plans; in 1966, Big Brother and the Holding Company appeared (pre-Janis) at the Longshoreman's Hall during the Trips festival in San Francisco; in 1996, The New York Times started its own web site; in 2002, Nevada American Independent Party founder Daniel Hansen died in a car accident.

UPDATE: Jan. 21, 2007, 6:54 a.m. PST, 14:54 GMT/SUT —

Robert Maynard Hutchins/January 21, 1959: Anybody who feels at ease in the world today is a fool.

George Bush/January 21, 2000: When I was coming up, it was a dangerous world, and you knew exactly who they were. It was us versus them, and it was clear who them was. Today, we are not so sure who the they are, but we know they‚re there.

On Jan. 21, 1813, John Fremont — explorer, governor of California, U.S. senator, governor of Arizona, and first Republican presidential nominee — was born in Savannah; in 1876, the Truckee Republican wrote: "Needed Legislation/The present Legislature ought to take some action that will prevent white men from employing Indians to catch trout. Every year the fish business is increasing because more cunning and diabolical contrivances are annually brought into requisition in capturing this trout. The number of fish in the Truckee is decreasing each year. Indians are not restricted by law form taking the fish with grab hooks, baskets or in any other manner, and white men hire the Indians to do this part of the work. Reaping the profits is reserved to the white man. In 1872, the total amount of fish shipped from the Truckee river was 109,812 pounts; in 1873, 150,657 pounds; in 1874, 161,696; making a total in three years of 422,165 pounds. No trout stream in America could stand such a drain for any considerable length of time."; in 1883, Austin's Reveille pointed out that the Nevada Legislature had just appointed two of the three members of the Nevada Board of Regents, which governed the University of Nevada in Elko, and that two of the three regents "are from the western part of the State, from which section not a scholar has ever attended the Elko school."; in 1900, John Johnson, former mountain man and Montana lawman (portrayed by Robert Redford in Jeremiah Johnson) died at a veteran's hospital in Los Angeles; in 1901, the Tuscarora Miners Union was reported to have ninety-eight members; in 1903, over a story about the Birmingham, Alabama, Liberian Colonization Society sending a third "cargo of negroes" from Savannah to Liberia aboard the steamer Donnalde, the Nevada State Journal used the subhead "The Liberian Colonization Society Is Shipping the Colored Man Away"; in 1903, plans for a hot springs spa were being floated in Elko County, with a Boston physician named Beecher and a Denver investor named Mayhem taking an interest; in 1910, Persia [Iran] was invaded jointly by Russia and England; in 1936, at a chamber of commerce meeting two days after three warehouses were destroyed by Las Vegas' biggest fire, CC board member C.C. Ronnow suggested that police officers spend less time "window shopping" on Fremont Street and more time patrolling the warehouse district, whereupon Mayor Leonard Arnett jumped up to angrily defend the police; in 1942, Count Basie and his orchestra recorded One O'Clock Jump; in 1944, The New York Times reported that because of high production goals, inadequate training and poor workplace safety, 37,500 war workers had died since the start of the war — 7,500 more than had died in the war itself; in 1965, The Byrds recorded Mr. Tambourine Man by Bob Dylan; in 1966, George Harrison and Patti Boyd married; in 1966, Time and Newsweek covered the Trips Festival, a three day event of music (Grateful Dead, Big Brother and the Holding Company), drugs (the Merry Pranksters and their Psychedelic Symphony, Ken Kesey), and culture (Native American food and flowers, open theatre), all "programmed live from stimuli provided by a pinball machine", putting the San Francisco flower child scene into the national spotlight; in 1974, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that pregnant teachers could no longer be forced into leaves of absence; in 1985, a Galaxy Airlines four engine turboprop, used during 1984 by Democratic presidential candidate Jesse Jackson, went down south of Reno, killing seventy people (one passenger, 17 year-old George Lamson, Jr., survived); in 1987, B.B. King donated his 7,000 records to the University of Mississippi; in 1996, Sharon Stone won a Golden Globe for Casino as did Nicholas Cage for Leaving Las Vegas.

Dwight D. Eisenhower, second inaugural address/January 21, 1957:

May we pursue the right — without self-righteousness.

May we know unity — without conformity.

May we grow in strength — without pride in self.

May we, in our dealings with all peoples of the earth, ever speak truth and serve justice.

One truth must rule all we think and all we do. No people can live to itself alone. The unity of all who dwell in freedom is their only sure defense. The economic need of all nations — in mutual dependence — makes isolation an impossibility; not even America's prosperity could long survive if other nations did not also prosper. No nation can longer be a fortress, lone and strong and safe. And any people, seeking such shelter for themselves, can now build only their own prison.

We cherish our friendship with all nations that are or would be free. We respect, no less, their independence. And when, in time of want or peril, they ask our help, they may honorably receive it; for we no more seek to buy their sovereignty than we would sell our own. Sovereignty is never bartered among freemen.

UPDATE: Jan. 20, 2007, 3:29 a.m. PST, 11:29 GMT/SUT — On Jan. 20, 1981, Iran released 52 Americans held hostage for 444 days, minutes after the presidency had passed from Jimmy Carter to Ronald Reagan. [New York Times/AP e-headlines]

On Jan. 20, 1867, Julia Bulette of Virginia City was found dead in her home, sparking a murder case that would enter western folklore; in 1907, workers in Goldfield, Nevada, staged a parade commemorating the second anniversary of the notorious "Bloody Sunday" massacre of workers by government troops during the first Russian revolution; in 1920, as Carson City women organized to provide bed and board in their homes for members of the Nevada Legislature, Governor Emmet Boyle expressed his willingness to call a one day special session to ratify the federal women's suffrage amendment if its cost could be held down to $1,000; in 1939, Hitler declared before the German Parliament his intention to eliminate all Jews from Europe; in 1942, in a luxurious villa at Wannsee, Germany, Hitler's lieutenant Reinhard Heydrich convened a conference of 15 Nazi officials to sort out incompatible policies toward the Jews, whether to exterminate the Jewish race or use it for forced labor — and ultimately how to carry out extermination of all 11 million Jews in Europe; in 1953, Governor Charles Russell recommended a pay raise for Nevada state employees of up to ten percent; in 1955, U.S. Attorney James W. Johnson, Jr., of Fallon, a Democratic holdover, announced that he was nominating Ormsby County District Attorney Paul Laxalt, a Republican, to be an assistant U.S. attorney, apparently to placate state GOP leaders who wanted the office filled by the Eisenhower administration with Republicans (Laxalt said he would accept the position but not resign as D.A.. until the appointment was signed in D.C.); in 1956, Buddy Holly recorded Blue Days Black Night; in 1958, service on Union Pacific's City of Las Vegas Streamliner train between Los Angeles and Las Vegas was cut from daily to three times a week for $18 round trip which included a buffet and entrance to a lounge; in 1964, Meet the Beatles, a truncated version of one of their English albums, was released in the U.S.; in 1965, The Byrds recorded Mr. Tambourine Man; in 1968, the 77-day seige of Khe Sanh began, during which General Westmoreland wanted to use nuclear weapons but was overruled; in 1977, John and Yoko attended Jimmy Carter's inaugural gala; in 2001, in Manila and Washington, the children of famous politicians both became president without winning the public's vote — Phillippine President Joseph Estrada was forced out of office by a second "people power" revolution after Estrada's allies in Congress suppressed evidence against him in his impeachment trial, replaced by Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, and George Bush was sworn in after losing the election but winning appointment by presidential electors.

Franklin D. Roosevelt, second inaugural address/January 20, 1937:

We are beginning to wipe out the line that divides the practical from the ideal; and in so doing we are fashioning an instrument of unimagined power for the establishment of a morally better world.

This new understanding undermines the old admiration of worldly success as such. We are beginning to abandon our tolerance of the abuse of power by those who betray for profit the elementary decencies of life.

In this process evil things formerly accepted will not be so easily condoned. Hard-headedness will not so easily excuse hard-heartedness. We are moving toward an era of good feeling. But we realize that there can be no era of good feeling save among men of good will.

For these reasons I am justified in believing that the greatest change we have witnessed has been the change in the moral climate of America.

Among men of good will, science and democracy together offer an ever-richer life and ever-larger satisfaction to the individual. With this change in our moral climate and our rediscovered ability to improve our economic order, we have set our feet upon the road of enduring progress.

Shall we pause now and turn our back upon the road that lies ahead? Shall we call this the promised land? Or, shall we continue on our way? For "each age is a dream that is dying, or one that is coming to birth." [The verse is from Arthur O'Shaughnessy's Ode.]

Many voices are heard as we face a great decision. Comfort says, "Tarry a while." Opportunism says, "This is a good spot." Timidity asks, "How difficult is the road ahead?"

True, we have come far from the days of stagnation and despair. Vitality has been preserved. Courage and confidence have been restored. Mental and moral horizons have been extended.

But our present gains were won under the pressure of more than ordinary circumstances. Advance became imperative under the goad of fear and suffering. The times were on the side of progress.

To hold to progress today, however, is more difficult. Dulled conscience, irresponsibility, and ruthless self-interest already reappear. Such symptoms of prosperity may become portents of disaster! Prosperity already tests the persistence of our progressive purpose.

Let us ask again: Have we reached the goal of our vision of that fourth day of March 1933? Have we found our happy valley?

I see a great nation, upon a great continent, blessed with a great wealth of natural resources. Its hundred and thirty million people are at peace among themselves; they are making their country a good neighbor among the nations. I see a United States which can demonstrate that, under democratic methods of government, national wealth can be translated into a spreading volume of human comforts hitherto unknown, and the lowest standard of living can be raised far above the level of mere subsistence.

But here is the challenge to our democracy: In this nation I see tens of millions of its citizens, a substantial part of its whole population, who at this very moment are denied the greater part of what the very lowest standards of today call the necessities of life.

I see millions of families trying to live on incomes so meager that the pall of family disaster hangs over them day by day.

I see millions whose daily lives in city and on farm continue under conditions labeled indecent by a so-called polite society half a century ago.

I see millions denied education, recreation, and the opportunity to better their lot and the lot of their children.

