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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 interest to labor in particular and seekers of justice in general. Copyright © 2008 Dennis Myers.]]
UPDATE WEDNESDAY 4-30-2008, 8:03 a.m. PDT, 15:03 GMT/SUT/CUT On this date in 1492, Spain announced the expulsion of all Jews; in 1494, Christopher Columbus landed at Guantanamo Bay; in 1563, France expelled all Jews; in 1871 at an Arivaipa Apache camp, 110 women and children and 8 men were killed and 28 infants kidnapped by 150 Anglo and Mexican Arizonans led by William Oury (some of the attackers were tried and acquitted Oury, a survivior of the Alamo siege, has a mountain in Texas named for him); in 1880, Charles Stevenson of Gold Hill (who would be elected governor six years later) said that the influential Storey County delegation to the state Republican convention in Austin would be overwhelmingly in favor of James G. Blaine for president over Elihu Washburne and that it would oppose any effort to bind the Nevada delegation to the GOP national convention; in 1889, there were huge celebrations across the nation of the centennial of Washington's inauguration as president, including San Francisco (a two hour parade with 10,000 people marching) and New York, where Washington took the oath (New York Episcopal Bishop Henry Potter used the occasion to denounce the anti-clerical Jefferson: "We have exchanged Washington's dignity for Jeffersonian simplicity, which was in truth only another name for Jacksonian vulgarity."), and in Reno "to the extent of a general display of bunting and the ringing of all the church bells of the town."; in 1889, two rail car loads of cats were shipped from Dubuque, Iowa, to Dakota Territory where there was a big demand because of a mice population that was damaging the wheat and corn crops; in 1939, opening ceremonies at the influential New York World's Fair featuring President Franklin Roosevelt and Governor Herbert Lehman were broadcast on television station WNBT's first day of operation; in 1947, President Truman signed a bill changing the name of Boulder Dam to Hoover Dam (although, in fact, it had never actually been Boulder Dam FDR Interior Secretary Harold Ickes had "changed" the name but Ickes had acted without any legal authority, so it was Hoover Dam all along); in 1968, David Robert Rogers of Las Vegas died in Quang Tri Province, Vietnam (panel 53e, row 22 of the Vietnam wall); in 1975, Saigon fell and the war in Vietnam ended with 3 million Vietnamese and 58,200 U.S. dead and 300,000 Vietnamese missing and 2,124 U.S. missing; in 2004, NPR host Bob Edwards did his last Morning Edition program, an interview with CBS newsman Charles Osgood, who had been his first guest in 1979 (Edwards was forced out just short of his 25th anniversary as part of an effort by producers to "freshen up" the program); in 2007, a swarm of bees formed a hive on the outside surface of the pane of Reno News and Review general manager John Murphy's office.
UPDATE TUESDAY 4-29-2008, 1:01 a.m. PDT, 08:01 GMT/SUT/CUT On this date in 1861, in spite of a secessionist editorial in the Baltimore Sun, the Maryland House of Delegates voted against seceding from the union, eliminating any need for the federal government to abandon the District of Columbia; in 1864, President Lincoln forwarded to the U.S. Senate the report of Nevada Territorial Governor James Nye on progress in the territory; in 1899 at Clark's Station in the Truckee River canyon east of Sparks, the bodies of three workers smothered on April 28 when they were digging a well and they encountered a cave from which sand and water rushed in on them were recovered and sent to Reno; in 1913, U.S. Secretary of State William Jennings Bryan was in Sacramento trying to convince state legislators not to enact a prohibition on land ownership by non-U.S. citizens and in Chicago a young Japanese killed himself in protest against the California legislation; in 1926, a squad of prohibition officers arrived in Tonopah but the town had already been tipped off and they were only able to make one arrest, and that one at the Ideal Café may have been for possession of a pitcher of water; in 1933, the fascist Dollfuss government in Austria, the Nazi Hitler government of Germany, and the fascist Justo government of Argentina each prohibited observance of May Day, the workers holiday that originated in Chicago; in 1960, Dick Clark testified before a congressional committee investigating payola, and its members seemed star struck but later issued a report harshly critical of Clark's behavior (Clark testified that he didn't accept payola, but did pay it, and that while he accepted gifts and royalties, they weren't payola); in 1967, one of the iconic recordings of a generation, Otis Redding's Respect by Aretha Franklin, was released by Atlantic (to help you with the Trivial Pursuit baby boomer edition, the flip side was Dr. Feelgood); in 1971, a day after former Army sergeant Danny Notley gave congressional testimony that he saw the William Calley's brigade methodically mow down 30 unresisting women and children a year before the My Lai massacre, former artillery observor Kenneth Campbell testified that he personally directed the destruction of two peaceful Vietnamese villages that resulted in the deaths of at least 20 Vietnamese (and also on this date, Capt. Eugene Kotouc was acquitted of charges arising from his actions in the My Lai massacre); in 1971, U.S. Senator Strom Thurmond, speaking on the UNR campus, denounced antiwar protestors as a "mob" and said of their demands for withdrawal from Vietnam "It is clear why communists and radicals within the United States would work for this goal."; in 1975 during the liberation of Saigon, Dutch United Press International photographer Hubert Van Es snapped a photograph of people being loaded onto a helicopter atop the Pittman Apartments, where C.I.A. officials were housed, a photo that became famous (though the building was usually identified as the U.S. embassy); in 2004, George Bush testified before the commission investigating September 11, but would not appear without Richard Cheney at his side; in 2006 at the White House Correspondents' Association dinner, comedian Stephen Colbert gave a hilarious routine that spoke truth to power on the way reporters acted as stenographers for the White House instead of as journalists , prompting a cascade of denunciations from the press of Colbert in the days after the dinner, with journalists saying he was a "bully", "rude" and most definitely "not funny", denunciations that probably puzzled many readers because the Colbert speech itself (watch the 24-minute video; transcript and video) went largely unreported in the mainstream press.
UPDATE MONDAY 4-28-2008, 12:01 a.m. PDT, 07:01 GMT/SUT/CUT On this date in 1989, the first Workers Memorial Day was observed. April 28 was chosen because it is the anniversary of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the day of a similar remembrance in Canada.
On April 25, 2000, Nevada unions marked Workers Memorial Day at the downtown Sparks amphitheatre. On April 25, 2012, they returned.
SPARKS (4-25-2000) Nevada workers and public officials commemorate those injured and killed on the job. From left, labor activist Mike Slater (back to camera), Charles Cox (United Auto Workers Local 2162), Assemblymember Sheila Leslie, D-Reno, John Doran (Communications Workers of America Local 9413), and Pat Sanderson (Laborers' International Union Local 169). [NevadaLabor.com photo]
From the NevadaLabor.com archives Tuesday, April 25, 2000 at 05:33:14
WORKERS MEMORIAL DAY CEREMONY SCHEDULED FOR SPARKS AMPHITHEATER ON TUESDAY, APRIL 25, 2000, 4:30 P.M.
Commemoration of workers killed and injured on the job
Déjà vu all over again
Nevada mine worker dies in accident
April 22, 2008
RENO, Nev. (AP) One miner was killed and another injured when ground above them gave way at an underground gold mine in Nevada, authorities said Tuesday.
Kenny Barbosa, 28, of Winnemucca, died in the Monday afternoon accident at the Getchell Underground Mine, about 30 miles north of Golconda, authorities said.
He was one of two mechanics working to repair a rock bolting machine when backfill a mixture of cement and crushed rock fell from above, officials said.
The second mechanic was uninjured but a third miner, an equipment operator, suffered a broken leg.
Officials with the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration and the state were on site to investigate.
The mine, operated by Idaho-based Small Mine Development, is jointly owned by Barrick Gold Corp., headquartered in Toronto, and Denver-based Newmont Mining Corp.
Our heartfelt thoughts and prayers go out to Kennys loved ones, SMD President Ron Guill said in a written statement.
It is the second fatal accident at the mine this year and the third since last summer.
Michael Millican, 43, of Detroit, Ore., was struck and killed by a haul truck in January.
Last August, Curtis Johnson, 36, of Winnemucca, died when the ground gave way as he was operating a bolter heavy equipment used to drill bolts into hard rock.
From "Engineer" at topix.com
This is actually the third death at the Getchell Mine in less than a year, all under SMD (Aug. 2007 another large roof fall killed a bolter).
What the hell is happening to SMD? They used to have a great safety record. I met Ron Guill a few years ago, and at that time the company had never had a fatality. Something is wrong at the Getchell Mine.
Without a fatalgram or report it is tough to know exactly what happened. I have a serious problem with being under backfill how the heck did that even happen? Maybe I am the worst engineer in the world, but what mining method employs mining under backfill? Why didn't they leave a pillar is they HAD to go back under backfill? I just don't understand.
Regardless, the Getchell obviously has some ground control issues. I would be taking a serious look at bolting patterns, bolting procedures, re-training to keep miners and mechanics out from under unsupported ground, geotech analysis to determine if the proper type of bolt is being installed, and do a full analysis of current bolting.
Why MSHA isn't all over this, I don't know. Where are the engineers?
But without knowing more I really need the report, and how SMD is organized into this mine (did SMD do the ground control calcs or someone else?) it is tough to pass a final judgment.
One thing is for sure, though, this mine needs some serious work done to prevent ANOTHER catastrophic roof fall.
Nevada's on-the-job death rate has been rising. In 1997, 55 workers were killed in workplace accidents. The number rose to 63 in 1998, the last year for which complete statistics are available. A Nevada construction workers' chance of injury stood 30 percent higher than the national rate in 1997, according to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics. More than 10,000 Nevada construction workers were injured on the job that year. From 1992 to 1996, federal data show that Nevada exceeded the nation's median fatality rate.
To bring public attention to the hazards of the workplace and to remember the dead and injured, the Northern Nevada Central Labor Council will hold a Workers Memorial Day commemoration at the downtown Sparks Amphitheater on Tuesday, April 25. The interfaith ceremony begins at 4:30 p.m. with a welcome by Danny Thompson, Executive Secretary-Treasurer of the Nevada State AFL-CIO.
Scheduled speakers include Ken Mercurio of Accurate Companies, Inc. One of his workers, James Hilbert, 59, was killed in a highway ramp construction accident in south Reno last November 11. Hilbert was a well-respected construction foreman and longtime member of Plasterers and Cement Masons Local 241. His son, Shawn Hilbert, is scheduled to speak at the Sparks event.
Sandy Pritchett will also participate. Her husband, Ted, 41, died on Feb. 2, 1999, in a 30-foot fall while working at Naval Air Station Fallon. He was employed by Martin Iron Works of Reno and was a member of Ironworkers Local 118.
The names of those recently killed on the job will be read during a candlelight prayer ceremony.
A similar event will be held in Las Vegas on Thursday, April 27. The AFL-CIO has designated Friday, April 28, as a national memorial day for workers. It will climax a week of events across the nation focusing on job safety.
The umbrella labor organization will call for passage of a federal ergonomics standard, stronger on-the-job safety and health protections, better shielding of whistleblowers who report work hazards and injuries, and coverage for all workers under the job safety law.
The Nevada State AFL-CIO will emphasize its opposition to legislative proposals to eliminate Nevada's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA).