I see millions lacking the means to buy the products of farm and factory and by their poverty denying work and productiveness to many other millions.

I see one-third of a nation ill-housed, ill-clad, ill-nourished.

It is not in despair that I paint you that picture. I paint it for you in hope because the Nation, seeing and understanding the injustice in it, proposes to paint it out. We are determined to make every American citizen the subject of his country's interest and concern; and we will never regard any faithful law-abiding group within our borders as superfluous. The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little.

If I know aught of the spirit and purpose of our Nation, we will not listen to Comfort, Opportunism, and Timidity. We will carry on.

[[EDITOR'S NOTE: Unless otherwise noted, historical items appear courtesy of longtime Nevada reporter Dennis Myers' Poor Denny's Almanac. [PDA] Items highlighted in blue are of particular interest to labor. Copyright © 2007 Dennis Myers.]]

UPDATE: Jan. 19, 2007, 5:13 a.m. PST, 13:13 GMT/SUT— On Jan. 19, 1086, Canute, king of Denmark, England and Norway, was killed by his own subjects while saying mass; in 1649, Charles I, king of England, was executed as a result of his chronic duplicity toward Parliament; in 1898, the Douglas County grand jury was meeting on the lynching of Adam Uber; in 1900, after Elko newpaper editor W.W. Booher published an article about a boy who was suspected of being involved in a robbery (but was not named in the article), Booher was "murderously assaulted" with a club, reportedly by the father of the boy ; in 1937, flying at 332 miles an hour, Howard Hughes flew coast to coast in seven hours, 28 minutes, cutting two hours off the old transcontinental record; in 1939, Phil Everly was born in Chicago; in 1939, in a reported drunken stupor, Nelson Eddy married Ann Franklin in Las Vegas, prompting Eddy's supposed true love Jeanette McDonald to take to her bed; in 1940, the Three Stooges' You Natzy Spy premiered, portraying a country called Moronica and its Hitler-like leader (this preceded Chaplin's The Great Dictator); in 1953, three months after his arraignment in Las Vegas on New York-based charges of forgery and conspiracy, organized crime figure Joseph Stacher got a judge in tiny Ely to grant him a permanent writ of habeus corpus that prevented Stacher's extradition from Nevada to New York; in 1953, in Waco, Texas, a three year-old girl who was allegedly kidnapped by her baby sitter from Winnemucca, "jumped with a squeal of joy" from the arms of an FBI agent into those of her mother"; in 1953, the Fair Play Initiative petition, bearing the needed signatures and seeking repeal of the Nevada "right to work" law, was delivered to the Nevada Legislature by Secretary of State John Koontz; in 1955, FBI agents arrested four marines and a Reno metals buyer for alleged theft of government property from the Hawthorne Naval Ammunition Depot; in 1955, one day after Atomic Energy Commission scientists arrived in Las Vegas to begin a tour of Utah communities (that later developed high rates of cancers and leukemias) to assure residents of the safety of atomic testing in Nevada, Assemblymember Donald Leighton of Humboldt County introduced a measure giving Nevada's consent to federal acquisition of Nevada land for AEC and defense needs; in 1959, after University of Nevada officials denied a story by campus reporter Jim Joyce that said football coach Gordon McEachron was on his way out, McEachron resigned; in 1971, The Beatles' Helter Skelter was played at the Charles Manson trial; in 1975, painter Thomas Hart Benton died; in 1985, Bruce Springsteen's Born in the USA reached number nine on the music charts; in 1981, a federal grand jury indicted two Lyon County commissioners for extortion in allegedly soliciting $35,000 for a brothel license; in 1993, Fleetwood Mac reunited to perform at the Clinton/Gore inaugural gala (Don't Stop [thinking about tomorrow] was the campaign's theme song); in 2001, Belgium announced the decriminalization of marijuana.

UPDATE: Jan. 18, 2007, 2:15 a.m. PST, 10:15 GMT/SUT —

George W. Bush/January 18, 2001: But I hope the ambitious realize that they are more likely to succeed with success as opposed to failure.

On Jan. 18, 1644, residents of Boston reported seeing two UFOs that engaged in aerial maneuvers over Boston Harbor and then vanished behind Noodles (Nottell's) Island; in 1867, Governor Henry Blasdel informed the Nevada Legislature of the last of several additions of territory to Nevada's original boundaries, this one at the expense of Arizona; in 1868, in a denunciation of mining swindles, the Reese River Reveille in Austin, Nevada, editorialized "We detest shams. We condemn the thing which appears to be what it is not. Our nose involuntarily turns up at the 'counterfeit presentment.' Most of all we dislike —and pity while we dislike — those unhappy women whom nature has cheated of 'fair proportions' and who find consolation — and husbands — by the ingenious use of cotton and bran"; in 1883, Nevada's Roop County was abolished and attached to Washoe County; in 1903, the Nevada State Journal wrote: "From the Arcade Champion Bootblack this friends and the public: Some negroes and dagoes are advertising my stand as 'unfair' for the simple reason that I am a white American citizen, and born on the soil and do not associate or affiliate with that class, and desire to accommodate and please my patrons. Because the barber shop bootblacks are compelled to close Sundays is no reason why I should be compelled to. If my health permitted and I was able, I would sooner shovel sand than be a bootblack, but I must make an honest living and trust and hope that my friends and the public at large will assist me in so doing as they have in the past. Wm. M. Trieb." ; in 1931, Assemblymember Phil Tobin of Humboldt County was reported to have "no bills to present" at the impending Nevada legislature (he ended up introducing the measure that made gambling legal in the state); in 1935, the Las Vegas Review-Journal and Boulder City Journal jointly began publication of a magazine insert, Five Star Weekly; in 1943, the Warsaw ghetto uprising began; in 1943, pre-sliced bread was banned in the United States as a wartime measure to conserve steel used in bakery slicer replacement parts; in 1961, the Nevada Supreme Court overturned a Washoe district court ruling that ordered the state workers injury insurance system to pay benefits to Nevada State Journal newspaper delivery boy John Bibb, who had been hit by a car on the job, on the grounds that a state attorney had not been present at a pre-trial settlement conference (Bibb was the son of Forrest Bibb, who had been the state's first budget director and editor of the Elko Independent); in 1964, I Want To Hold Your Hand appeared on the Billboard chart for the first time at number 35; in 1964, plans for a World Trade Center in New York City were announced; in 1969, Vanessa Gower Coates was born in St. Mary's Hospital in Reno; in 1972, location shooting began on Ulzana's Raid, filmed in Arizona and Nevada; in 1982, four T-38 jet pilots, members of the Thunderbirds unit, died in crashes near Indian Springs in Nevada; in 1980, Pink Floyd's The Wall reached number one; in 1983, the International Olympic Committee restored to renowned athlete Jim Thorpe pentathalon and decathalon medals that had been stripped from him when it was discovered he had earned $25 for playing semipro baseball; in 1985, President Reagan refused to abide by a world court decision on illegal U.S. conduct in Nicaragua; in 1990, six and a half years after the first arrest, after 28 months of trial and years of lurid news coverage, and at a cost of more than $15 million, the McMartin child sexual abuse trial ended in an acquittal for the defendants; in 1999, Governor Kenny Guinn proposed using part of Nevada's share of the settlement of lawsuits against the tobacco companies to pay for a new college scholarship program for Nevada high school graduates; in 2003, several hundred people filled Reno's Manzanita bowl hillside to protest George Bush's impending invasion of Iraq.

UPDATE: Jan. 17, 2007, 9:17 a.m. PST, 17:17 GMT/SUT — On Jan. 17, 1893, Hawaii's monarchy was overthrown as a group of businessmen and sugar planters forced Queen Liliuokalani to abdicate. [New York Times/AP e-headlines]

On Jan. 17, 1604, a day after it was suggested by Dr. John Rainolds, King James I of England ordered the legendary translation of the Bible that bears his name; in 1893, the U.S. Navy, acting on behalf of sugar planters led by Sanford Dole, invaded the Kingdom of Hawaii, overthrew Hawaii's Queen Liliuokalani and installed Dole as head of a new government (the U.S. went through several years of wringing its hands and condemning the planters' provisional government but never doing anything to reverse the events of 1893 and on July 4, 1898, Congress approved legislation sponsored by U.S. Representative Francis Newlands of Nevada seizing the islands; on November 23, 1993, the U.S. Congress enacted Public Law 103-150, a formal apology to Hawaii for U.S. conduct and its impact on the health, economy and culture of Hawaiians); in 1907, Raymond Crowell, described in the press as "son of one of this state's wealthiest parents, Mrs. T.B. Rickey", married Lucy Davis, daughter of outgoing state controller and Nevada Appeal editor Sam Davis; in 1931, U.S. Representative Sam Arentz of Nevada introduced legislation for an assessment of a dam project on the Owyhee River in the Duck Valley Indian Reservation of Nevada, with $10,000 proposed for the work; in 1931, at the annual meeting of the New York bar association, former federal prosecutor Emory Buckner and one of the nation's leading establishment lawyers, called for abolition of trial by jury; in 1931, a Nevada American Legion official said the Legion was doing an informal census of unemployed servicepeople in the state to prepare for implementation of provisions in Boulder Dam contracts giving employment preference to veterans; in 1945, Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg, who had saved 20,000 Jews from the death camps, was arrested by Soviet agents and was never seen again; in 1957, a joint nine-county commission proposed creation of what became the Bay Area Rapid Transit system; in 1960, direct dialing on long distance calls began in Bell Telephone Company of Nevada territory; in 1961, in his "farewell" speech, outgoing President Eisenhower warned of „unwarranted influence‰ of military and industry (see excerpt below); in 1961, Congolese independence hero Patrice Lumumba was assassinated in the presence of Belgian officials, four months after Eisenhower allegedly ordered the murder of Lumumba (Belgium later issued an official apology); in 1961, Peter Laxalt, a recent graduate of Stanford Law School, joined his brother Paul's law firm; in 1966, Foreign Service officer Douglas Ramsey of Boulder City, an aide to Col. John Paul Vann, was captured by the National Liberation Front and held until February 1973, the longest held NLF prisoner of the Vietnam war; in 1969, Led Zeppelin's first album was released; in 1972, Highway 51 south in Memphis was named Elvis Presley Boulevard; in 1979, after outgoing Tennessee Governor Ray Blanton began issuing dozens of pardons and commutations for 24 convicted murderers and 28 other prisoners, sparking a federal grand jury investigation, governor-elect Lamar Alexander decided not to wait another three days for the ceremonial inauguration and had himself sworn in as soon as he became eligible to take the oath (a Nashville television weatherman had a regional hit with Pardon Me, Ray, a song recorded the same day Alexander was sworn in); in 1990, The Kinks were inducted into the Rock and Roll hall of fame.

President Eisenhower/January 17, 1961: Crises there will continue to be. In meeting them, whether foreign or domestic, great or small, there is a recurring temptation to feel that some spectacular and costly action could become the miraculous solution to all current difficulties. A huge increase in newer elements of our defense; development of unrealistic programs to cure every ill in agriculture; a dramatic expansion in basic and applied research — these and many other possibilities, each possibly promising in itself, may be suggested as the only way to the road we which to travel.

But each proposal must be weighed in the light of a broader consideration: the need to maintain balance in and among national programs — balance between the private and the public economy, balance between cost and hoped for advantage, balance between the clearly necessary and the comfortably desirable, balance between our essential requirements as a nation and the duties imposed by the nation upon the individual, balance between action of the moment and the national welfare of the future. Good judgment seeks balance and progress; lack of it eventually finds imbalance and frustration...

This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence — economic, political, even spiritual — is felt in every city, every state house, every office of the Federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources and livelihood are all involved; so is the very structure of our society.

In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist. [Emphasis added]

UPDATE: Jan. 16, 2007, 3:45 a.m. PST, 11:45 GMT/SUT — On Jan. 16, 1959, Debra Joyce Donlevy (Carson High '77) was born in Enid, Oklahoma.

On Jan. 16, 1604, at a conference convened by King James of England, Puritan John Rainolds suggested "May your Majesty be pleased, to direct that the Bible be now translated, such versions as are extant not answering to the original?"; in 1826, mountain man Jedediah Smith explored the present site of Nevada; in 1877, Virginia City's Territorial Enterprise editorialized on the Comstock depression and said that the end was not in sight: "There is actual destitution in our midst. Men who a short time ago counted their wealth by thousands find themselves overtaken by and standing face to face with utter ruin. Fortunes have crumbled into dust with almost lightning rapidity. But this is not the worst. Our streets are thronged with willing men, pleading for a chance to labor, that their families may live. The large hearted charity that distress was wont to receive in former times is no more. Many of those who so freely gave of their substance have nothing now to give."; in 1877, the Elko Post editorialized that the future of Elko County was mining rather than ranching or agriculture; in 1910, a funeral was held in Reno for auto mechanic James Howard Leason of Schurz: "The death of the young lad, who would have been 13 years of age had he lived until April 10, has been a hard blow to his mother, who worshipped him. Heart trouble had menaced him for years. He was the idol of Schurz folk, few of Schurz's population being white. The Indians loved the child, who was wise beyond his years. And, when the parents left with his body for Reno, every Indian of the town flocked to the train to say some broken word."; in 1936, Six Companies Inc., the conglomerate formed from several corporations for the Hoover Dam project, settled fifty lawsuits involving workplace conditions out of court for an aggregate four million dollars (more than $51,000,000.00 in 2003 dollars); in 1936, workers at the wreckage of an American Airlines place crash in Tennessee found a note written by passenger Sam Schwartz: "My Leo, Ernie, Ben, Sis, all in heaven with papa, your Andrew — please write to Eddie."; in 1936, with the arrival of 200 men from the Overton Civilian Conservation Corps, the Boulder City CCC camp reached 500 men; in 1939, Nevada Speaker Berkeley Bunker of Las Vegas began presiding over the Assembly, endorsing a state lottery ballot measure "as long as we are guaranteed that the state and not private interests would operate it''; in 1942, fifteen army fliers and actress Carole Lombard died in a plane crash in Nevada's Potosi Range while on a war bond tour (her husband, Clark Gable, joined searchers in the hills looking for the missing airliner, which was spotted by Western Air Lines pilot Art Cheney on Table Mountain, 40 miles southwest of Las Vegas; Hungarian violin virtuoso Joseph Szigeti, on his way to Hollywood to work on an Irving Berlin film, was among four people who gave up their seats to the airmen); in 1942, gold medal olympian and three-time heavyweight champion Muhammed Ali was born in Louisville; in 1949, the Nevada State Journal published an interview with University of Nevada professor Charlton Laird about his new novel, Thunder On The River, about Sauk chief Black Hawk; in 1950, during a Reno cab strike, valerian was thrown into eight Whittlesea cabs in Las Vegas, and owner Vic Whittlesea said he suspected it was related to the Reno strike (he owned taxi services in both cities); in 1957, Liverpool's Cavern Club opened; in 1964, President Lyndon Johnson approved covert operation 34A (naval raids against the north coast of Vietnam), provoking retaliation by Vietnamese patrol boats against U.S. ship in Tonkin Gulf, which Johnson then used as pretext for a congressional war resolution; in 1965, the antiwar play Oh! What a Lovely War closed on Broadway after 125 performances; in 1973, Bonanza went off the air; in 1981, John Lennon's Woman was released; in 1988, Las Vegas hanger-on Jimmy "the Greek" Snyder was fired by CBS for racial comments; in 1995, an evenly divided session of the Nevada Assembly began with 21 Democratic and 21 Republican members, one Republican speaker and one Democratic speaker and two chairs for each committee.

UPDATE: Jan. 15, 2007, 8:43 a.m. PST, 16:43 GMT/SUT —

Martin Luther King:
  • From my background I gained my regulating Christian ideals. From Gandhi I learned my operational technique.
  • My wife was always stronger than I was through the struggle.
  • If America's soul becomes totally poisoned, part of the autopsy must read Vietnam. It can never be saved so long as it destroys the hopes of men the world over.
  • Laws only declare rights; they do not deliver them. The oppressed must take hold of laws and transform them into effective mandates.
  • We will err and falter as we climb the unfamiliar slopes of steep mountains, but there is no alternative, well-trod, level path.
  • Through violence, you may murder a murderer, but you can't murder murder. Through violence, you may murder a liar, but you can't establish truth. Through violence you murder a hater, but you can't murder hate.
  • If a man hasn't found something he'll die for, he isn't fit to live.

On Jan. 15, 1697, five years after the Salem witch trials ended, jurors who had convicted the mostly female defendants fasted to make amends for their conduct; in 1867, Bank of California executive William Sharon and eight Virginia City mine owners sent a telegram to U.S. Senators William Stewart and James Nye: "We are opposed to the Sutro tunnel project and desire it defeated if possible" (Stewart, hearing his master's voice, resigned as president of the tunnel company and switched from support to opposition to the project in Congress); in 1870, for the first time, cartoonist Thomas Nast used a donkey to represent the Democratic Party; in 1891, at a time of anxiety over difficulties between whites and Native Americans, the Elko newspapers were reporting that the state militia was a "weak reed" — in Tuscarora, for instance, Guard officers "resigned and disbanded the company at the first intimation that they would be called to arms to protect settlers from the Indians"; in 1896, U.S. Representative Francis Newlands of Nevada was appointed to a commission to establish the boundary line between Canada and the U.S. and also a committee to inquire into the imprisonment of U.S. Consul to Madagascar John Waller (France conquered Madagascar that year and sentenced Waller to twenty years in prison on grounds that he gave military information to the resident government to aid in preventing the French takeover); in 1896, amid a newspaper campaign for cleaner government in Carson City, Nevada Appeal editor Sam Davis dared his critics to boycott his newspaper: "The Appeal wants it distinctly understood that any persons whose sympathies are with the boodle gang of this county, will confer a favor on the Appeal by calling and ordering their advertisements out of the paper. The Appeal is in the fight to a finish and we will not consider the fight over until the bribers of jurors and the corruptors of witnesses are wearing the stripes they have earned by their dirty work in Ormsby [County]."; in 1929, Michael King was born in Atlanta (when he was five years old his father would change both their names to honor Martin Luther); in 1936, after two weeks of watching an Aurora, Missouri, garage where Barker gang outlaw Alvin Karpis had stored a car, FBI agents took a coffee break and Karpis drove off with his car; in 1957, Archie Grant of Las Vegas, the new chair of the Nevada Board of Regents, opposed the expansion of the board from five to nine members, declined to take a position on the McHenry report's proposal that the board be made appointive, and called for an increase in southern Nevada members; in 1960, Twilight Zone episode no. 15, I Shot An Arrow Into The Air by Rod Serling, was first broadcast, depicting a space ship crash on an unknown planet in which three astronauts survive, one kills the other two and then discovers he's in Nevada (Serling's closing narrative: "Practical joke perpetrated by Mother Nature and a combination of improbable events. Practical joke wearing the trappings of nightmare, of terror, of desperation. Small human drama played out in a desert ninety-seven miles from Reno, Nevada, U.S.A., continent of North America, the Earth, and of course, the Twilight Zone"); in 1962, at a news conference, President Kennedy was asked "Mr. President, are American troops in combat in Vietnam?" and he answered with one word, "No", which was a lie; in 1968, five thousand members of the Jeanette Rankin Brigade (named for the Montana congressmember who voted against 1916 and 1941 declarations of war) marched in Washington led by the 87 year-old Rankin, in protest against the Vietnam war; in 1971, George Harrison's My Sweet Lord was released; in 1978, tyrant Reza Pahlavi fled Iran an hour ahead of the posse; in 1990, Luke Alan Olsen was born in Reno; in 1992, at an appearance while campaigning in the New Hampshire primary, President George Bush the Elder inadvertently read to an audience a stage direction from one of his cue cards: "Message: I care".

James Baldwin on Martin King's dream speech: That day, for a moment, it almost seemed that we stood on a height and could see our inheritance.

UPDATE: Jan. 14, 2007, 11:14 a.m. PST, 19:14 GMT/SUT —

George W. Bush/January 14, 2001: The California crunch really is the result of not enough power generating plants and then not enough power to power the power of generating plants.