The state's most recent worker death occurred April 10 (2000) at Placer Dome Inc.s Getchell Mine near Winnemucca. Byron Coates, 40, of Packwood, Wash., a driller working for Boart Longyear Co., was killed in a rig accident. Nevada led the nation in mining deaths with nine last year, according to the U.S. Dept. of Labor.
Déjà vu all over again (See right) >
More information on creating a safer workplace may be obtained from the Workers Memorial Day Committee at (775) 355-9200. Spanish speakers may call (775) 689-8670.
On April 28, 1866, a peace and friendship treaty was signed between the United States and the Choctaw and Chickasaw, the tribes agreeing to give up their African-American slaves (after the civil war, some tribes refused to release their slaves so their freedom had to be negotiated by treaty); in 1874, word reached Nevada that the U.S. Senate had approved $19,000 ($433,854.24 in 2007 dollars) to pay a John M. McPike for supplies furnished to volunteers for attacks on Native Americans fourteen years earlier; in 1899 at Clark's Station in the Truckee River canyon east of Sparks, three workers were smothered when they were digging a well and they encountered a cave from which sand and water rushed in on them; in 1913, after her return from a trip to the east, a welcome-home meeting was held for Nevada suffrage leader Anne Martin at Reno's Harmony Hall, and James Church and Romanzo Adams were the speakers; in 1914, snow scientist James E. Church and a friend, who had been feared lost in the mountains, arrived in Brockaway by motorboat after two weeks on Mount Rose and met a search party that was looking for them (but they were unable to contact and turn around a second search party headed up Mount Rose); in 1937, Nevada Lieutenant Governor Fred Alward visited Company 2536 of the Civilian Conservation Corps in Boulder City, toured the grounds, and was the guest at the company dinner, after which he gave a lecture on his travels in Japan; in 1942 in a message to Congress, President Roosevelt outlined a seven point program to curb wages, ration scarce goods, and devote all available financial resources to the war effort: "And I therefore believe that in time of this grave national danger, when all excess income should go to win the war, no American citizen ought to have a net income, after he has paid his taxes, of more than $25,000 a year" (about $348,502.09 in 2007 dollars); in 1968, Hair opened on Broadway after six months off Broadway; in 1971, Barbra Streisand received a gold record for her Stoney End attempt to sing rock; in 1987, U.S. engineer Benjamin Linder, working on a small hydroelectric plant to help the Nicaraguan village of San José de Bocay, was executed by U.S. funded contra troops (the Reagan administration denounced Linder for being "in harm's way"); in 2005, Eric W. Morris of Sparks died in Tel Afar, Iraq.
UPDATE SUNDAY 4-27-2008, 9:26 p.m. PDT, 04:26 4-28-2008 GMT/SUT/CUT On this date in 1773, the British Parliament lowered the tea tax, which would later provoke the Boston tea party at which north American colonists demanded that the tea tax be raised back up; in 1844, in an apparent effort to take the slavery issue out of the 1844 campaign at a time when the union was tied with thirteen slave states and thirteen free states, the frontrunners for the presidential nominations of the two major parties, Henry Clay and Martin Van Buren, released separate but perhaps coordinated statements opposing Texas statehood, and instead made Van Buren vulnerable to defeat for his party's nomination by James Polk and made Clay vulnerable to defeat in the general election by Polk; in 1888, twenty-three years after the end of the civil war, Nevada officials were surprised by a check from the U.S. government for $23,180.92 (the equivalent of $475,790.35 in 2005 dollars) in partial payment for the money the state spent in outfitting soldiers for the war and for later conflicts with Native Americans in Elko and White Pine counties; in 1893, the Nevada State Journal wrote "The supreme court of the United States has had occasion to declare itself on the question whether singular or plural pronouns ought to be used in speaking of the United States. The court sustains the constitutional form "The United States are"; in 1915, the French and English governments signed an agreement in Reno with Nevada rancher Neil West for the delivery within three months of 2,500 horses for $250,000, the horses to be used by Allied troops in the world war; in 1915, the death toll from flooding in Austin, Texas, reached 27; in 1957, apiarist Walter Bridgeman was called in when a colony of bees abandoned their hive in the cornices of the Washoe County court house and settled on a bus bench with an ad for the Park Wedding Chapel painted on it, and Bridgeman used smoke to sedate the bees and coax them into a wooden hive; in 1965, Edward R. Murrow died in New York; in 1966, President Johnson signed legislation to promote recreation development at Pyramid Lake; in 1967, Arthur Davies, Jr., of Reno died in Tay Ninh, Vietnam (panel 18e, row 101 of the Vietnam wall); in 1968, Mrs. Robinson was released by Columbia Records (to the sorrow of dedicated Simon and Garfunkel fans, no recording based on the far superior Graduate film score arrangement for the song was ever released, except for a short version on the soundtrack album); in 1971, a federal court received a motion seeking to block the integration plan recently adopted by the Clark County School District; in 2002, the entire town of Laughlin on the Nevada/Arizona border was put under lockdown after a melee by rival motorcycle gangs left three people dead and more than a dozen injured.
George W. Bush / April 27, 2000: "my brother Jeb, the great governor of Texas"
Jim Lehrer: Florida.
Bush: Florida. The state of the Florida.
Bill Moyers: The last time I saw Murrow, we got into a conversation. He said "What are you going to do when you leave the White House?" And I said "Well, I either want to go run a newspaper or I want to go into your business, broadcasting. He sort of smiled that wry smile of his and he says "Well, I hope you come to broadcasting, but just keep in mind, sooner or later they'll get you." What he meant by that was that in time, if you wanted to be serious in this business, your tether was short, that the clowns and the ringmasters and the barkers, the carnival would take over totally and the journalists would be in jeopardy. I think he felt that very keenly toward the end of his life.
UPDATE SATURDAY 4-26-2008, 12:43 a.m. PDT, 07:43 GMT/SUT/CUT On this date in 1861, James Fenimore AKA James Finney, who supposedly named Virginia City, Nevada, was injured in an accident on a horse he stole and died the next day; in 1872, William ("Buffalo Bill") Cody and three other soldiers killed three Native Americans in an engagement near the Platte River in Nebraska, for which they received the Medal of Honor for "gallantry in action"; in 1908, William Buwalda, a U.S. soldier with an excellent 15-year record, shook hands with Emma Goldman, for which he was court martialed and sentenced to a dishonorable discharge and five years at hard labor in Alcatraz (later reduced to three years); in 1916, highly decorated army offficer Kenneth Floto of Jacks Valley and Fallon, veteran of the 87th Mountain Infantry (which saw mountain and cold weather action in Italy as part of the Fifth Army in 1945) and of the Third Division (during which Floto was part of the landing at Anzio, where he earned the D.S.C.) and organizer of the U.S. Biathlon Training Center in Alaska and chief of army section of the U.S. military assistance advisory group in Ethiopia (serving as an advisor to Emperor Haile Sellasie), was born in Oakland; in 1924, there were rumors in Reno of a federal investigation of an unnamed Nevada Democratic politician on suspicion of violating the U.S. law against prizefight movies (in 1910, after African-American boxer Jack Johnson defeated "great white hope" Jim Jeffries in Reno, movies of the bout were released and they sparked white rioting, prompting passage of a federal law banning the interstate transport of fight films); in 1927, the Reno exposition board and chamber of commerce settled on plans for a tent city to provide a thousand housing units at a cost of $35,000 to accommodate visitors to the Transcontinental Highway Exposition in Reno; in 1940 in a speech to the National Negro Congress, CIO President John L. Lewis called for elimination of poll taxes and a federal anti-lynching law, which the press interpreted as a bid for African-American support for his threatened third party; in 1940, Baptist minister Homer Martin, who led the UAW through the sit down strike of 1937, resigned as president of the UAW/AFL after his union lost most of the General Motors elections to the UAW/CIO; in 1962, the Soroptomist Club of Reno held a luncheon at which all the Miss Reno contestants provided entertainment, Betty Stoddard hosted, and Miss Nevada 1959 Dawn Wells and Miss Nevada 1961 Sherry Wagner were honored and addressed the group; in 1962, it was announced that the judges for the Miss Reno contest would be television actress Dawn Wells, singer Roberta Sherwood, banker William Belcher and Nevada talent agent Lee Frankovich; in 1967, Robert John Henry of Las Vegas died in Quang Tri Province, Vietnam (panel 18e, row 94 on the Vietnam wall); in 1969, Richard Howard Walker of Sparks was killed in Quang Nam Province, Vietnam (panel 26w, row 58); in 1978, Ringo, a semi-autobiographical television special featuring Ringo Starr playing both parts in The Prince and the Pauper and narrated by George Harrison, was broadcast; in 1998, two days after Guatemalan Bishop and human rights leader Juan Gerardi Conedera released a report on atrocities in the country's U.S.-provoked 36-year civil war, he was beaten to death in the garage of the parish house of the San Sebastián Church in Guatemala City; in 2000, in a signing closed to the public and press, Vermont Governor Howard Dean quietly signed legislation creating civil unions for same-gender couples.
UPDATE FRIDAY 4-25-2008, 8:49 a.m. PDT, 15:49 GMT/SUT/CUT On this date in 1774, in an effort to gain Native American lands by starting a war the tribes would lose, a group of Kentucky pioneers led by Michael Cresap killed a Shawnee and a Delaware found randomly in the woods; in 1886, The New York Times editorialized that the movement for an eight-hour work day was "un-American" and that "labor disturbances are brought about by foreigners"; in 1906 in Truckee, California, 1,200 sandwiches with coffee were served to people who left San Francisco after the earthquake and were traveling to points east; in 1907, U.S. Senator Francis Newlands of Nevada announced that he had taken over San Francisco's Fairmont Hotel on a $3,000 a week lease; in 1923, the Truckee River Power Company offered stock in Sierra Pacific Electric Company for $80 a share; in 1964, the Paul McCartney song World Without Love by Peter and Gordon hit number one; in 1972, President Nixon and Secretary of State Kissinger engaged in a macabre discussion of what the best possible way would be to kill a large number of Vietnamese civilians (see below); in 1996, a re-dedication ceremony was held at the University of Nevada in Reno for a statue of John Mackay that was originally installed in 1908.
White House tape / April 25, 1972:
Nixon: See, the attack in the North that we have in mind...power plants, whatever's left, POL (petroleum), the docks.... And I still think we ought to take the dykes out now. Will that drown people?
Kissinger: About two hundred thousand people.
Nixon: No, no, no. I'd rather use the nuclear bomb. Have you got that, Henry?
Kissinger: That, I think, would be just too much.
Nixon: The nuclear bomb, does that bother you? I just want you to think big, Henry, for chrissakes. The only place where you and I disagree is with regard to the bombing. You're so goddamned concerned about the civilians, and I don't give a damn. I don't care.
Kissinger: I'm concerned about the civilians because I don't want the world to be mobilized against you as a butcher.
UPDATE THURSDAY 4-24-2008, 12:44 a.m. PDT, 07:44 GMT/SUT/CUT
John Acton to Mary Gladstone / April 24, 1881: There is no error so monstrous that it fails to find defenders among the ablest men. Imagine a congress of eminent celebrities, such as More, Bacon, Grotius, Pascal, Cromwell, Bossuet, Montesquieu, Jefferson, Napoleon, Pitt, etc. The result would be an Encyclopedia of Error. They would assert Slavery, Socialism, Persecution, Divine Right, military despotism, the reign of force, the supremacy of the executive over the legislation and justice, purchase in the magistracy, the abolition of credit, the limitation of laws to nineteen years, etc.