George W. Bush/January 14, 2001: Redefining the role of the United States from enablers to keep the peace to enablers to keep the peace from peacemakers is going to be an assignment.

On Jan. 14, 1601, Catholic officials burned Jewish books in Rome; in 1844, the University of Notre Dame du Lac was chartered by the Indiana Legislature; in 1901, Philippine Catholic leaders held a public meeting to demand that U.S. ruler William Howard Taft require religious teaching in Filipino schools and allow employment only of native and Catholic teachers; in 1903, the Nevada State Journal commented on legislation to admit Native Americans to West Point military academy: "Negroes are admitted and why should not Indians be if they can win the competitive examination usually required?"; in 1908, Governor John Sparks called the Nevada Legislature into special session to create a state police to crack down on unions in Goldfield; in 1917, James McMillan, who would become a leading African-American figure in Nevada history, was born in Mississippi; in 1919, crews were pulling up the rails of the Las Vegas and Tonopah Railroad at a rate of half a mile a day; in 1920, after a trip to California's Lassen, Modoc, Plumas and Shasta counties, Native American leader Ike Jackson was planning a trip to Washington to inform federal officials that tribes in those areas were facing famine; in 1936, a birthday party was thrown in Carson City for Governor Richard Kirman, with a Texas Centennial cake sent to Kirman by Texas Governor James Allred and the crowd singing Many Birthdays To You; in 1946, U.S. Senator Edward Carville of Nevada said he would sponsor legislation making twelve months of military training compulsory for every citizen (he didn‚t say so but presumably he meant only men); in 1946, it was announced that the Las Vegas army air field would be deactivated on February 15; in 1946, Mrs. Leo Pinger of Fallon was notified that her son, Bruce Von Voorhis, had been killed on July 6, 1943, when his bomber made five runs over Hare Island out of Guadalcanal and then exploded on the sixth run (his plane did not return to base but his fate was not learned until after the war from "native informants" and the wreckage of his plane was found in a Hare lagoon); in 1954, Marilyn married Joltin' Joe at San Francisco city hall; in 1957, Henderson health official Clyde Baker said untested and ungraded raw milk was being sold in the city, and purchasers could contract diarrhea, dysentery, typhoid, scarlet fever, bacillary dysentery, undulant fever and bovine tuberculosis; in 1956, Little Richard Penniman's Tutti Frutti was released; in 1960, nineteen years after they played the same roles in the Nevada Little Theatre's first production in its new Sierra Street Theatre, Reno actors Blythe Bulmer and Randall Ross repeated their roles in the RLT's new production of The Man Who Came To Dinner; in 1967, the first Human Be-In was held in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park; in 1967, The New York Times revealed U.S. Army germ warfare operations; in 1970, at the Frontier casino hotel in Las Vegas, The Supremes performed together for the last time; in 1973, the largest audience for a concert in human history, an estimated forty million people, saw Elvis perform live by satellite from Hawaii; in 1999, the Clinton impeachment trial began, with Chief Justice William Rehnquist (wearing his new gold sergeant's stripes) presiding.

Recent BARBWIRE Media Hits
and Ego Trips

   The Dean of Reno Bloggers could very well be Andrew Barbano, self-described "fighter of public demons," who started putting his "Barbwire" columns online in 1996 and now runs 10 sites.
      RENO NEWS & REVIEW, 11-9-2006

"Our long national nightmare is over."
Did I say that a dozen years ago?
CORY FARLEY, RGJ, 11-10-2006

BARBANO: Nevada's newly-hiked minimum wage is nowhere near enough
Reno Gazette-Journal, 11-11-2006

Oregon State U. minimum wage deflator

Time to bring back NAGPAC?
CORY FARLEY, RGJ, 8-1-2006

UPDATE: Jan. 13, 2007, 2:27 a.m. PST, 10:27 GMT/SUT —On Jan. 13, 1966, Robert C. Weaver became the first black Cabinet member as he was appointed Secretary of Housing and Urban Development by President Lyndon B. Johnson. [New York Times/AP e-headlines]

Emile Zola / J'accuse / L'Aurore / January 13, 1898: Since they have dared, I shall dare. I do not despair in the least of ultimate triumph. I repeat with more intense conviction: the truth is on the march and nothing will stop it.

On Jan. 13, 1898, in an effort to invite legal action against himself and get the Dreyfus case into court, Emile Zola published J'accuse on page one of L'Aurore (see this date in 1998, below); in 1891, a month after the killing of Sitting Bull and two weeks after the massacre at Wounded Knee Creek, Nevada whites were being freaked out by large gatherings of Nevada tribes in Elko and Austin, by Piutes and Bannocks reportedly meeting, and by a dancing ground for the ghost dance near Deeth (the Elko county sheriff reportedly wired Governor Colcord for arms); in 1900, Professor J. Warne Phillips sent a letter to acting University of Nevada president Henry Thurtell saying he would not teach his classes until the faculty received an explanation of why a fellow professor was forced out of his post (the Nevada board of regents fired Phillips four days later); in 1931, the will of the late Clark Alvord, postmaster and storekeeper in tiny Nelson, Nevada, left 55 percent of his estate (including more than a half million shares of mining stock) to movie star Marion Davies, who he had seen on screen in a Las Vegas theatre; in 1938, a Churchill County physician, two Washoe County physicians, and a group in Clark County described by newspapers as the "Cheney gang" were arrested on federal narcotics charges; in 1940, Mexican President Lazaro Cardenas, like other Latin American leaders, said the Monroe doctrine does not legally exist, that it is a pretext for U.S. intervention in the affairs of the region and a unilateral expression of U.S. interests; in 1942, training began at the Las Vegas Air Gunnery School; in 1945, fleeing her family members, actress Frances Farmer hid in a Reno movie theatre where police located her and subsequently turned her over to her family; in 1959, at a public meeting on Reno's freeway problems, attorney Morgan Anglim said "Las Vegas is moving ahead and Reno is standing still" on freeway construction; in 1982, an Air Florida Boeing 737 that had just taken off from National Airport in one of the worst blizzards in D.C. history came in low over the Potomac River, hit the 14th Street bridge, sliced the top off several cars, and crashed through thick ice into the river (the riverbank quickly became lined with passersby and one of them, 28 year-old public employee Lenny Skutnik, became a national hero when he plunged into the river and rescued stewardess Kelly Dunan, who had been foundering in the river, unable to hold on to a rope lowered to her by a helicopter); in 1998, the Catholic newspaper in France, La Croix, apologized for its antisemitism one hundred years earlier during the Dreyfus case; in 1990, Douglas Wilder of Virginia was sworn in as the nation's first elected African-American governor; in 2002, The Fantasticks ended its mammoth 42-year run off Broadway with the 17,162nd performance.

UPDATE: Jan. 12, 2007, 1:07 a.m. PST, 9:07 GMT/SUT — On Jan. 12, 1915, the United States House of Representatives rejected a proposal to give women the right to vote. [New York Times/AP e-headlines]

Anglo African Magazine publisher Martin Delaney: The time has now fully arrived, when the Colored race is called upon by all the ties of common humanity, and all the claims of consummate justice, to go forward and take their position, and to do battle in the struggle now being made for the redemption of the world — For God himself as assuredly as he rules the destines of nations, and entereth measures into the hearts of men, has presented these measures to us.

On Jan. 12, 1859, the Anglo African, a literature magazine that provided a forum for black writers, began publication; in 1877, the Nevada State Journal carried a story reporting that all prize fighters in New Jersey were in prison, including Martin "Fiddler" Neary, Clark (perhaps William Clark), Jimmy Weeden, Sam Collyer and Spring Dick (the roundup of fighters may have been prompted by an August 31, 1876, fight in which Weeden, seconded by Neary, beat opponent Philip Kosta AKA Billy Walker to death; Weeden died in prison three years after the fight); in 1877, with the 1876 presidential election still unresolved after Democrat Samuel Tilden won both the popular and electoral votes, the southern white supremacy group White League was reported to have adopted an oath under which members swore "to give material aid and pecuniary assistance for procuring the just, and, if necessary, the forcible inauguration of Samuel J. Tilden and Thomas A. Hendricks, respectively, for the offices of President and Vice President of the United States; and further swear that youi will take up arms in behalf of this great object."; in 1877, at Nevada's The Leviathan mine, miners were being compelled to work ten hours a day, and workmen above ground were expected to put in twelve hours for the wages of $4, and it was expected that other mines would follow the Leviathan's example; in 1894, Native Americans at Pyramid Lake said that they considered the territory between Wadsworth and the lake were still tribal property since the federal government had never supplied the $20,000 worth of cattle that was supposed to compensate the tribe for relinquishing that portion of land; in 1908, a commission appointed by President Theodore Roosevelt to investigate the labor situation in Goldfield, Nevada, into which he had sent federal troops, reported that businesspeople and the governor in Nevada had manipulated Roosevelt into using the troops to break the mining unions (the Washington Post headline was "TROOPS TO COERCE"); in 1938, Catholic cardinal George Mundelein, in an address to the Holy Name Society of Chicago, said the church had traditionally aligned itself with the wrong side in employee/management relations: "Selfish employers of labor have flattered the church by calling it the great conservative force, and then called upon it to act as a police force while they paid but a pittance of a wage to those who worked for them."; in 1940, Las Vegas High School's enrollment set a record — 652 students; in 1952, it was discovered in Wheeling, West Virginia, that vending machine candy that came with little geography lessons on various countries printed on slips of paper about the size of half a postage stamp included a few on the Soviet Union reading "U.S.S.R., population, 211,000,000. Capital Moscow. Largest country in the world", so City Manager Robert Plummer ordered the police department to confiscate all the machines, saying "This is a terrible thing to expose our children to."; in 1953, Soviet officials arrested nine physicians — all Jews — for "terrorism"; in 1954, Reno city officials said they found little interest in attracting bids to operate a cigarette/news/car rental/information stand in the newly acquired municipal airport; in 1957, actress Jean Peters married billionaire Howard Hughes at the L & L Motel in Tonopah, Nevada, reportedly in room 33; in 1957, the Tower Theatre in Reno announced it was exhibiting in its lobby the paintings of Navajo brothers Franklin and Chester Kahn, former students of the Indian School at Stewart, Nevada; in 1960, Reno Police Chief Elmer Briscoe, supported by Mayor Bud Baker, proposed creation of a reserve corps and a canine force, a response to the new year riot; in 1962, the U.S. began a program of air delivery of 19 million gallons of defoliants on about one-fifth of Vietnam and parts of Laos, generating deformities, birth defects, cancers, and rashes among Asians and U.S. servicepeople; in 1966, the U.S. got a better sense of the meaning of camp with the debut of the television series Batman, which quickly became a huge (though short lived) hit with some of the biggest stars in the nation lining up for a chance to guest star (the show had an unusual schedule, airing twice a week on Tuesdays and Thursdays); in 1971, All in the Family debuted on CBS; in 1991, the U.S. Senate came within three votes of preventing stopping the first Iraq war; in 1994, Attorney General Janet Reno appointed a special prosecutor to investigate President Clinton; in 1996, after former Nevada lieutenant governor Sue Wagner said she would not run for the U.S. House because it had become too extreme and uncivilized, the Reno Gazette-Journal editorialized that "the moderates slink off the stage without even putting up a fight. As John F. Kennedy might have said, that is not a profile in courage", prompting a flood of complaints to the newspaper; in 1998, Gene Vincent, Lloyd Price, Allen Toussaint, Jelly Roll Morton, the Mamas and the Papas, Santana, the Eagles, and Fleetwood Mac were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame; in 2001, a report on the fate of Raoul Wallenberg failed to resolve the question of when and how he died while in Soviet custody. [EDITOR'S NOTE: The Swedish diplomat is credited with saving the lives of thousands of Hungarian Jews. He disappeared into the Soviet Gulag Archipelago at the end of WWII.]

UPDATE: Jan. 11, 2007, 9:06 a.m. PST, 17:56 GMT/SUT —

Donald Adams/New York Times Book Review/January 11, 1948: The fundamental truths are all men's property. Whether or not we live by them, we all know them, with a deep instinctiveness.

On Jan. 11, 49 BC, Julius Caesar crossed the Rubicon River near Ravenna at the head of his army (bringing an armed force onto the homeland was a violation of Roman law), igniting Roman civil war; in 1775, Francis Salvador, first known Jew to be elected to public office in the New World, took his seat in the South Carolina Congress (he would become the first known Jew to die in the Revolution); in 1879, Reno's Nevada State Journal ran an article claiming that Arizona Governor John Fremont, the former Republican presidential nominee and explorer, was "the most popular man in the territory. The Governor is taking a lively interest in the Indians, whose rights he defends, and whose condition he endeavors to improve." (in reality, Fremont — whose appointment had displaced a popular governor, had only just arrived in the Territory of Arizona five months after his appointment and was about to leave Arizona for the east, staying away for more than a year, and later started a territorial revenue system that depended on a lottery that collapsed); in 1891, a report was circulating that settlers in remote parts of the state were nervous because of a revival of the ghost dance among Nevada tribes; in 1902, Popular Mechanics began publication; in 1907, Under Southern Skies, a play about a "poor girl suspecting that there is a negro taint in her blood because of vague insinuations by Steve [who] sacrifices herself for her family's sake", was playing a Reno's McKissick opera house; in 1937, General Motors security guards and Flint Police Department officers attacked striking workers at the Flint, Michigan, General Motors plant; in 1944, German Private Franz Kettner was killed by an ad hoc Nazi "court" at a prisoner of war camp in Texas, a practice tolerated by U.S. officials during the war; in 1949, United Press reported "Las Vegas, Nev., whose slogan is 'Fun in the Sun,' today was brushing off two inches of snow which fell during the night on top of three inches deposited yesterday."; in 1951, the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission announced that it would test atomic weapons at a bombing and gunnery range near Las Vegas, the first atom bombs exploded within the United States since the July 16, 1945, first detonation of an a-bomb; that the explosions would be safe and no unauthorized persons including news people, would be permitted to witness them (the tests were not safe and the AEC loved having newspeople as witnesses at the tests); in 1956, U.S.-backed Saigon dictator Ngo Dinh Diem issued an order providing for internment of his political enemies; in 1964, U.S. Surgeon General Luther Terry issued a landmark report on the link between tobacco and cancer; in 1965, Buddhists launched anti-war and anti-government protests in South Vietnam; in 1966, the London Daily Worker announced a contest to come up with a new name for the newspaper; in 1969, the album This Was Jethro Tull was released; in 1976, the Reno Repertoire Club and the Reno Banjo Club held a bicentennial concert (preceding a performance by the Utah Symphony) to raise money for John Carrico's Tahoe Music Camp; in 1981, John and Yoko's Double Fantasy went platinum; in 1992, singer Paul Simon began touring South Africa; in 2001, the Pentagon admitted U.S. massacre of civilians at No Gun Ri, Korea, in July, 1950; in 2002, Bush energy secretary Spencer Abraham recommended Nevada's Yucca Mountain as the site for a dump for high level nuclear waste.

UPDATE: Jan. 10, 2007, 9:52 a.m. PST, 17:52 GMT/SUT — On Jan. 10, 1776, Tom Paine published Common Sense, fueling the demand for colonial independence; in 1862, racist Leland Stanford used his inauguration as governor of California to denounce the immigration of Chinese because such "degraded" people represented a threat to the "superior race" (see below); in 1920, Metal Mineworkers Union secretary Mike Moriarity and Industrial Workers of the World delegate Mickey Sullivan were arrested in Tonopah for union organizing activities under Nevada's "syndicalism" statute, with Sullivan accused of signing up three new union members (O.E. Stone, Harry Olen and Rasmus Malde) and District Attorney Harry Atkinson pledging to get every IWW member out of the Tonopah and Divide mining districts; in 1940, two days after the FBI said it had investigated and found no evidence of a rumored sabotage plot against Hoover Dam, U.S. Representative Charles Kramer said he was considering calling for a congressional investigation of the rumored plot; in 1952, columnist Billy Rose (Broadway producer and husband of Fanny Brice) gave a Stewed Rhubarb award in his column to Alabama Sheriff Jenkins Hill, who after being accused of running moonshine shot and killed 50 year old Moses Jones, the African-American witness against Hill; in 1952, in Las Vegas, Nevada Republican chair Harold Stocker made it clear that he disapproved of Dwight Eisenhower's candidacy for president (comparing it to running Bing Crosby or Milton Berle for president) and speaking favorably of a Douglas MacArthur/Everett Dirksen ticket; in 1956, Elvis recorded Heartbreak Hotel; in 1966, Hattiesburg, Mississippi, civil rights leader Vernon Dahmer died of his injuries from a firebomb attack by nightriders against his home and grocery (three men were sentenced to life terms but all served less than ten years, another defendant was sentenced to 10 years for arson and served two, and Klan "imperial wizard" Sam Bowers was not immediately convicted in connection with the Dahmer case but did serve six years in prison for his role in the 1964 killings of civil-rights workers James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner, and then — 33 years after Dahmer's assassination — Bowers was convicted for that crime and sentenced to life); in 1966, members of the Georgia House of Representatives voted 184 to 12 to deny his seat in the house to Representative Julian Bond, an African-American, on the pretext that they disapproved of his opinions; in 1977, in a settlement negotiated by Yoko, the byzantine litigation between and among The Beatles and their companies and their former manager Allan Klein and his companies came to an end; in 1980, the last episode of The Rockford Files was broadcast; in 2003, a marker commemorating the pioneer settlement of Mormon Station was dedicated in Genoa, Nevada.

Leland Stanford/January 10, 1862: To my mind, it is clear that the settlement among us of an inferior race is to be discouraged by every legitimate means. Asia with her numberless millions sends to our shores the dregs of her population. Large numbers of this class are already here, and unless we do something early to check their immigration, the question, which of the two tides of immigration, meeting upon the shores of the Pacific, shall be turned back, will be forced upon our consideration, when far more difficult than now of disposal. There can be no doubt but that the presence of numbers among us of a degraded and distinct people must exercise a deleterious influence upon the superior race, and to a certain extent, repel desirable immigration. It will afford me great pleasure to concur with the Legislature in any constitutional action, having for its object the repression of the immigration of the Asiatic races.

[[EDITOR'S NOTE: Unless otherwise noted, historical items appear courtesy of longtime Nevada reporter Dennis Myers' Poor Denny's Almanac. [PDA] Items highlighted in blue are of particular interest to labor. Copyright © 2007 Dennis Myers.]]

UPDATE: Jan. 9, 2007, 11:24 a.m. PST, 19:24 GMT/SUT — On Jan. 9, 1324, Marco Polo died; in 1839, the Daguerreotype photo system was introduced in the French Academy of Science; in 1861, the first action of the Civil War took place three months before the battle of Fort Sumter when the Buchanan administration sent the merchant steamer Star of the West to resupply Sumter and it was fired on; in 1889, Reno's Nevada State Journal pointed out that the Elko Free Press had reached a benchmark — volume 15 — "with bright prospects ahead, all of which the Journal is glad to note"; in 1892, the telegraph line between Tuscarora and Elko, which had been inoperative because of snow, was in working order again; in 1900, a gun club was formed in Elko, "the purpose of which is to promote good fellowship and secure the enforcement of the fish and game laws"; in 1910, Episcopal Bishop H.D. Robinson arrived back in Reno from southern Nevada, telling a tale of devastation from flooding, including dozens of miles of railroad track washed out between Las Vegas and Caliente; in 1941, Joan Baez was born in Staten Island; in 1946, in the Philippines, the Manila Morning Courier reported that white U.S. soldiers engaged in a gunfight with African-American U.S. soldiers and that machine guns and hand grenades were among the weapons employed; in 1947, after the Republican U.S. Senate refused to seat long time U.S. Senator Theodore Bilbo because he had invited violence against African-Americans trying to vote, Bilbo "accused" the GOP of trying to curry favor with black voters and said his forthcoming book (Take Your Choice/Separation or Mongrelization) would not please Republicans; in 1953, Mildred Myers and her toddler son Dennis were knocked over by a car at the corner of Chestnut [now Arlington] and Second streets in downtown Reno in what the Nevada State Journal described as "One of those Alphonse and Gaston incidents, in which each party waves the other on and then both proceed together..."; in 1960, U.S. Representative Edith Green of Oregon announced that she would propose legislation awarding former Navy physician Tom Dooley the medal of honor for his work with Indochinese refugees (Dooley, who was also being considered for Catholic sainthood, had been cashiered from the Navy because he was gay); in 1960, former heavyweight champion Joe Louis said he was leading an effort to establish a new union organization called the California Bartenders, Barbers, Maids, and Culinary Workers Union that would apparently be independent of the AFL CIO; in 1975, the corporation Beatles & Co. was dissolved by a London court; in 1984, John Lennon's Nobody Told Me was released; in 1991, two teenagers were sentenced for the "wilding" rape of the Central Park jogger (their innocence was shown by DNA tests a decade later); in 1997, the Union Bank of Switzerland was caught by its security guard Christoph Meili destroying archival records on the lost assets of Holocaust victims (Meili secured the records and turned them over to the Israeli Cultural Association but had to flee the country); in 1998, Wag the Dog opened in U.S. theatres.