On this date in 1877, the Reno Evening Gazette argued that the strawberry festival for the benefit of the library (which was organized by local "ladies") had gone so well it proved that women were competent; in 1920, Republican U.S. Senator Arthur Capper of Kansas said the United States had become a "robbers roost" of corporate profiteers and Republican U.S. Senator Irvine Lenroot of Wisconsin said that if a "single millionaire were sent to Leavenworth under the laws now on the books some of this profiteering would be stopped"; in 1920, Nevada political boss George Wingfield was elected Republican national committeeman by the Republican state convention after Sam Platt wisely withdrew from the race; in 1934, unemployed Pittsburgh veteran Tom Hunt returned home from applying for public relief to learn that he had been belatedly awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for "extraordinary heroism" near Cote de Chatillion in France on October 14, 1918; in 1934 in New York City, an organization called the Wives of Reno Association for Divorce Reform was meeting to seek action against alimony avoiding husbands, peeping Tom columnists, and newspapers that publish details of marital strife (the meeting was disrupted by reporters); in 1950, the Desert Inn Hotel Casino opened in Las Vegas; in 1958, I Wonder Why b/w Teen Angel by Dion and the Belmonts was released, the first recording of the Laurie label; in 1963, a reluctant J. Edgar Hoover delivered a confidential report on skimming in Las Vegas casinos to an insistent Attorney General Robert Kennedy, and five days later a federal wiretap overheard mobsters reading the report; in 1965, Shoshone Chief Frank Temoke, Sr., published an article explaining why Nevada Shoshones insist on the U.S. government honoring the 1863 Treaty of Ruby Valley, a subject that is still a matter of dispute today; in 1972, John Lennon's Woman Is The Nigger Of The World was released, most radio stations refusing to broadcast it (it still sold well); in 2000, Nevada Assembly speaker pro tempore Jan Evans died.
UPDATE WEDNESDAY 4-23-2008, 8:22 a.m. PDT, 15:22 GMT/SUT/CUT On this date in 1616, Shakespeare and Cervantes both died on this date but not on the same day (Spain was using the Gregorian calendar and Britain was still using the Julian); in 1791, James Buchanan, who signed legislation making Nevada a U.S. territory on his last day in office as president, was born in Pennsylvania; in 1877, Frank and Miriam Leslie, the publishers who made illustrated news publications popular in the United States, arrived in Reno with a party from their Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper for a visit that would take them to the Comstock Lode; in 1886, Belle Montrose, whose career spanned vaudeville (Milton Berle: "the funniest woman in vaudeville"), radio, movies, and television, was born Isabelle Donohue somewhere in Illinois (her son was Steve Allen); in 1926, all Las Vegas hotel rooms were taken and private homes were packed as 3000 tourists, including notables from three states, crowded in for the annual historical pageant at the lost city of Pueblo Grande de Nevada on April 24; in 1934, after FBI agents surrounded a resort in the Wisconsin woods, trapping the Dillinger gang, including John Dillinger and George "Baby Face" Nelson, inside the main lodge, the gang escaped though the officers did manage to shoot three innocent bystanders, killing one; in 1934, on that same day Baby Face Nelson, after escaping into the woods from the Little Bohemia gunfight, encountered the woodland home of a Chippewa on the Lac du Flambeau tribal reservation and moved in with him and his family to wait for the heat to blow over, meanwhile playing with the children and helping the family boil maple syrup; in 1934, it was reported that Clark Gable and his stepson Alfred Lucas caught 13 trout during a stay at Pyramid Lake and Gable would be returning with John Barrymore for another visit; in 1941 in Washington, the Works Progress Administration approved a $14,121 grant for improvements at the Winnemucca general hospital; in 1959, Margo Hines, owner of a huge ranch at Tule Springs, jolted state legislators who had spent much time on arranging funding for the purchase of the ranch by sending a letter to Governor Grant Sawyer saying she had long since promised to sell the land to a private group of investors; in 1981, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins and Johnny Cash recorded an album in the country music mecca of Stuttgart; in 1993, César Chávez died too soon; in 1999, Las Vegas civil rights pioneer James McMillan was honored by the Nevada Legislature.
Will Rogers, April 1934: Well, they had Dillinger surrounded and was all ready to shoot him when he come out, but another bunch of folks come out ahead, so they just shot them instead. Dillinger is going to accidentally get with some innocent bystanders some time, then he will get shot.
UPDATE TUESDAY 4-22-2008, 3:36 a.m. PDT, 10:36 GMT/SUT/CUT On this date in 1778, the only instances of colonial invasion of England happened when the crew of the Ranger, commanded by John Paul AKA John Paul Jones (he added the "Jones" when he fled a murder rap in Tobago), landed at Whitehaven and spiked the cannon of a local fort while burning trade goods and three ships and then sailed to St. Mary's Isle and landed in an unsuccessful attempt to kidnap the Earl of Selkirk (it was the last invasion of England by any nation); in 1907, the Reno City Council increased the pay of police officers to $95 a month, provoking opposition because it was the second raise of the year; in 1927, after the theft of twenty rabbits from the Nevada asylum, Sparks police nabbed three boys who wanted to assure themselves of "plenty of Easter eggs"; in 1939, the Nevada Planning Board affirmed its opposition to plans by the U.S. Indian Bureau to buy farm land from whites for Indian settlements; in 1939, the White Bear Mining Company of Altoona, Pennsylvania, lacking enough capital to operate its Pershing County mine in Nevada, launched a system under which it provided the machinery and lumber and workers provided their food and work, and returns from shipments to the smelter were split evenly between mine and miners; in 1966, Wild Thing by The Troggs was released; in 1970, the first Earth Day, the idea of U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson, D-Wisconsin, was held; in 1999, two days after the Columbine school shootings, President Clinton spoke against violence at T.C. Williams High School in Alexandria, Virginia, then returned to D.C. where he ordered stepped-up bombing of Belgrade.
UPDATE MONDAY 4-21-2008, 7:58 a.m. PDT, 14:58 GMT/SUT/CUT On this date in 1142, religious scholar Pierre Abelard, who wrote about the relationship between faith and knowledge and who taught a young woman named Heloise, fell in love with her, married her, was castrated by her uncle, took holy orders along with her, and continued their love platonically through a legendary correspondence, died at Saint Marcel monastery; in 1836, the war to save slavery (outlawed under the new Mexican constitution) was won when rebellious northern Mexicans under Sam Houston defeated the army of Mexico under General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna at San Jacinto, bringing the independent Republic of Texas into being; in 1870, construction began on the Nevada capitol; in 1907, officers and special detectives were searching Reno for former San Francisco police commissioner Alexander O'Grady, who was wanted for questioning by a California grand jury investigating graft; in 1941, the Las Vegas Age sided with federal military officials who wanted Las Vegas' block 16 open prostitution zone cleaned up, recalling that the city had promised to move it years earlier when federal funds were made available for the federal building; in 1948, members of the Washo tribe in Nevada and California met and agreed to hire attorneys to represent the tribe before the new federal Indian Claims Commission, created by Congress to redress longstanding Native American grievances; in 1949, University of Chicago Chancellor Robert Maynard Hutchins took a rare stance among defensive liberals in the postwar red-baiting period he defended the right of students to be communists before a hearing of an Illinois Legislature seditious activities investigating committee; in 1949, leftist reporter Gregorios Stahtopoulos was convicted of assassinating U.S. reporter George Polk during the Greek civil war (a former OSS officer hired by Walter Lippmann to investigate the Polk murder concluded it was more likely committed by right wing groups); in 1958, forty-nine people died in Nevada when an air force jet from Nellis and a United airliner collided; in 1959, the Culinary Workers union threw a picket line around the Tip Top Drive Inn in Las Vegas, the only restaurant in the city not to sign a union contract or negotiate one; in 1960, CBS broadcast Biography of a Cancer, produced by Fred Friendly and featuring footage of the actual cancer surgery performed on famed Navy physician Tom Dooley; in 1971, in a portentous move, the Washoe County Bar Association sent a single name, that of Jerry Whitehead, to Governor Mike O'Callaghan and recommended Whitehead to be a Nevada district court judge, though O'Callaghan had requested five names; in 1977, Annie opened on Broadway.
UPDATE SUNDAY 4-20-2008, 12:01 a.m. PDT, 07:01 GMT/SUT/CUT On this date in 1928, the Nevada State Journal reported that "The new St. Mary's hospital will be built only by local labor. Emphatic orders have been given by Sister Raymond, head of the Dominican Sisters, and the conditions have been accepted by the contractors, it was announced yesterday from committee headquarters, 202 N. Center St. Willis Polk, note as an architect of a number of principal buildings on the Pacific coast, has been employed to design the hospital." [Editor's note: The above sentiment to use local labor echoed the status quo announced in the Reno Chamber of Commerce's official publication commemorating the 1927 Transcontinental Highway Exposition that "there is labor peace in Reno" and "all trades in Reno are on a union basis." Fast forward 70 years and St. Mary's was busting nurses unions with the best of anti-labor thugs, Christian charity be damned.]
On April 20, 570, (or April 26, the date generally cited by Shi'a Muslims) the prophet Muhammad was born in Mecca; in 1883, eagles, which were observed on Sun Mountain/Mount Davidson in Virginia City's early days but then departed, were reported to have returned; in 1907, at a reception in Winnemucca, U.S. Senator George Nixon announced he would build an opera house and donate it to the town; in 1912, a fire started in the basement of Stewart Hall at the University of Nevada and the student fire brigade had it under control by the time city firefighters arrived; in 1914, at a Rockefeller-owned mine in Ludlow, Colorado, a tent city of striking miners and their families who had been evicted from company-owned homes were surrounded by state militia, private detectives and Rockefeller goons who opened fire with machine guns and set tents afire, killing 20 people most of them children who smothered in pits that filled with smoke under the tents (the Rockefellers responded by hiring public relations experts and starting a charitable giving program); in 1932, former Nevada governor James Scrugham wrote in his Nevada State Journal that the purchase by actors Clara Bow and Rex Bell of a ranch in Searchlight was a "publicity stunt"; in 1934 in remarks to the Daughters of the American Revolution (who were less than thrilled by the message), Eleanor Roosevelt called for antiwar sentiment to combat the "defeatists" that war is inevitable: "While we must continue to be prepared to defend our country and to die for it, we should leave no stone unturned to prepare everyone to live for his country."; in 1939, Billie Holliday recorded Abel Meeropol's song Strange Fruit, which was to become one of her signature songs, for Commodore Records after Columbia refused to record it (a panel of songwriters convened by Britain's Mojo magazine named it number seven on a list of the ten best songs written in the 20th century); in 1948, an attempted assassination of Dr. Walter Reuther, president of the United Auto Workers, failed but the shotgun blast fired through his kitchen window still caused serious chest wounds and nearly blew his arm off; in 1954, University of Nevada biology department chair Frank Richardson, who had been fired by President Minard Stout for circulating a magazine article among faculty members and whose firing was upheld by the regents, was ordered reinstated by the Supreme Court of Nevada, which ruled that Richardson had been dismissed without just cause; in 1959, workers at American Potash and Chemical in Henderson went out on strike; in 1971, the Pentagon released figures documenting the rise in fragging (killing of officers by their own soldiers) in Vietnam, from 96 attempts in 1969 to 209 in 1970 (it was widely suspected that the figures understated the problem); in 1976, The Rolling Stones' album Black and Blue was released, advertised by a Sunset Boulevard billboard showing a woman bound and bruised ("I'm Black and Blue from the Rolling Stones and I love it!"), prompting mass protests and feminist vandalism of the billboard until it was finally removed and similar magazine ads cancelled.
UPDATE SATURDAY 4-19-2008, 12:19 p.m. PDT, 19:19 GMT/SUT/CUT On this date in 1875 Winnemucca, Nevada's Silver State reported that "Prince Naches, who does not consider it beneath the dignity of a royal Paiute to peddle fish, is doing a thriving business in that line"; in 1870, the Sacramento Reporter editorialized: "Well, well! We don't wonder that the Bee is so intensely Republican; nor can we doubt that it is so conscientiously, for it don't seem to know what Radicalism has been doing. It is very true that the Fifteenth Amendment 'does not presume to dictate who shall be citizens,' but there is a prior amendment, the Fourteenth, which does... [It] makes every Digger in California and every Pi-ute in Nevada a citizen, beyond all question; and now comes the Fifteenth Amendment and gives them the right to vote. Indian Jim, who goes around our streets in a cast-off uniform, has as much right to vote at the next election as James McClatchy.... And that he will vote at the next election, we have not the slightest doubt."; in 1876, brutal Wichita city police officer Wyatt Earp was fired from his $60 a month job after he beat up a sheriff candidate (his final salary was withheld until "all collected fines are submitted"); in 1915, University of Nevada students were seeking relief from warm weather by swimming in the reservoir on the campus; in 1934, on the last day for unemployed Washoe residents to apply to join the Civilian Conservation Corps, Nevada CCC administrator Gilbert Ross said 40 of the county's 140 allotted spots remained vacant; in 1939, Fred "Fritz the Rooster" Martens died during a poker game in Las Vegas, and the game went on with him sitting there until a doctor arrived to take the body; in 1943, a conference was convened in Bermuda at which U.S. and British officials carefully planned how to avoid interfering with Nazi treatment of the Jews; in 1950, Walt Punteney, last known survivor of the Hole In the Wall Gang (except for one woman associate), died in Pinedale, Wyoming (his obituary in the Pinedale Roundup mentioned that he had been top rider in the Buffalo Bill wild west show but not his association with Butch and Sundance); in 1954, Las Vegas Sun publisher Hank Greenspun was found not guilty of inciting the assassination of U.S. Senator Joseph McCarthy by writing a column predicting that McCarthy would "come to a violent end"; in 1962, a man from Utah and a woman from San Francisco picketed the Atomic Energy Commission office in Las Vegas in protest against atomic tests and the local office of United Press International described them as "professional protesters"; in 1965, Capitol released Ticket To Ride b/w Yes It Is by The Beatles; in 1966 at the state PTA convention in Las Vegas, Joe Mathews sought support for his initiative petition to raise gambling taxes; in 1973, Nevada gambling regulators approved liquor distributor Stephen Wynn's application to purchase 6.4 percent of the Golden Nugget in Las Vegas; in 1993, a local chapter of the Black Panther Party was organized in Las Vegas.
Reno Evening Gazette / April 19, 1882: This evening there will be a grand show, which Renoites are invited to witness. As it will take place out of doors there will be no charge for admittance. About 9 o'clock V&T time (8:43 astronomical) Jupiter, the lordliest of all the planets, will attempt to hide himself and his satellites behind our puny moon.
UPDATE FRIDAY 4-18-2008, 9:51 a.m. PDT, 16:51 GMT/SUT/CUT
John Kennedy, letter to Nikita Khrushchev denying Khrushchev's accusation of intervention in Cuba, written as U.S. trained and funded forces were intervening in Cuba / April 18, 1961: I have previously stated, and I repeat now, that the United States intends no military intervention in Cuba.
On this date in 1644, ninety-nine year old Opechancanough of the Powhatan Confederacy led tribal forces against Virginia (22 years after his first attack on Jamestown) and killed almost 400 English; in 1775, Samuel Prescott, Paul Revere and William Dawes rode to warn colonists of the approach of the British army, with only Prescott completing his mission and they probably didn't call out "The British are coming" since everyone in Massachusetts and the other colonies was British (Revere was captured before reaching Concord, set afoot and sent back to Lexington, not that it would have mattered since the colonists were already awake and mobilized on the village green before Revere even started out); in 1875, Superintendent James Crawford of the U.S. branch mint in Carson City received a communication from the director of mints reporting that several designs for the new twenty-cent coin had been submitted and one would be chosen in the week ahead, after which the dies would be produced and sent to the mints for use; in 1907, Carson City, Nevada, merchant Joseph Platt, a prominent member of the capital city's Jewish community, died (all state and county offices closed during his funeral); in 1918, Nevada Governor Emmet Boyle said Jess Willard and Fred Fulton could not hold their planned fourth of July prizefight in his state (To rub it in, he adds that they have his unqualified permission to fight in France any time they wish.); in 1921, The New York Times reported what the U.S. government had been unwilling to tell the public, that U.S. prisoners taken during the 1919 invasion of the Soviet Union were held by the Soviets; in 1927, the price of gasoline was up to a whopping 23 cents a gallon in Nevada compared to 12.5 cents in California; in 1940, during excavations at the site of the ancient city of Djanet (Tanis, in Greek), Egypt's King Farouk reportedly participated in the opening of a room in which was found the granite sarcophagus of his predecessor, Pharoah Amenemope; in 1951, Hearst's New York Journal American suggested that Secretary of State Dean Acheson and Assistant Secretary Dean Rusk had drugged President Truman and then they fired General MacArthur on April 11 ("Maybe the State Department gave him [Truman] some kind of mental or enural anodyne. Thus a page in history a dark, disgraceful page was written in the midnight hours of April 11. General MacArthur was fired no doubt about that. But did the President fire him? That is doubtful." [I feel obliged to note here that I am not making this up.]), but the newspaper neglected to suggest why the president, once he emerged from his drug-induced stupor, failed to reinstate the general and send Acheson and Rusk packing; in 1958, poet Ezra Pound, who had been taken prisoner in Italy by U.S. forces in 1945 and driven to a breakdown while held in a kennel-like cage (no toilet facilities, hosed down at intervals) for six months, was released after 13 years without ever being brought to trial; in 1959, the new 36-million-dollar Las Vegas convention center was dedicated, with Governor Grant Sawyer cutting the ribbon; in 1969, the Berkeley Barb published an article by Stew Albert urging residents to build a park on property from which the University of California had demolished homes and then left to deteriorate into a muddy and rubble-filled lot (the following Sunday, using equipment and other materials provided by local merchants, residents cleared the lot and planted trees and grass and installed landscaping, all in a festive atmosphere of music and families); in 1970, William S. Monaham III of Las Vegas died in Quang Nam Province, Vietnam (panel 11w, row 21); in 1996, Governor Robert Miller presided at the dedication of the Nevada Extraterrestrial Highway, aka State Route 375, in a ceremony at Rachel in Lincoln County (one of the guests at the ceremony was the marketing director for 20th Century Fox, which was then producing the movie Independence Day).
UPDATE THURSDAY 4-17-2008, 1:52 a.m. PDT, 08:52 GMT/SUT/CUT
Today's Nevada Newsmakers lineup
KRNV TV-4, 12:30 p.m. PDT
Host: Sam Shad
Co-Host: Scott Craigie
Guest: Tom Cargill, UNR Economics Professor
Pundito Banditos: Dick Gammick, Washoe County District Attorney
Andrew Barbano, Editor, NevadaLabor.com
Mike Hillerby, Executive Vice-President, Wingfield Nevada Group
Barbano and the usual suspects dissect the gambling-industrial complex PR blues machine today on Sam Shad's statewide Nevada Newsmakers TV/Radio/Webcast/Podcast
Tune in, turn on and tell a friend
Click here for statewide TV / Radio re-runs and Webcast/Podcast potentialities
UPDATE THURSDAY 4-17-2008, 12:07 a.m. PDT, 07:07 GMT/SUT/CUT On this date in 1863, an African-American woman named Charlotte Brown was forced off a San Francisco street car by the conductor, ultimately resulting in a court ruling that "It has been already quite too long tolerated by the dominant race to see with indifference the Negro or mulatto treated as a brute, insulted, wronged, enslaved, made to wear a yoke, to tremble before white men, to serve him as a tool, to hold property and life at his will, to surrender to him his intellect and conscience, and to seal his lips and belie his thought through dread of the white man's power" along with an award of $500 ($8329.95 in 2007 dollars) to Brown; in 1878, in a former Russian barrack on Baranof Island in Sitka, Alaska, the Sheldon Jackson School (now Sheldon Jackson College) opened for members of the Tinglit tribe; in 1910, Emma Goldman spoke in Reno's Eagle Hall on "Anarchism and Marriage and Love (free love)"; in 1926, much of Las Vegas appeared at the town's airstrip to greet the first air mail plane to arrive in the city; in 1937, the character of Daffy Duck was introduced in Porky's Duck Hunt; in 1941, Charles Mapes won a primary election at the University of Nevada in the student body president race; in 1959, all Clark County radio and television stations were ordered off the air during the annual "Operation Alert", a cold war exercise (in some cities protestors refused to participate in the alert by taking shelter and were arrested); in 1970 in an appearance at the White House, Johnny Cash, who had encouraged prison inmate Merle Haggard as a songwriter, refused President Nixon's request that he perform Haggard's meanspirited Okie From Muskogee; in 1973, Nixon told aides that he had arranged favored treatment for his political and legal defense contributors (see below); in 1973, Pink Floyd was awarded a gold record for Dark Side of the Moon, the steadiest (14 consecutive years on the Billboard chart), longest-selling album in the history of rock and roll; in 1983, Alice Walker received the Pulitzer Prize for fiction for The Color Purple; in 2002, Governor Kenny Guinn issued a proclamation in Elko, Nevada, commemorating the fifty-millionth troy ounce of gold mined from the Carlin trend (a belt of gold south of Carlin) since its discovery in 1962.
Richard Nixon to H.R. Haldeman and John Ehrlichmann / White House tape / April 17, 1973: Let me ask you this. Legal fees will be substantial but there's a way we can get it to you and, uh, two or three hundred thousand dollars, huh? ... No strain. Doesn't come outta me. I didn't I never intended to use the money at all. As a matter of fact, I told Bebe [Rebozo], basically just be sure that people like uh who have contributed money over the contributing years are, uh, favored and so forth in general. And he's used it for the purpose of getting things out, paid for in check, and all that sort of thing.