Recent BARBWIRE Media Hits
and Ego Trips

   The Dean of Reno Bloggers could very well be Andrew Barbano, self-described "fighter of public demons," who started putting his "Barbwire" columns online in 1996 and now runs 10 sites.
      RENO NEWS & REVIEW, 11-9-2006

"Our long national nightmare is over."
Did I say that a dozen years ago?
CORY FARLEY, RGJ, 11-10-2006

BARBANO: Nevada's newly-hiked minimum wage is nowhere near enough
Reno Gazette-Journal, 11-11-2006

Oregon State U. minimum wage deflator

Time to bring back NAGPAC?
CORY FARLEY, RGJ, 8-1-2006

UPDATE: Jan. 8, 2006, 5:00 GMT/SUT —On Jan. 8. 1807, the U.S. House of Representatives recommitted a slave trade bill.

On Jan. 8, 1642, Galileo Galilei died; in 1811, a slave rebellion led by Charles Deslandes in two parishes of the U.S. Territory of Louisiana began, but was suppressed and a hundred participants were executed; in 1815, the Battle of Chalmette Plantation, also known as the Battle of New Orleans, was fought between U.S. and British forces (with a sizable contingent of African-American troops) to a victory for the U.S., though it failed to win the war for the U.S., and the British troops departed by ship for Biloxi where they captured Fort Bowyer on February 12 (contrary to popular myth, the war was not over when the New Orleans battle was fought — the Treaty of Ghent specifically provided that the war continue until the treaty was approved by both governments and the U.S. had not done so); in 1830, a pack train led by scout Rafael Rivera passed through the Las Vegas valley; in 1878, Acting Governor George Cassidy lost his authority when Governor Bradley returned to the state; in 1892, Carson City's Appeal reprinted a Salt Lake Tribune article by Dan DeQuille [William Wright] on the prospects for oil drilling in Nevada; in 1901, the Washoe County Commission, which also served as the Reno Town Board, voted to connect the University of Nevada to the city sewer system at the Peavine and Lake streets connection; in 1918, a presidential order doubled the size of the Winnemucca Paiute colony by reserving an additional sixty acres; in 1921, after conferences between Governor Boyle and local alcohol prohibition officials, there were reports that the state would shift enforcement from the state police to local police because the state fund for the purpose had become depleted; in 1924, in Illinois, three companies of state militia were called out to crack down on the violent public response to two hundred fifty prohibition raids in a month; in 1924, the Ely Daily Times reported that oil drilling had been resumed in Elko County by the Elko Oil and Development Company; in 1935, Jesse Garon and Elvis Aron Presley were born in Tupelo, Mississippi, only Elvis surviving alive; in 1940, the U.S. Department of Justice reported that an FBI investigation had failed to produce any evidence of rumored sabotage at Hoover Dam, and reclamation commissioner John Page said the rumors had probably been generated by security measures taken at the dam; in 1954, Las Vegas Sun publisher Hank Greenspun wrote in his column that "Joe McCarthy has to come to a violent end...Destroy people and they in turn will destroy you", prose the Eisenhower administration used to indict Greenspun for using the mails to incite the assassination of McCarthy; in 1966, Rubber Soul hit number one on the album charts; in 1967, three Vietnamese villages between the Thi-Tinh and Saigon rivers that governed themselves as a socialist enclave presented such a challenge to the U.S. that a major action ("Operation Cedar Falls") was mounted, with residents cleared out of the villages and into internment camps, the villages razed, vegetation and agriculture destroyed, and the site leveled with 720 Vietnamese and 72 U.S. killed; in 1973, the Reno city council was battling two old Reno families over streets — the Kuenzli family was trying to enforce a 1951 agreement that Kuenzli Street keeps its name in exchange for improvements made on the street, and the Casazzas were trying to block plans to change one way streets in a fashion that would hurt business at the family's Shoppers Square strip mall; in 1974, The Early Beatles received a gold record nine years after its release on the Capitol label (however, it probably earned it before that, since the Capitol album is actually a re-release of the Vee Jay album Introducing the Beatles); in 2001, UNLV's Lied Library opened.

UPDATE: Jan. 7, 2006, 12:07 p.m. PST, 18:07 GMT/SUT —

George W. Bush/January 7, 2000:
" If the terriers and bariffs are torn down, this economy will grow."


On Jan. 7, 1610, in the beginning of telescopic astronomy, Galileo Galilei used a peed sight for viewing space, observed various bodies including Jupiter and its moons, and wrote of the Moon "it is seen that the Moon is most evidently not at all of an even, smooth, and regular surface, as a great many people believe of it and of other heavenly bodies, but on the contrary it is rough and unequal. In short it is shown to be such that sane reasoning cannot conclude otherwise than that it is full of prominences and cavities similar, but much larger, to the mountains and valleys spread over the Earth‚s surface."; in 1879, the Nevada State Journal approvingly reprinted an editorial from the Washington [D.C.] Capital: "The Southern negro is absorbed into our politics to his own good and without harm to the white man. But the Chinaman is irredeemably a creature of his own country, and will never improve."; in 1879, Nevada Assemblymember Robert Wash of Lincoln County was sworn into office on his deathbed and died January 8; in 1901, General MacArthur had several Philippine patriot generals, who were leading the fight against U.S. conquest, deported from their own nation, a technique previously used by the Spanish occupiers; in 1918, Mr. and Mrs. Frank Oliverius of Winnemucca received a letter from her brother Joe Kubicek, a member of the U.S. ambulance corps, the letter written on "a piece of cloth from the wings of a Belgian aeroplane brought down in Flanders by a Boche [German] avion"; in 1919, a special election was held in Storey County to elect a replacement for deceased Senator John Dewar, and Democrat John Kenney was elected over Republican George Drysdale by a 72-vote majority; in 1947, Walter Winchell reported that actress Thelma "Butterfly" McQueen ("Prissy" in Gone With The Wind) was seen reporting to the unemployment office on West 43d Street in New York; in 1953, a 33 year-old Reno man was arrested on a disorderly conduct charge pending a sanity hearing after he was overheard in a downtown gas station phone booth trying to call President Truman to warn him about "some bombs that are going to be dropped"; in 1953, heavy snowfall at Lake Tahoe crushed a horseshoe shaped building in Kings Beach that housed half a dozen stores; in 1959, the United States government recognized the government of Fidel Castro of Cuba; in 1960, President Eisenhower outraged Democrats by using his state of the union speech to ask them to quit "wrangling" with his administration ("In pursuit of these objectives, I look forward to, and shall dedicate myself to, a close and constructive association with the Congress. Every minute spent in irrelevant interbranch wrangling is precious time taken from the intelligent initiation and adoption of coherent policies for our national survival and progress."); in 1963, Governor Grant Sawyer's second inaugural address dealt with Nevada's terrific growth rate: "Each month we gain enough new residents to populate a town the size of Fallon. Our population now exceeds four hundred thousand. Our present rate of growth is unmatched elsewhere in this country. Already we have moved to 48th place in population and possibly 47th. Within the next decade we will move quickly up the ladder."; in 1970, the Nevada State Journal published a letter to the editor from Texas oil/silver billionaire H.L. Hunt urging readers to write letters to the editor; in 1979, in a lightning strike, Vietnamese forces entered Kampuchea's capital of Phnom Penh, aiding insurgent forces to overthrow the murderous Pol Pot regime that had murdered hundreds of thousands of its citizens in the notorious "killing fields"; in 2005, Daniel F. Guastaferro of Las Vegas died in Ar Ramadi, Iraq.