UPDATE WEDNESDAY 4-16-2008, 7:08 a.m. PDT, 14:08 GMT/SUT/CUT On this date in 1854, Helen Wiser, who would become Las Vegas community leader Helen Stewart, was born in Springfield, Illinois; in 1862, President Lincoln signed legislation abolishing slavery in the District of Columbia, which unlike his later emancipation proclamation actually had legal effect; in 1875, commenting on the discriminatory rates imposed by the unregulated Central Pacific Railroad on some western communities, the Nevada State Journal commented, "Had they pursued a liberal policy toward the people of Nevada they would be blessed to-day, instead of cursed, as they are."; in 1877, President Hayes reserved land astride the Nevada/Idaho border (now known as the Duck Valley Reservation) to the Western Shoshones; in 1884, the Reno Evening Gazette proposed that Nevada should start publicizing its resources and other virtues in order to attract businesses, and suggested that the next world's fair (the 1884 World's Industrial and Cotton Centennial Exposition in New Orleans) would be a good place to start; in 1916, U.S. Delegate James Wickersham of Alaska and U.S. Senator Key Pittman of Nevada introduced identical bills in the House and Senate to create a Denali National Park in the Mount McKinley region of Alaska; in 1921, miners in Tonopah struck the mines rather than accept a seventy five cent cut in the daily wage rate; in 1926, the Book of the Month Club sent out its first selection, Lolly Willowes, or the Loving Huntsman by Sylvia Townsend Warner; in 1934, Oklahoma Governor William Murray sent national guard troops into eleven counties to put a stop to county foreclosure auctions of tax delinquent properties; in 1934, acting on a tip that John Dillinger was headed to Reno, the Washoe County sheriff and Reno police chief and some of their officers armed themselves with machine guns and other weapons and rushed east out of town ("the posse planned to give no quarter to the outlaw"), the second Dillinger alarm in the county in a week; in 1943, while doing unrelated research, Swiss chemist Albert Hoffman accidentally consumed or absorbed a compound he had created years earlier and discovered the hallucinogenic qualities of that compound, LSD (in 1966 amid hysterical news reports of LSD-caused deformed babies which never materialized a special session of the Nevada Legislature outlawed LSD); in 1947, in remarks at the South Carolina House of Representatives, presidential advisor Bernard Baruch said "Let us not be deceived we are today in the midst of a cold war" the first known time the term had been used to describe postwar tensions; in 1959, Cuban Prime Minister Fidel Castro encountered wildly cheering crowds and less friendly protesters on the first day of his eleven-day tour of the United States; in 1991, Nevada Assemblymember Dawn Gibbons, who had served in her husband Jim's place in the Nevada Legislature while he served in the first anti-Iraq war, resigned when he returned to Nevada; in 1997, the Nevada Assembly approved a resolution recognizing the achievements of African-American mountain man James Beckwourth and urging school districts to teach students about him.
Chemist Albert Hofmann: Last Friday, April 16,1943, I was forced to interrupt my work in the laboratory in the middle of the afternoon and proceed home, being affected by a remarkable restlessness, combined with a slight dizziness. At home I lay down and sank into a not unpleasant intoxicated-like condition, characterized by an extremely stimulated imagination. In a dream-like state, with eyes closed (I found the daylight to be unpleasantly glaring), I perceived an uninterrupted stream of fantastic pictures, extraordinary shapes with intense, kaleidoscopic play of colors. After some two hours this condition faded away.
UPDATE TUESDAY 4-15-2008, 12:03 a.m. PDT, 07:03 GMT/SUT/CUT On this date in 73, the Masada Zealots may have committed mass suicide (there are doubts among archeologists that the incident occurred; it is not mentioned in the Talmud and only Josephus recorded it); in 1879, the Paiute Shoshone of Duck Valley were taking large quantities of fish from the Owyhee River and selling them in the Tuscarora mining boom; in 1903, a letter was published from J. Kruttschnitt, general manager and later president of the Southern Pacific Railroad, in which he said the road would not move its planned shops at the present location of Sparks to a place closer to Reno (as requested by the Washoe legislative delegation); in 1912, the Reno Evening Gazette reported "LINER TITANIC GOES DOWN PASSENGERS ARE SAFE/Twenty Boat Loads of Passengers Transferred to Cunarder No One Lost"; in 1913, the Nevada State Journal reported that the University of Nevada baseball team, to avoid breaking a campus rule against playing on Sundays, played under the name "Nevada Stars" when it played Sunday games; in 1915, alfalfa was six inches high at the cooperative colony in Simpson in Lyon County; in 1927, local police officials in Washoe County were warning people to use extra care with their cars and homes because the Transcontinental Highway Exposition in Reno would probably bring "ne'er do wells, petty thieves, hop-heads, and wanderers"; in 1936, Price Johnson, serving time in an Arizona prison for polygamy (technically "open and notorious cohabitation") told the Associated Press that his cult was making plans for a polygamous community at Short Creek on the Arizona/Utah border (the community now Hildale, Utah, and Colorado City, Arizona still exists and is a reclusive community in chronic conflict with officialdom); in 1936, President Roosevelt signed legislation for a moratorium on debts owed by reclamation farmers and Native American irrigation projects to the federal government; in 1954, the income tax deadline was April 15 for the first time (it was initially on March 1, then March 15); in 1959, just weeks after the triumph of the revolution, Fidel Castro visited the United States to speak to the Council on Foreign Affairs and was snubbed by President Eisenhower; in 1965, the Nevada Gambling Control Board began an effort to strip extortionist Ruby Kolod of his interests in the Desert Inn and Stardust in Las Vegas; in 1968, as presidential candidate Robert Kennedy's motorcade moved through Gary, Indiana, streets lined with excited crowds, two small children (a boy about ten, a girl about four) were being crushed against Kennedy's car so a security man pulled them in, and they sat through the rest of the parade on either side of the senator, who then drove them home and was served iced tea by their mother; in 1972, ground was broken for construction of the MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas; in 1995, Fresno radio station KMJ weathercaster Sean Boyd was fired after he declined the station manager's request to change the forecast for the day's Rush Limbaugh picnic sponsored by the station from partly cloudy to partly sunny (it rained).
From Dennis Myers: Since this is income tax filing day, I thought I'd include in today's almanac some information about what things were like in the first filing year of 1913. Donald Barlett and James Steele have written "The tax owes its existence to neither major political party but rather to the populist and third party movement that flourished at the turn of the century, a time of sweeping social and economic change. Critics challenged the unbridled power of the business trusts which controlled everything from beef to oil, from sugar to lead. Muckrakers exposed greed and corruption in powerful monopolies and political machines." It took a constitutional amendment to get an income tax, which was intended to be a progressive tax. In that first year it certainly was ONLY the wealthy paid it. Anyone with an income of $4,000 a year or less (equivalent to $58,000 in 1993 dollars) was exempt. They didn't even have to file a return. At the time, nearly all families had an income of less than a thousand dollars a year. The entire income tax was paid by two percent of the population. The endless exemptions, indexing, deferrals, loopholes and so on that drained the progressiveness from the system were still in the future.
UPDATE MONDAY 4-14-2008, 12:23 a.m. PDT, 07:23 GMT/SUT/CUT On this date in 1877, the Sierra Nevada Coal Company began mining a coal in Verdi; in 1898, California Governor James Budd made known his unhappiness with the decision of Nevada Governor Reinhold Sadler to continue a quarantine of cattle entering the state unless they are traveling through by rail; in 1903, Mathilda Youngquist, a Swede long thought to have died in an Indian raid when she was a child, was found alive and widowed living among the Indians of Montana, identified by a ring she still wore bearing her name; in 1912, the Titanic hit an iceberg and began to sink, and in Reno a man waiting for his wife to join him in Reno so they could divorce departed for New York where he located her among the survivors and they reconciled; in 1925, Fallon farmers said that after a year of experimenting with new breeds, they would drop the "Heart of Gold" cantaloupe in favor of a strain called the "H.B" cantaloupe that showed it would ship better (half the 1924 harvest of "Hearts of Gold" had been discarded); in 1934, the Reno Evening Gazette reported that a nudist club would open on Spanish Spring Flat on April 28; in 1939, The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck was published; in 1942, the Nevada State Journal editorialized in support of establishment of a navy training center at Pyramid Lake; in 1955, Ain't That A Shame by Fats Domino was released; in 1956, an old telephone operator's switchboard used in Paradise Valley starting in 1919 was donated by Bell of Nevada to the Nevada Historical Society; in 1969, The Beatles' The Ballad of John and Yoko was recorded at Abbey Road; in 2003, a large crowd demanding higher taxes gathered in front of the Nevada Capitol.
UPDATE SUNDAY 4-13-2008, 8:31 p.m. PDT, 03:31 4-14-2008 GMT/SUT/CUT On this date in 1534, Sir Thomas More refused to sign the Oath of Supremacy (displacing the Pope as head of the English church and installing Henry VIII) and the Act of Succession (placing the children of Henry and Anne Boleyn in the royal line of succession), an act for which he was imprisoned in the Tower of London, convicted of treason and beheaded; in 1776, the North Carolina Provincial Congress approved the Halifax Resolves, authorizing the colony's delegates at the Continental Congress to support independence, the first official call for independence among the colonies; in 1829, at a Jefferson Day dinner at Jess Brown's Indian Queen Hotel in Washington, President Jackson and Vice-President Calhoun made dramatic competing toasts that made clear the finality of the breach between them and foreshadowed the bitter political divisions of the civil war (Jackson: "Our Union it must be preserved"; Calhoun: "The Union next to our liberty the most dear"); in 1866, Robert Parker, later known as Butch Cassidy, was born in Beaver, Utah Territory; in 1909, the City of Reno, which was seeking grade crossings at east Second Street and (on the south side of the river) at the approach to the new Second and Scott streets bridge but had been refused by the Virginia and Truckee Railroad, agreed to drop its lawsuit against the railroad when the V&T agreed to the crossings (for which the city paid $4,875); in 1921, a group of 200 prominent citizens signed a letter calling for amnesty for imprisoned victims of the Wilson administration's political use of the Espionage Act, and a group that included Booth Tarkington and Norman Thomas met with President Harding to urge amnesty (Harding told the group he would wait until Congress ended the war, and he later amnestied many political prisoners and invited one of them, Eugene Debs, to the White House to shake his hand); in 1927, the tourist season was adjudged well underway with the Deer Park camp ground in Sparks already filled with auto tourists, and officials preparing for the Transcontinental Highway Exposition in Reno were taking an inventory of hotel rooms and camp ground spaces; in 1932, it was announced that Nevada Catholic Bishop Thomas Jenkins was on a tour of the state, with stops including a confirmation service at Pyramid Lake; in 1934, Beacon Rock, a striking monolithic formation that shoots up out of the ground on north shore of the Columbia River and was mentioned in the Lewis and Clark journals, was offered to the United States government as a national monument (it was declined and is now a Washington state park; in 1934, Henry Clapp, a key figure in the 1927 state treasury scandal (State Treasurer Ed Malley and former state controller George Cole removed money from the treasury and invested it in oil stocks and bank cashier Clapp provided checks to artificially cover the missing funds during audits) died at Washoe General Hospital; in 1943, President Franklin Roosevelt presided over the dedication of the Jefferson Memorial; in 1959, members of the Building and Construction Trades Union walked off the job at the Nevada Test Site, surprising officers of the union; in 1961, Native American leaders representing tribes in Utah, California and Reno met with Kennedy administration officials at Reno's state building on proposals for reform of the Bureau of Indian Affairs; in 1966, with Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., under attack from other African-American leaders for his stand against the Vietnam war, his colleagues in the Southern Christian Leadership Conference joined him, calling for the U.S. to stop hampering the efforts of south Vietnamese reformers, to "desist from aiding the military junta against the Buddhists, Catholics, and students, whose efforts to democratize their government are more in consonance with our traditions than the policy of the military oligarchy"; in 1981, Washington Post reporter Janet Cooke was awarded a Pulitzer Prize for her false story about a six-year-old heroin addict; in 1990, the Gorbachev government admitted Soviet responsibility for the massacre of 22,000 Poles in the Katyn Forest in 1943 and later turned archives on the massacre over to Polish President Walesa (the massacred included a substantial portion of Poland's most educated scientists, physicians, businesspeople, attorneys, who had all been called up from the reserves); in 2003, massive street protests restored Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez to office after a momentarily successful Bush administration-supported coup; in 2006 in a Wall Street Journal survey of 46 economists, 44 said the presence in the United States of illegal immigrants was a net gain to the U.S. economy.
UPDATE SATURDAY 4-12-2008, 10:51 a.m. PDT, 17:51 GMT/SUT/CUT
Edward R. Murrow: Who owns the patent on this vaccine?
Jonas Salk: Well, the people, I would say. There is no patent. Could you patent the sun?
See It Now / April 12, 1955
On this date in 1204, Christian soldiers of the fourth crusade attacked Constantinople, destroying any prospect of reunifying eastern and western Christians; in 1861, the U.S. civil war began; in 1865, Central Pacific Railroad lawyer Edwin Crocker wrote a letter to U.S. Rep. Cornelius Cole telling him the railroad had begun hiring Chinese labor as the construction neared the Sierra because white men were hard to obtain and because the Chinese "prove nearly equal to white men, in the amount of labor they perform, and are far more reliable"; in 1883, Indian Agent John Mayhugh said there were about six hundred Indians on the Duck Valley reservation astride the Nevada/Idaho border north of Elko, that there was no chance of their joining any hostilities against whites, and that grain and vegetables on the reservation had been planted (in January, Mayhugh had reported a population of 300); in 1907, an official of the Southern Pacific Railroad announced that the road would build a new two-story depot in Reno and that it would sell off 14,000 acres of irrigated land in Fallon and establish an agricultural experiment station there; in 1919, amateur radio broadcasting at the University of Nevada, suspended during World War One, resumed; in 1926, Las Vegans turned out to see test runs of five Douglas M-2 biplanes (a mail plane version of the Douglas 0-2 observation plane produced for the army) that would be used on a 660-mile Los Angeles-Las Vegas-Salt Lake mail run; in 1939, President Franklin Roosevelt revoked one 1932 executive order issued by President Hoover and partially revoked a second one, both of which withdrew public land in Nevada and California from public use; in 1945, Franklin Roosevelt died; in 1955, on the decade anniversary of FDR's death, the successful development of a polio vaccine was announced, spurring world wide rejoicing (though private enterprisers and McCarthyites were displeased when Salk announced he would not patent the vaccine, making it available to anyone); in 1965, the Franklin D. Roosevelt memorial in the nation's capital a simple and unembellished desk-size marble block at Ninth Street and Pennsylvania Avenue in front of the National Archives building, just as he had wanted was dedicated on the twentieth anniversary of his death, also as he had asked; in 1971, Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young's album Four Way Street went gold literally within hours of its release; in 1999, U.S. District Judge Susan Webber Wright found President Bill Clinton in civil contempt of court Monday for his "willful failure" to testify truthfully in the Paula Jones sexual harassment lawsuit; in 2001, U.S. Sens. Clinton and Reid heard testimony at Fallon, Nevada, on the alleged leukemia "cluster" in the town.
UPDATE FRIDAY 4-11-2008, 11:51 a.m. PDT, 18:51 GMT/SUT/CUT On this date in 1811, Samuel Austin, minister at the First Congregational Church in Worcester, Massachusetts, preached a sermon complaining about the secular nature of the United States Constitution: "However sagaciously devised and balanced our National Constitution of government may be, in a mere political view, it has one capital defect which will issue inevitably in its destruction. It is entirely disconnected from Christianity. It is not founded on the Christian religion. Not a single word respecting God or religion is to be found in the original Constitution, save that an oath or affirmation is required of officers of government." (A movement was launched under the American Reform Association to put the name of Jesus into the Constitution, and at times it came close to succeeding, but in the end the document's secular nature was preserved); in 1880, a Grand Council of the Washo tribe asked state and federal officials to stop the destruction of the pine nut trees, source of food for the tribe; in 1940, Soviet troops completed the four-day massacre of 26,000 Polish soldiers in Russia's Katyn Forest; in 1951, after U.S. House Republican floor leader Joseph Martin claimed that President Truman had failed to deploy a (mostly nonexistent) 800,000-person Formosan army in the Korean war and produced a letter from General MacArthur in support of the allegation, President Truman fired General MacArthur; in 1964, at an inter-tribal meeting being held outside the authority of the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs, Native Americans from seven states meeting in Reno criticized the bureau and asked for public understanding of their problems; in 1969, The Beatles and Billy Preston's Get Back b/w Don't Let Me Down was released in Britain on the Apple label; in 1981, Valerie Bertinelli and Eddie Van Halen married; in 2001 in a snow storm, Governor Kenny Guinn cut the ribbon to open the door of the new north annex (a former bank building) of the Nevada State Museum in Carson City.
UPDATE THURSDAY 4-10-2008, 6:02 a.m. PDT, 13:02 GMT/SUT/CUT
Washoe Med: Renowned for Ripping Us Off
Inhospitable Reno hospital terrorizes its nurses for daring to picket for an hour. Barbwire Special Web Edition 4-10-2008 Take it to the streets today!
George W. Bush / April 10, 2002: It would be a mistake for the United States Senate to allow any kind of human cloning to come out of that chamber.
On April 10, 1729, the American Weekly Mercury advertised for sale "An Indian woman and her child...She washes, irons and starches very well, and is a good cook"; in 1896, Nevada Governor John Jones died and Lieutenant Governor Reinhold Sadler became acting governor; in 1905, there were press reports that the Union Pacific Railroad was planning to use the $100,000,000 raised by a new stock issue to drive a tunnel through the Sierra; in 1930, Chicana farm workers leader Delores Huerta was born in Dawson, New Mexico; in 1933, the U.S. Civilian Conservation Corps was created; in 1942, the notorious forced march of Filipino and U.S. soldiers now known as the Bataan death march began; in 1945 at a time when Nazi "scientists" were conducting vicious experiments on human subjects, in the United States, unknowing African-American traffic accident victim Ebb Cade (a cement worker) was injected with plutonium by the medical staff of the U.S. Army Manhattan Engineer District Hospital in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, the first of at least 18 such experiments on unwitting human subjects by U.S. government "scientists"; in 1959, members of the Clark County liquor licensing board heard testimony that the situation of women serving as bartenders was "getting worse" and they voted to oppose women as bartenders and instructed attorney George Foley to come up with a recommendation for controlling the "problem"; in 1962, Beatle Stuart Sutcliffe died in Hamburg at age 22; in 1996, after Congress refused to include an exception to save the life of the woman in its provisions, President Clinton vetoed a ban on late term abortion while surrounded by five women whose physicians had advised the procedure to save their lives (the lay Catholic magazine Commonweal called them "weeping women"); in 2007, Nevada Governor Jim Gibbons was given the daily "worst person in world" award by MSNBC's Keith Olbermann for claiming without evidence that he had "heard" that a damaging Wall Street Journal investigation of his conduct was paid for by Democrats (Gibbons was already a worst person laureate, having won previously on October 24 2006 while a member of the U.S. House).
UPDATE WEDNESDAY 4-9-2008, 12:31 a.m. PDT, 07:31 GMT/SUT/CUT On this date in 1872, President Grant established the Colville Reservation of millions of acres of the eleven Confederated Tribes original aboriginal territory filled with mountains, rivers, streams, minerals and grass lands (three months later under pressure from whites, Grant revoked his order and issued a new one now reserving only three million acres in a less desirable area); in 1898, Douglas County Sheriff John Breckliss was found not guilty of allowing the lynching of Adam Uber, after which it was discovered that three of the jurors had posted bail for the sheriff, prompting the judge to say nothing could be done because once acquitted Breckliss could not be tried again; in 1905, a Nevada council of the Knights of Columbus was organized in Reno, putting Knights chapters into all 45 states; in 1914, after the Mexican government issued a written apology for a minor incident involving U.S. sailors, a U.S. ship demanded that Mexican officials also salute the U.S. flag on Mexican soil, and when Mexico refused, Woodrow Wilson launched an invasion of the country at Vera Cruz; in 1920, the Congress of another Latin American nation supposedly "protected" by the Monroe Doctrine, El Salvador, voted to reject the doctrine and join with other regional nations to set up a court of arbitration from which the U.S. would be excluded; in 1920, Nevada Attorney General Leonard Fowler said he would go to court to overturn actress and United Artists executive Mary Pickford's Douglas County divorce on grounds of fraud and collusion, an action that could destabilize the state's divorce industry and make Pickford who had married Douglas Fairbanks three weeks after her divorce from Owen Moore a bigamist; in 1940, First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt departed Reno by train after a visit during which she stayed at the Riverside Hotel and gave a lecture (sponsored by the UNR Beta Kappa fraternity chapter) before 1,300 Nevadans at the civic auditorium; in 1956, Nat King Cole was beaten by a group of white men in Birmingham, Alabama; in 1959, three years after the rules were changed to prevent women from becoming astronauts, the first seven U.S. astronauts were named all white males (in 1963, aeronautical engineer and air force test pilot Ed Dwight became the first African-American astronaut candidate, but he was harassed and threatened into quitting two years later); in 1964, Vee Jay Records and Capitol Records reached an out of court settlement in their legal battle over release of Beatles recordings in the United States; in 1965 in remarks in Las Vegas, right-wing commentator Paul Harvey advocated obliterating north Vietnam as a way of winning the U.S. war: "there'd be no north Vietnam left"; in 1995, 100,000 marched in Washington D.C. to oppose violence against women; in 2004, bassoonist Jody Marie Olsen performed at Carnegie Hall in her Duncanville High School Band; in 2005, Ken Bode was inducted into the Indiana Journalism Hall of Fame.
UPDATE TUESDAY 4-8-2008, 7:57 a.m. PDT, 14:57 GMT/SUT/CUT On this date in 463 BC, Buddha was born in Nepal; in 1513, Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de Leon claimed Florida (like Al Gore's, his claim did not stick); in 1897, a jury was named in the Dayton trial of a man named Logan for the murder of a Piute named Jim King, and Native Americans were crowding into the town; in 1907, the Southern Pacific Railroad's shutdown of its Ogden shops meant the Sparks shops would have an influx of new workers, who however would lose their seniority rights in the transfer; in 1912, Illinois held its first presidential primary election (previously, only general elections could be stolen in the state); in 1912, as seventeen Washoe residents were sworn in as county grand jurors, expected to investigate illicit liquor trafficking, the Reno Evening Gazette reported on what it claimed was the sale by saloons of "beer and other intoxicants to women in the [tenderloin] district who serve this liquor to young boys and teach them to be drunkards which may hereafter result in their ruin."; in 1943, a wartime Rumor Clinic started in Reno by the Junior Chamber of Commerce was made a civil defense agency; in 1944 in Auschwitz, Rabbi Mosze Friedman confronted and denounced an SS officer, telling him the death of each innocent Jew would be expensive for the Nazis, that the Jews would survive eternally but Naziism would be destroyed: "Our blood will rest...And your animal blood will destroy itself"; in 1959, the Elko County Commission approved "Jackpot" as the name for a town on the Nevada/Utah border; in 1960, Elvis is Back, the first album after his army discharge, was released by RCA, representing a huge array of talent Chet Atkins was a producer, Floyd Cramer played piano, Boots Randolph played sax on Reconsider Baby, songwriters included Otis Blackwell and Lieber and Stoller (1999 and 2005 reissues of the album were expanded to include more, and poorer, songs, including the execrable It's Now or Never); in 1965, President Johnson tried a new tack at winning the Vietnam war bribery, by offering the Vietnamese billions of dollars to begin negotiations (but he conditioned the offer on the exclusion from negotiations of the National Liberation Front, thus assuring no acceptance of the offer); in 1973, Picasso died in France; in 2002, New York State Supreme Court Justice Martin Schoenfeld, acting on a petition from New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer filed under a little-known 1921 law, ordered Merrill Lynch to disclose in its stock reports whether a company is a client or a prospective client, infuriating Merrill Lynch executives and producing a major success in Spitzer's unusual state effort to crack down on corporate conduct in an era when the Clinton and Bush administrations were keeping hands off business ("Critics of state action overlook the absence of federal action that made the Merrill Lynch investigation and reforms necessary," Spitzer later told Congress).