UPDATE: Jan. 6, 2007, 10:48 a.m. PST, 18:48 GMT/SUT — On Jan 6, 1912, in an editorial, Reno's Nevada State Journal argued that Las Vegas had a great future as a farming community; in 1919, former president Theodore Roosevelt, the frontrunner for the 1920 Republican presidential nomination, died in his sleep; in 1919, Nye County Senator Wesley Stewart died of influenza in San Francisco (but his seat was not filled for the 1919 Nevada Legislature); in 1939, the Nevada Tuberculosis Association obtained a copy of Let My People Live, a movie with an all-African-American cast including Rex Ingram, Peggy Howard and Ernestine Coles that was shot at the Tuskegee Institute and shown at the New York World's Fair, for showing around Nevada (the film is a warning against the use of folk remedies to deal with TB); in 1940, George Walters, hired by Las Vegas Mayor John Russell to deal with problems of interference with radio signals in the valley and given a police badge to help him in his work, had his badge lifted by the police commissioner after the city commission vetoed Walters' hiring; in 1945, the wartime Reno Air Base News, edited at the Reno Army Air Base and printed and distributed by the Nevada State Journal, marked the start of its third year, publishing an edition that featured a drawing by comic strip artist Milton Canniff (EDITOR'S NOTE: Steve Canyon, Terry & the Pirates) inscribed to "the gang at 3d OTU, Reno, Nevada..." and a headline reading "We Dislike Any More Birthdays"; in 1945, Time magazine reporter William Chickering was killed aboard a U.S. ship when it was attacked by Japanese planes, and his body was buried at sea; in 1950, England extended diplomatic recognition to mainland China; in 1951, the United States Supreme Court ordered Louisiana to admit African-Americans to its law school, upholding a lower court ruling that a newly created blacks-only Louisiana law school did not provide an equal legal education to that offered to whites; in 1953, in San Francisco, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit dismissed an extradition appeal, clearing the way for Las Vegas mob figure Benny Binion to be extradited to Texas to stand trial on federal charges; in 1957, United Airlines again cut service to Elko, eliminating east and west bound evening flights, reducing air mail service; in 1960, Reno citizens were organizing against a plan to build the new convention center in Wingfield Park, a large downtown park on Bell Isle in the Truckee River; in 1960, Reno citizens went to court to try to stop construction of a hospitality center in Powning Park, which had been donated to the city on condition that it always be used for a park (eventually the convention center was moved to Powning Park, which was destroyed except for a sliver where the hospitality center was built); in 1968, Buckminster Fuller visited Reno for the dedication of the Pioneer Theatre Auditorium (EDITOR'S NOTE: On the site of the former Powning Park), which featured a geodesic dome of the kind Fuller designed; in 1972, Joko Films Ltd. was formed by John and Yoko (it was dissolved in 1979); in 2001 for only the second time in history, a U.S. vice president, Al Gore, presided over his own defeat as presiding officer of the senate in the counting of the presidential electors' ballots.

UPDATE: Jan. 5, 2007, 5:28 a.m. PST, 13:28 GMT/SUT — On Jan. 5, 1914, Henry Ford, head of the Ford Motor Company, introduced a minimum wage scale of $5 per day. [New York Times/AP e-headlines]

George Bush/January 5, 2002: Not over my dead body will they raise your taxes.

On Jan. 5, 1527, Swiss religious reformer Felix Manz was bound hand and foot and thrown into Zurich's Limmat River to drown as a penalty for opposing infant baptism and supporting adult baptism, an early instance of Protestants martyring Protestants; in 1804, Ohio's legislature began the northern trend of stripping U.S. blacks of their post-revolutionary war rights, requiring African-Americans to obtain a document certifying to their free status, fining whites who hired blacks without certificates, and imposing a thousand-dollar fine on anyone helping slaves escape to freedom; in 1883, the Free Press, formerly of Battle Mountain, began publication in Elko (see below); in 1895, French Captain Alfred Dreyfuss was publicly stripped of his rank after being framed and convicted by court martial of treason; in 1914, the Elko Free Press published on its front page, apparently as a reminder, the text of a new law barring non-English speaking Nevadans from employment in underground mines; in 1925, Nellie Taylor Ross was sworn in as governor of Wyoming, the first woman governor in the U.S.; in 1940, actor William Powell, star of Life With Father and the Thin Man movies, was married to "recent find at the MGM studios" Diane Lewis on the Hidden Well Ranch in Clark County; in 1959, Coral Records released Buddy Holly's It Doesn't Matter Anymore by Paul Anka, Holly's last record during his lifetime; in 1960, writer Rod Serling accused television sponsors of "ludicrous and timorous" tampering with his scripts and called for a divorce between sponsors and the network entertainment divisions, and advertisers lobbyist Peter Allport responded that sponsors invested $783 million in advertising and were entitled to "be reasonably certain of commeasurate value" and that any attempt to stop them from changing scripts would make them take their money to other media; in 1960, Jack Tenney (former California state senator, assemblymember, chair of the California Joint Committee on Unamerican Activities, and songwriter [Mexicali Rose]) surprised Justice Court in Carson City when he appeared as lawyer for Nick Goodman, accused of killing Senator Club owner William Duffin; in 1961, on the NBC program Bat Masterson, the episode Tempest at Tioga Pass dealt with road building between Nevada and California; in 1968, Slovakian Alexander Dubcek became Communist Party leader in Czechoslovakia, leading to the movement known as the Prague Spring; in 1970, United Mine Workers reform leader Joseph Yablonski and his wife and daughter were murdered; in 1973, Greetings From Asbury Park, N.J. by Bruce Springsteen was released; in 1973, Washoe County senator and former Reno mayor Len Harris was convicted of price fixing and bid rigging and sentenced to a $5,000 fine and thirty days in jail, part of a federal antitrust action that involved several Reno wholesale meat firms; in 1981, mountain man wannabe Claude Dallas killed two Idaho game wardens, execution style; in 1998, U.S. Representative Sonny Bono of California was killed in a skiing accident at Lake Tahoe.

Free Press/Elko, Nevada/January 5, 1883: With this issue The Free Press makes its bow to the citizens of Elko county, and in consequence thereof a few words for the editor and publisher will not be amiss. In the fist place, we might as well mention the fact that we have come to stay; second we propose to publish a first class weekly paper, Republican in politics, just and impartial to all; and above all things, shall endeavor to assist in building up and fostering the interests of the town and county of Elko, with which The Free Press has cast its lot. We shall aim to make our paper a representative local journal; reliable, fair and upright; one that will always be welcome as a weekly visitor into the homes of Elko's citizens. The Free Press is now in its second year, having been started by the undersigned at Battle Mountain, a year and a half ago, and is thoroughly established. We moved to Elko because we were of the opinion that it presented a good field for a Republican organ, and we already find that our idea was correct. Hoping to merit a fair share of the public patronage, and trusting that our efforts to please may meet with your approval, we are yours truly,


The editor of the Silver State [of Winnemucca] is of the opinion that there is no room in Elko for more than one paper, and also thinks that opinion of enough value to justify its publication to the world. It has probably never occurred to him that the fact of his publishing the only paper in Winnemucca, where no competition is wanted, had anything to do with that opinion. We would also suggest that the people of Elko county and the publisher of the Free Press, are possibly as able to determine this matter, as the Silver State.

UPDATE: Jan. 4, 2007, 6:22 a.m. PST, 14:22 GMT/SUT —

LAS VEGAS — National Labor Relations Board issues complaint against Wynn for unfair labor practices against casino dealers

On Jan. 4, 1818, troops commanded by Andrew Jackson destroyed a Creek village to prevent the tribe from using it; in 1863, General Ulysses Grant was ordered to revoke his order banning Jews from his area of operations; in 1874, Eskiminzin, survivor of the Camp Grant Apache massacre, escaped from U.S. custody; in 1914, Governor Tasker Oddie spent a Sunday in Elko with other other two members of the board of the proposed Industrial Home (boys reformatory); in 1919, turkish baths opened in Winnemucca; in 1920, Baseball Hall of Fame pitcher Andrew Foster formed the Negro National Baseball League; in 1935, Boulder dam project workers Ike Johnson and J.W. Pitts were hit with one of the huge concrete-carrying buckets, killing Pitts and carrying Johnson from Arizona across the canyon to Nevada; in 1935, lieutenant governor-elect Fred Alward of Las Vegas arrived in Reno and met with governor-elect Richard Kirman; in 1940, the U.S. House UnAmerican Activities Committee claimed that 11 of 48 CIO labor unions were "more than tinged with communism"; in 1940, Las Vegas Mayor John Russell clashed with city commissioners over Russell's plan to hire radio expert George Walters, who was visiting the city, to do something about radio static in the valley; in 1940, the El Portal Theatre in Las Vegas showed a newsreel of the Tournament of Roses parade that included footage of the Las Vegas float; in 1957, Fats Domino recorded I'm Walkin'; in 1957, the last issue of Colliers magazine appeared (in 1955 it had published a memorable article, The Sorry State of Nevada, on the poor quality of life in the state, an article whose findings have remained valid for decades); in 1957, Elvis took his pre-induction physical at Kennedy Memorial Hospital in Memphis (he appeared at the hospital accompanied by Las Vegas showgirl Dotty Harmony and a guard); in 1960, Nobel novelist and French resistance journalist Albert Camus died in a car accident; in 1960, Boulder City, Nevada, was incorporated; in 1960, a Kansas prosecutor said Richard Hickok, awaiting extradition from Las Vegas, had confessed to the murder of the Clutter family in Garden City, Kansas, a case that would become famous in Truman Capote's mix of fact and fiction In Cold Blood; in 1969, the Congressional Black Caucus was organized; in 1979, Ohio officials agreed to an out of court settlement of claims against them by the victims and families of students killed and wounded at Kent State; in 1998, Star Trek/The Experience opened in Las Vegas.

UPDATE: Jan 3, 2007, 6:35 PST, 14:35 GMT/SUT On Jan. 3, 1521, the Catholic Church excommunicated Martin Luther; in 1848, Congress, believing on the basis of emerging evidence that it had been misled by James Polk on alleged causes for war, adopted a resolution even as combat continued declaring that the invasion of Mexico had been "a war unnecessarily and unconstitutionally begun by the President of the United States"; in 1868, John Harker, president of the First National Bank in Austin, Nevada, returned to Austin from the 1867 Exposition Universelle de Paris; in 1890, the Elko Free Press editorialized that the newly organized State Board of Trade needed to pay attention to the needs of all areas of the state, and "not one section only"; in 1914, Nevada Attorney General George Thatcher, in response to a request from Lander County District Attorney Antonio Maestretti, issued an opinion that a druggist's license to fill prescriptions could not also double as a liquor license; in 1932, construction of an expansion of the two-year-old Pair o' Dice casino in Clark County began; in 1947, the U.S. House of Representatives allowed the broadcast on television of two hours of its opening session, the first time congressional floor proceedings were televised (they were seen in Philadelphia, New York, and Washington); in 1949, Bonanza Air Lines president Edmund Converse said that work on disassembling a hangar at Reno Army Air Base and moving it to McCarran Field in Las Vegas would begin in a few days; in 1957, the old and new trustees of Churchill Public Hospital held a joint meeting at which they discussed whether to reinstate the hospital privileges of physician (and Fallon mayor) Hobart Wray who was suspended after he accused hospital staffers of neglect of a premature infant who subsequently died and a grand jury recommended his suspension (the trustees reached no decision); in 1960, Singapore banned one of its most popular magazines, Playboy; in 1961, three people were killed in a nuclear power plant accident in Idaho Falls, Idaho; in 1964, The Jack Paar Program, a variety show at 10 p.m. on NBC, aired a clip of The Beatles singing She Loves You a month before the arrival of the band in the U.S.; in 1977, the final implementation of a massive Las Vegas/Clark County consolidation enacted by the 1975 Nevada Legislature failed to take effect after being overturned by the Nevada Supreme Court, leaving the issue again on the doorstep of the 1977 legislative session which would begin in a few days; in 1985, Leontyne Price gave her farewell performance at the Metropolitan Opera in New York City; in 1987, Aretha Franklin was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame; in 1989, Nevada Governor Richard Bryan resigned to take his seat in the U.S. Senate and Lieutenant Governor Robert Miller became acting governor.