UPDATE MONDAY 4-7-2008, 3:10 a.m. PDT, 10:10 GMT/SUT/CUT On this date in 1712, the first known slave rebellion in the new world began when the New York City home of Peter Van Tilburgh was torched as a signal for a revolt, during which nine whites were killed, followed by the suppression of the rebellion and execution of 13 blacks; in 1850, the mining district of Rough and Ready in California adopted a constitution, elected a president, and formed the Great Republic of Rough and Ready; in 1907, Abe and Amy Cohn returned to Carson City from a selling trip along the Pacific coast for the basketry of renowned weaver Dat-so-la-lee of the Washo tribe; in 1915, Billie Holliday was born in Baltimore; in 1918, British munitions minister Winston Churchill proposed a plan to the British cabinet under which the U.S., France, and England aid the Russian Bolsheviks to secure their power in exchange for Russia re-entering the war against Germany; in 1919 in Paris, the founding meeting was held of the American Legion, quickly becoming known for strikebreaking, anti-immigrant activity, support for fascism and competition with the revived Ku Klux Klan for members; in 1927, a speech by U.S. Commerce Secretary Herbert Hoover in D.C. was telecast to New York City, the first simultaneous broadcast of audio and video; in 1934, a Chicago architect was in Owyhee to prepare for a $75,000 hospital on the Duck Valley tribal reservation; in 1949, during a debate at United Nations headquarters in Lake Success on prosecution of Cardinal Jozsef Mindszenty and other Hungarian clergy, Soviet delegate Jacob Malik said the lynching of African-Americans and plight of Native Americans left the U.S. with no standing to find fault with communist regimes; in 1958, Twilight Time by The Platters was released; in 1959, a Teamsters official announced to the Clark County Fair and Recreation Board that the operating engineers at the Las Vegas convention center had unionized and asked for a union contract; in 1961, President Kennedy sent a message to Congress proposing that the United States join the international campaign to save the historic ancient Egyptian sites endangered by the construction of the Aswan High Dam; in 1965, Las Vegas casino figures Ruby Kolod, Willie Alderman and Felix Alderisio were convicted in Denver of extortion; in 2004, after an investigation by New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer, eighteen people were arrested on charges that they ran a high class call girl ring; in 2004 in Salt Lake City, a delegation of Illinois officials delivered a formal apology to Mormon Church officials for the 1846 expulsion of church members from Illinois and the 1844 assassination of church founder Joseph Smith in Nauvoo, Illinois.
UPDATE SUNDAY 4-6-2008, 3:10 a.m. PDT, 10:10 GMT/SUT/CUT
Who's on Worst?
Nurses organize, governor Hooverized, regents piratize
Is anybody running this show?
UPDATE SATURDAY 4-5-2008, 6:47 a.m. PDT, 13:47 GMT/SUT/CUT On this date in 1208, Quetzalcoatl died; in 1883, the Carson Index editorialized "Here and there the signs are visible which indicate that it will not be long before Nevada will enter upon a new career of prosperity. The time is not far distant when mining as a wide spread and successful industry will give fresh life and vigor to the Silver State. This time it will be comparatively permanent and less subject to the fluctuations of the stock market."; in 1907, the ferry across the Carson River at Brunswick was completed and put into use; in 1909, at a hearing in the Nebraska governor's office, former governor W.A. Poynter made a temperance speech in favor of a bill limiting the sale of liquor during daylight hours, then dropped dead; in 1911, U.S. Rep. Victor Berger of Wisconsin demanded the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Mexico, where they were interfering in the revolution; in 1923, Arthur Conan Doyle, author of The Lost World and the Sherlock Holmes stories who was in the U.S. to lecture on spiritualism, opined that archeologist Howard Carter had died on March 2d because of "an evil elemental" loosed by Egyptian occultism or the spirit of Tutankhamen; (Lord Carnarvon, the sponsor of the Tut expedition, cooperatively died the next day, April 6); in 1927, the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce's committee on expositions held a meeting to plan for business exhibits at the Transcontinental Highway Exposition in Reno; in 1934, Lithuania, Estonia, Latvia and Russia renewed their non-aggression treaties for another ten years; in 1934, California regulators received a petition from J.P. Thomas asking that he be allowed to abandon the telephone exchange at Kenny in Humboldt County because (1) a fire 13 years earlier had destroyed all the line leading to the exchange, (2) all the equipment was stolen after the fire, (3) no one lived in Kenny anymore; in 1956, after he wrote columns critical of mob influence in labor unions, columnist Victor Riesel was blinded by acid thrown in his face by an unknown attacker; in 1987, in an apparent effort to lower the U.S. intelligence level, the Fox television network began operating; in 1988, Arizona Secretary of State Rose Mofford became governor after Governor Evan Mecham was impeached, tried, convicted and removed from office.
Reese River Reveille / April 5, 1864: We see that this luxury of Nevada is appreciated in the lower country, as they are advertised in the Bay papers as a new thing, and that Aurora is doing a good business in shipping them. Pine nuts are certainly a new thing to the American people, and...an excellent thing they are too, in the absence of the many varieties of fruits and nuts we were formerly accustomed to. The Indians do a good business here in selling them.
UPDATE FRIDAY 4-4-2008, 3:40 p.m. PDT, 22:40 GMT/SUT/CUT
Remembering Martin Luther King, Jr., by forgetting him
Since Rev. King was murdered, we have, as one of his biographers put it, engaged in remembering him by forgetting him. All the safe manifestations of his legacy particularly the "I have a dream" speech have been endlessly substituted for his real meaning. His harsh criticisms of indifference toward class divisions and the working poor ("The poverty of the poor in America is more frustrating than the poverty of Africa and Asia. The misery of the poor in Africa and Asia is shared misery ") and of the U.S. government ("the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today") have been cored out of the King who is taught in our schools. Read the full Reno News & Review editorial from April 3, 2008
UPDATE FRIDAY 4-4-2008, 12:45 a.m. PDT, 07:45 GMT/SUT/CUT
Robert Kennedy / April 5, 1968 / remarks in Cleveland on the death of Martin Luther King, Jr.: Whenever any American's life is taken by another American unnecessarily whether it is done in the name of the law or in the defiance of the law, by one man or a gang, in cold blood or in passion, in an attack of violence or in response to violence whenever we tear at the fabric of the life which another man has painfully and clumsily woven for himself and his children, the whole nation is degraded...Too often we honor swagger and bluster and wielders of force; too often we excuse those who are willing to build their own lives on the shattered dreams of others. Some Americans who preach non-violence abroad fail to practice it here at home. Some who accuse others of inciting riots have by their own conduct invited them. Some look for scapegoats, others look for conspiracies, but this much is clear: violence breeds violence, repression brings retaliation, and only a cleansing of our whole society can remove this sickness from our soul. For there is another kind of violence, slower but just as deadly destructive as the shot or the bomb in the night. This is the violence of institutions; indifference and inaction and slow decay. This is the violence that afflicts the poor, that poisons relations between men because their skin has different colors. This is the slow destruction of a child by hunger, and schools without books and homes without heat in the winter. This is the breaking of a man's spirit by denying him the chance to stand as a father and as a man among other men. And this too afflicts us all.
Three days of commemorating King in Reno, April 4-6, 2008
On April 4, 1841, John Tyler became the first vice-president to succeed a dead president, and he asserted the right to become president instead of acting president (no one could lay their hands on the constitutional debates at the time, but years later the debates surfaced and proved Tyler wrong); in 1907, a document was circulating among Carson City businesspeople in which signers pledged not to hire members of the Industrial Workers of the World; in 1918, Robert Praeger, a U.S. citizen of German descent who tried to enlist in the navy was wrapped and bound in a U.S. flag and lynched by a St. Louis mob (the leaders of the mob were acquitted by a jury); in 1934, the seven members of Congress who voted against the declaration of war in World War One and were still in office said the results and aftermath of the war reinforced their belief that entry into the war was a mistake (Nevada's congressmember, Edwin Roberts, who voted against war, was no longer in Congress), and also on this day in 1934, former U.S. Representative Jeanette Rankin of Montana, who also voted against war in 1918, testified in Washington for a proposed constitutional amendment requiring a popular vote before U.S. troops could be sent outside the nation to wage a war; in 1944, the Allies succeeded in taking an aeriel photograph of Auschwitz, providing additional data for an Allied bombing run that would have put the death camp out of business, an effort the Allied leaders chose not to undertake; in 1955, the New Frontier hotel/casino opened in Las Vegas; in 1958, fourteen year-old Cheryl Crane, daughter of actress Lana Turner, stabbed and killed mobster John Stompanato, who had been known to severely batter and abuse Turner, a crime that was subsequently ruled justifiable homicide by a coroner's jury; in 1960, RCA released Elvis' Stuck On You b/w Fame and Fortune, the first single released in mono and stereo versions; in 1965, Las Vegas Review-Journal columnist Forrest Duke dissed the dramatization of The Green Felt Jungle on NBC's Kraft Suspense Theatre as "laughable" and "almost as big a dud as" the best selling book on which it was based (the network wimped out on naming Las Vegas, calling it "Los Ramos"); in 1967, Martin Luther King spoke against the Vietnam war at Riverside Church in New York City; in 1968, Martin Luther King was assassinated at age 39 while campaigning in support of striking trash collectors; in 1985, Congress refused to grant support to Nicaraguan contras, but President Reagan provided it secretly and illegally anyway; in 2002, George Bush demanded that Israel halt invasions of Palestinian territory, in response to which Israel increased the incursions.
UPDATE THURSDAY 4-3-2008, 12:08 a.m. PDT, 07:08 GMT/SUT/CUT
Martin Luther King Jr. / April 3d 1968: Like anybody, I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place. But I'm not concerned about that now.
On this date in 1882, with a congressionally enacted bill excluding Chinese from the country for ten years and prohibiting them from becoming citizens on President Arthur's desk for signature, "Will Arthur Sign It?" was the guessing game of the hour (Arthur had vetoed a previous anti-Chinese measure); in 1886, the Reno Evening Gazette editorialized that a recently opened steam laundry for whites (people, not linens) would be a test of whether white residents were willing to drop their patronage of Chinese laundries; in 1908 in the Nevada mining camp of Rawhide, former Methodist minister Herman Knickerbocker gave a eulogy for saloon/casino owner Rusty Grannan which was taken down in shorthand by a California reporter and subsequently published, becoming a sensation (see below); in 1923 in Augusta, President Harding's staff said he would undertake a western tour during which he would talk about the World Court, a tour from which he would not return alive; in 1934 in Indiana, a deputy sheriff and a jail worker were indicted and a judge was criticized by the Lake County grand jury as a result of John Dillinger's wooden gun escape from the Crown Point jail; in 1941, the El Rancho Hotel Casino opened on Highway 91 south of Las Vegas, the start of the "Strip"; in 1954, eight Republican and Democratic congressional leaders, summoned to the Pentagon, were briefed by Secretary of State John Foster Dulles and Joint Chiefs of Staff chair Arthur Radford on a plan for a massive conventional and nuclear U.S. intervention into the Indochina war on the side of the French, but after two hours of sharp and skeptical questioning by the congressmembers that failed to answer questions about preparations and implications of military action, Dulles was told by all eight congressmembers that he would have no support unless he could line up other nations to back the action (after three weeks, the Eisenhower administration was unable to find allied support, and so war was averted); in 1954, a UAW strike of Kohler Kitchen and Bath began, lasting six years and ending in a National Labor Relations Board finding and fine against Kohler; in 1960 at a dusk to dawn Nashville recording session a month after his army discharge, Elvis recorded some of his best songs (Reconsider Baby, Such a Night) and his worst (It's Now Or Never); in 1965, the Nevada Senate defeated a casino entertainment tax on a 10 to 7 vote and later in the day reversed itself and voted for the tax on a 9 to 8 vote; in 1965, a committee of southern Nevada educators was formed to push for a gambling tax hike; in 1965, two state legislators blasted Dunes casino owner Major Riddle for blocking a gambling tax increase; in 1968 at Mason Temple in Memphis on the eve of his death, Martin Luther King spoke powerfully of his willingness to die; in 1980, the U.S. government reinstated federal recognition of the Utah Paiutes that had been dropped 26 years earlier (no word on whether the Paiutes returned the favor); in 1990, Sarah Vaughn died in Los Angeles; in 2002, NBC's West Wing aired an episode about a transportation accident involving nuclear waste which freaked out nuclear power industry lobbyists and pleased environmentalists and Nevada officials trying to fight the establishment of a dump for nuclear wastes at Yucca Mountain in Nye County (U.S. Senator John Ensign of Nevada: "This could be very helpful")
Herman Knickerbocker / funeral oration for Riley Grannan / Rawhide, Nevada / April 3d 1908: I feel that it is incumbent upon me to state that in standing here I occupy no ministerial or prelatic position. I am simply a prospector. I make no claims whatever to moral merit or to religion except the religion of humanity, the brotherhood of man. I stand among you today simply as a man among men, feeling that I can shake hands and say brother to the vilest man or woman that ever lived. If there should come to you anything of moral admonition through what I may say, it comes not from any sense of moral superiority, but from the depth of my experience. Riley Grannan was born in Paris, Kentucky, about 40 years ago. I suppose he dreamed all the dreams of boyhood. They blossomed into phenomenal success along financial lines at times during his life. I am told that from the position of a bell boy in a hotel he rose rapidly to be a celebrity of world-wide fame. He was one of the greatest plungers, probably, that the continent has ever produced. He died day before yesterday in Rawhide. This is a very brief statement. You have the birth and the period of the grave. Who can fill the interim? Who can speak of his hopes and fears? Who can solve the mystery of his quiet hours that only himself knew? I cannot. He was born in the sunny Southland, in Kentucky. He died in Rawhide. Here is the beginning and the end. I wonder if we can see in this a picture of what Ingersoll said at the grave of his brother: "Whether it be near the shore or in mid-ocean or among the breakers, at the last a wreck must mark the end of one and all."
UPDATE WEDNESDAY 4-2-2008, 09:26 a.m. PDT, 16:26 GMT/SUT/CUT On this date in 1513, according to anglocentric history, Ponce de Leon "discovered" Florida (it was right where its inhabitants thought it was all along); in 1798, James Madison wrote to Thomas Jefferson in alarm (see below) over President John Adams' intruding on Congress' war making power; in 1865, with furious and bloody fighting still continuing, Confederate General Robert Lee sent a wire ("It is absolutely necessary that we should abandon our position tonight, or run the risk of being cut off in the morning") to President Davis, who with members of his government abandoned Richmond and moved south; in 1870, Victoria Woodhull became the first woman nominated for the presidency of the United States; in 1872, the U.S. Senate committee on public lands favorably reported President Grant's nomination of John Mayhugh of Nevada to be registrar of the Elko land office to the Senate, which confirmed the nomination; in 1886, a ball was held in Reno to honor the anti-Chinese movement and celebrate the opening of the Reno Steam Laundry Association building, built to serve whites; in 1902, Butch Cassidy applied for a section of government land in the Argentine province of Chubut near Cholilo; in 1941, Rashid Ali overthrew the British-friendly government of Iraq and Hitler sent arms from Vichy-occupied Syria to aid the new government (the British, fearing a disruption of oil flow, reoccupied Iraq until 1947); in 1951, University of Nevada President Malcolm Love was in Las Vegas for a round of public appearances during which he was expected to talk about plans to start college classes in Las Vegas during the fall semester; in 1959, after lawmakers carved $1.5 million out of Governor Sawyer's budget but still faced pleas from cities and counties, Clark County Senator Mahlon Brown said that because of casino opposition to any increase in gambling taxes he was looking at tax increases on beer and cigarettes to aid the municipalities; in 1965, after 101 years of state government history, Nevada got around to creating a Nevada State Archives; in 1968, a Petula Clark television special was, um, blacked out by some NBC affiliates because the blond and white Clark touched African-American singer Harry Belafonte on the forearm; in 1971, Ringo's It Don't Come Easy was released; in 2002, Israeli tanks invaded Bethlehem and Palestinians sought refuge in the Church of the Nativity, barricading themselves inside and holding the church during a long siege.
James Madison to Thomas Jefferson / April 2d 1798: The President's message is only a further development to the public, of the violent passions, & heretical politics, which have been long privately known to govern him. It is to be hoped however that the H. of Rep will not hastily eccho them. At least it may be expected that before war measures are instituted, they will recollect the principle asserted by 62 vs. 37, in the case of the Treaty, and insist on a full communication of the intelligence on which such measures are recommended. The present is a plainer, if it be not a stronger case, and if there has been sufficient defection to destroy the majority which was then so great & so decided, it is the worst symptom that has yet appeared in our Councils. The constitution supposes, what the History of all Govts demonstrates, that the Ex. is the branch of power most interested in war, & most prone to it. It has accordingly with studied care, vested the question of war in the Legisl. But the Doctrines lately advanced strike at the root of all these provisions, and will deposit the peace of the Country in that Department which the Constitution distrusts as most ready without cause to renounce it. For if the opinion of the P. not the facts & proofs themselves are to sway the judgment of Congress, in declaring war, and if the President in the recess of Congrs. create a foreign mission, appt. the minister, & negociate a War Treaty, without the possibility of a check even from the Senate, untill the measures present alternatives overruling the freedom of its judgment; if again a Treaty when made obliges the Legis. to declare war contrary to its judgment, and in pursuance of the same doctrine, a law declaring war, imposes a like moral obligation, to grant the requisite supplies until it be formally repealed with the consent of the P. & Senate, it is evident that the people are cheated out of the best ingredients in their Govt., the safeguards of peace which is the greatest of their blessings. I like both your suggestions in the present crisis. Congress ought clearly to prohibit arming, & the P. ought to be brought to declare on what ground he undertook to grant an indirect licence to arm. The first instructions were no otherwise legal than as they were in pursuance of the law of Nations, & consequently in execution of the law of the land. The revocation of the instructions is a virtual change of the law, & consequently a usurpation by the Ex. of a legislative power. It will not avail to say that the law of Nations leaves this point undecided, & that every nation is free to decide it for itself. If this be the case, the regulation being a Legislative not an Executive one, belongs to the former, not the latter Authority; and comes expressly within the power, "to define the law of Nations," given to Congress by the Constitution. I do not expect however that the Constitutional party in the H. of R. is strong eno- to do what ought to be done in the present instance. Your 2d idea that an adjournment for the purpose of consulting the constituents on the subject of war, is more practicable because it can be effected by that branch alone if it pleases, & because an opposition to such a measure will be more striking to the public eye. The expedient is the more desirable as it will be utterly impossible to call forth the sense of the people generally before the season will be over, especially as the Towns, &c., where there can be most despatch in such an operation are on the wrong side, and it is to be feared that a partial expression of the public voice, may be misconstrued or miscalled, an evidence in favor of the war party. On what do you ground the idea that a decln of war requires 2/3 of the Legislature? The force of your remark however is not diminished by this mistake, for it remains true, that measures are taking or may be taken by the Ex. that will end in war, contrary to the wish of the Body which alone can declare it.
UPDATE TUESDAY 4-1-2008, 07:13 a.m. PDT, 14:13 GMT/SUT/CUT Reno César Chávez event plays to overflow crowd
On this date in 1869, White Pine County was created with Hamilton as its county seat; in 1881, Ed Vesey gave up his lease on Reno's Lake House (on the site of today's Riverside), possibly to move to Sierra Valley, and Myron Lake took over operation of the property again; in 1894, the town of Greenfield, Nevada, changed its name to Yerington, thirteen years after Henry Yerington's C & C railroad used a route that bypassed the town; in 1896, the Nevada State Journal reported that Mrs. M.C. Lake would move into the Lake mansion; in 1913, Washoe County District Attorney William Woodburn was asked for a legal opinion on whether the new state glove contests law required the $100 fee be paid for a day's fights or for each individual fights, and whether the law limited the number of rounds; in 1914, the streets of the Native American village in Lovelock were being outfitted with electric lights and a pumping plant for irrigation was being considered; in 1930, the U.S. seized a British ship carrying rum off Nassau, and the ship was carrying papers from St. Pierre and Miquelon, a tiny French island colony that is northeast of Maine; in 1952, officials of the Calaveras County Fair came up with a grisly publicity stunt to prove or disprove stories that frogs had emerged alive from stonemasonry after being inside for years, the fair would entomb a frog in a wall for a year; in 1957, Bye Bye Love by the Everly Brothers was released on Cadence; in 1964, Nevada casinos changed the rules of blackjack to defeat a successful system for beating the house that was then in use; in 1968, the underground newspaper Changing Times began publication in Las Vegas, becoming a target of official harassment and being driven out of business within thirteen weeks; in 1971, the Nevada Senate voted to kill a public vote on whether to make abortion legal; in 1971, the Riverside Hotel in Reno reopened under the ownership of Jessie Beck; in 1987, after years of deaths, President Reagan finally declared AIDS a public health emergency, but "he remained reluctant to use his presidential bully pulpit to send a clear public message about the AIDS epidemic," his biographer Lou Cannon wrote; in 2003, U.S. forces invaded an Iraqi hospital at Nasiriyah to seize Private Jessica Lynch (earlier the Iraqis, who saved Lynch's life, had tried to turn her over to U.S. forces, who refused to accept her).
[[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 interest to labor in particular and seekers of justice in general. Copyright © 2008 Dennis Myers.]]
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