Recent BARBWIRE Media Hits
and Ego Trips

   The Dean of Reno Bloggers could very well be Andrew Barbano, self-described "fighter of public demons," who started putting his "Barbwire" columns online in 1996 and now runs 10 sites.
      RENO NEWS & REVIEW, 11-9-2006

"Our long national nightmare is over."
Did I say that a dozen years ago?
CORY FARLEY, RGJ, 11-10-2006

BARBANO: Nevada's newly-hiked minimum wage is nowhere near enough
Reno Gazette-Journal, 11-11-2006

Oregon State U. minimum wage deflator

Time to bring back NAGPAC?
CORY FARLEY, RGJ, 8-1-2006

UPDATE: Jan. 2, 2007, 5:11 a.m. PST, 13:11 GMT/SUT — On Jan 2, 1805, James Monroe arrived in Madrid to negotiate the purchase of Florida from Spain. (Too bad he was successful, or we might have avoided the depredations of Dubya and the Iraq War.) [BARBWIRE]; in 1936, Nevada Magazine began publication in Carson City.

Chicago Catholic Cardinal George Mundelein/January 2d 1938: Our place is beside the poor, behind the working man. They are our people, they build our churches, they occupy their pews, their children crowd our schools, our priests come from their sons.

On Jan 2, 1868, the Austin, Nevada, stage agent received a wire from Virginia City: "Stage that should have arrived from Austin on the 31st Dec. did not come until four o'clock this morning. Snowing, blowing, and drifting bad. Don't book through to Sacramento city."; in 1870 or '71, boxing promoter Tex Rickard, who brought several fights to Nevada, was born in Kansas City, Missouri; in 1899, the Olcovich family shut down the Weekly of Carson City; in 1904, U.S. Marines invaded the Dominican Republic and U.S. agents seized control of the nation's finances; in 1911, Nevada Orphans Home superintendent Joseph Josephs reported that it cost the state less than 72 cents a day to care for the children in the home; in 1921, the first known broadcast of a regularly scheduled church service was carried on Pittsburgh's KDKA from Calvary Episcopal Church; in 1953, U.S. representative-elect Cliff Young and his wife were looking for a place to live in D.C. on Capitol Hill when their car was stolen; in 1953, Nevada Assemblymember Carles Hendel announced he would introduce a resolution calling on Congress and the President to halt U.S. aid to any nations selling goods to the Soviet Union that could be used as war materiel in Korea; in 1960, John Kennedy announced he would seek the presidency; in 1964, a plan for a covert land, sea and air war of provocations by the U.S. against Vietnam, called "Oplan 34a", was delivered by General Victor Krulak to President Johnson (the plan's coastal attacks provoked an alleged counterattack against a U.S. ship in the Gulf of Tonkin in August, leading to passage of a congressional resolution effectively authorizing Johnson to launch a war in Vietnam); in 1966, Ronald Reagan took the oath of office as California governor just after midnight, claiming the late night ceremony was required because he had earlier accidentally signed an oath of office, though that did not explain why Robert Finch was also sworn in as lieutenant governor (after Reagan's presidency when the existence of the First Astrologer became known, the midnight inauguration was recalled and assertions were made that it had been held because of astrological advice, which Reagan denied); in 1969, rehearsals began for a proposed Beatles album and movie, Get Back, which became Let It Be; in 1974, President Richard Nixon signed legislation requiring states to limit highway speeds to 55 mph (at the 1980 Republican National Convention, Nevada delegate Cliff McCorkle successfully sponsored a platform plank calling for repeal of the double nickel); in 1983, the Broadway play Annie closed after 2,377 performances and seven Tony Awards, the third longest-running musical of the 1970's; in 2003, Cy Ryan and Judy Odierna reported in the Las Vegas Sun that Nevada pharmacists routinely funneled information on patients who receive prescription painkillers or other prescribed addictive drugs to police agencies (state substance abuse task force lawyer Louis Ling said blandly "This is not used as a law enforcement tool"). [PDA]

UPDATE: Jan. 1, 2007, 3:39 p.m. PST, 23:39 GMT/SUT —

Wovoka: When the Sun died, I went up to Heaven and saw God and all the people who had died a long time ago. God told me to come back and tell my people they must be good and love one another, and not fight, or steal or lie. He gave me this dance to give to my people.

On Jan. 1, 1752, Betsy Ross, famous for something she did not do (a man, Francis Hopkinson, is believed to have sewn the first flag), was born in Philadelphia; in 1802, in response to a request from the Danbury Baptist Association, Thomas Jefferson drafted a letter expressing his views on church and state, coining the term "wall of separation" (see below); in 1863, Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, declaring slaves (in the rebel states only) to be free without actually freeing them while some members of Congress, knowing the proclamation had no legal standing or effect, continued their efforts to actually outlaw slavery; in 1889, during a solar eclipse, Paiute prophet Wovoka had a vision that involved raising the Paiute dead and the removal of whites from the land; in 1891, the Elko Independent and Nevada State Journal were spreading the news that one of the constitutional amendments approved by the 1889 Nevada Legislature and rushed onto a February 11, 1889, special election ballot instead of waiting for the next regular election contained a typographical error that empowered the legislature to "abolish certain county officers, instead of county offices"; in 1909, Barry Goldwater was born in the Territory of Arizona; in 1937, marijuana was made illegal in the United States; in 1939, Eternally Yours, partly filmed in Reno, was released; in 1940, Las Vegas' entry in Pasadena's Tournament of Roses parade, a float with a Hoover Dam theme, won second prize in its division; in 1955, on the same day the U.S. government pledged aid to the "nation" it created in the southern sector of Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh emerged from the mountains where he had directed the successful war against French occupation to appear in public for the first time in many years, at a huge victory parade in Hanoi; in 1955, Las Vegas was testing stoplight systems that had already been tested in Reno under which all vehicle traffic was halted in an intersection, allowing pedestrians to cross in any direction; in 1955, several police officers were suspended because of an incident in which they allegedly entered a North Las Vegas club, tried to arrest a customer, manhandled the owner and fired several shots, all after drinking on duty; in 1955, snowfall halted a test of television in Fallon and Hawthorne using a transmitter atop Mount Grant; in 1956, Sun Records released Blue Suede Shoes by Carl Perkins (the record went gold); in 1957, The Amazing Colossal Man, set in southern Nevada, was released; in 1959, U.S.-backed Cuban dictator Fulgencio Batista and hundreds of his cronies fled to the Dominican Republic and the United States, and the Sierra Maestra revolutionary movement led by attorney Fidel Castro took power; in 1962, Reno's new year celebration turned into a four-hour riot that began shortly after midnight, with intimations of police misconduct that prompted an official investigation conducted by Reno lawyer Peter Echeverria; in 1966, U.S. Senator Strom Thurmond of South Carolina called for the use of nuclear weapons against Vietnam; in 1967, Charles de Gaulle called on the United States to end its "detestable" war against Vietnam; in 1968, a U.S. C-123 dumped an entire tank of defoliants on just two Vietnamese hamlets, which thereafter experienced a high frequency of birth defects; in 1970, The Ballad of Cable Hogue, filmed in Nevada's Valley of Fire, was released; in 1981, Reno's new year celebration turned into a riot, characterized by anti-Iranian sentiments; in 1996, in response to consumer complaints about her absence, Betty Rubble was added to Flintstones vitamins (the car vitamin was eliminated); in 2000, the year began with most of the feared computer problems prevented, though some glitches — loss of power in Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, incorrectly dated invoices in Louisville, Kentucky, and problems at several nuclear power plants — gave a hint of what might have been if massive advance preventive planning had not taken place; in 2001, forty-eight minutes into the new year, the new century and the new millennium, three arsonists — one of them wearing a shirt bearing a cros — torched Temple Emanu-El in Reno.

Draft of letter by Thomas Jefferson to the Danbury Baptist Association (final version may have been different)

Mr. President

To Mess[rs]? Nehemiah Dodge, Ephraim Robbins, & Stephen S. Nelson a committee of the Danbury Baptist association in the state of Connecticut.


The affectionate sentiments of esteem & approbation which you are so good as to express towards me, on behalf of the Danbury Baptist association, give me the highest satisfaction. my duties dictate a faithful & zealous pursuit of the interests of my constituents, and in proportion as they are persuaded of my fidelity to those duties, the discharge of them becomes more & more pleasing.

Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between man & his god, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, and not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, thus building a wall of separation between church and state. [Congress thus inhibited from acts respecting religion, and the Executive authorised only to execute their acts, I have refrained from presenting even occasional performances of devotion presented indeed legally where an Executive is the legal head of a national church, but subject here, as religious exercises only to the voluntary regulations and discipline of each respective sect.] Adhering to this expression of the supreme will of the nation in behalf of the rights of conscience, I shall see with sincere satisfaction the progress of those sentiments which tend to restore to man all his natural rights, convinced he has no natural right in opposition to his social duties.

I reciprocate your kind prayers for the protection and blessing of the common Father and creator of man, and tender you for yourselves and your religious association, assurances of my high respect & esteem.

[signed] Thomas Jefferson

[January 1, 1802]


[[EDITOR'S NOTE: Unless otherwise noted, historical items appear courtesy of longtime Nevada reporter Dennis Myers' Poor Denny's Almanac. [PDA] Items highlighted in blue are of particular interest to labor. Copyright © 2007 Dennis Myers.]]


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