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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 SATURDAY 5-31-2008, 11:52 p.m. PDT, 06:52 6-1-2008 GMT/SUT/CUT On this date in 1578, the Christian catacombs of Rome were rediscovered (notwithstanding the myth of surreptitious worship, the catacombs were actually burial chambers and were fully known to Roman authorities, since they were regulated by the city's building codes); in 1864, the second battle of Cold Harbor began, lasting until June 12 and causing more carnage than any other Civil War battle and, by some accounts, causing more U.S. casualties in a single day than any other event in history (June 3d 1864: 7,000 U.S., 1,500 C.S.); in 1868, the Chicago Republican published a report by Mark Twain of an execution he witnessed on the Comstock while visiting Nevada on a lecture tour; in 1904, the Reno Evening Gazette described the University of Nevada's thirtieth anniversary as its tricentennial; in 1918, Paul Walters, alleged draft evader and killer of Churchill County Sheriff Mark Wilson, was shot and killed by Native American tracker Dan Paschal; in 1919, four students graduated from the Clark County Normal School at Bunkerville; in 1946, beauty contestants in the Helldorado celebration in Las Vegas complained that the year's winner was a ringer a Hollywood actress; in 1968, Robert Christian Allen of Reno died in Quang Tri Province, Vietnam (panel 62w, row 12 of the Vietnam wall); in 1994, after the death of British Labor Party leader John Smith, potential candidates Tony Blair and Gordon Brown reportedly met at Granita restaurant in Islington where Brown is said to have agreed to step aside and give Blair a clear run and Blair agreed to step down in Brown's favor halfway through a second term as prime minister, a deal that became widely known and believed (even appearing in pop culture, such as a television play), while Blair has denied any such deal and stayed in office into a third term.
Crane worker killed on massive Las Vegas Strip project
Second death at CityCenter this year
DECORATION DAY UPDATE, FRIDAY 5-30-2008, 8:48 a.m. PDT, 15:48 GMT/SUT/CUT On this date in 1414, Jerome of Prague, a follower of John Wycliffe and friend of Jan Hus, was burned at the stake for supporting Hus during his heresy trial; in 1593, playwright Christopher Marlowe was killed in a tavern (the incident became a plot point in the film Shakespeare in Love); in 1867, the Nevada Board of Regents appointed Asa White to replace Richard Stretch as Nevada state mineralogist; in 1897, Nevada Governor Sadler received a request from Lincoln County Sheriff H.E. Freudenthal for troops to be kept ready because of an alleged uprising of Native Americans (it was the second such request Freudenthal had sent in May), and former Lieutenant Governor Joseph Poujade volunteered to lead such an expedition; in 1910, by signing presidential proclamation 1043, President Taft designated Ranbow Bridge, a religious site to Hopi, Navajo and other Southwestern tribes, to be a national monument; in 1941, the British invaded Iraq to overthrow the government of Rashid Ali Al-Gaylani because it was considered sympathetic to Germany; in 1959, the University of Nevada board of regents voted to accept the Mackay family silver service (dining table service made from Nevada silver, valued in 1959 at $22,000) on permanent loan, with individual additional pieces becoming university property each succeeding year; in 1966, eastern Nigerians formed the Republic of Biafra, sparking civil war that resulted in Biafra being wiped out, many of its people dying of starvation (Richard Nixon campaigned for president as a Biafra supporter but failed to change the U.S. policy of indifference after he took office); in 1968, The Beatles began recording sessions for The Beatles (better known as the white album); in 1980, the latest benchmark of the decline of civilization: Mickey Mouse Disco went platinum; in 2006, a Department of Homeland Security official announced plans to cut counter-terror funding to New York and D.C. by forty percent because D.C. is a low risk city and New York doesn't have the kind of national icons that would attract terror (iconic terror targets like Omaha, Charlotte, Jacksonville and Louisville received increased funding).
Reno Evening Gazette / May 30, 1881: Pete Comstock had his bunting out at the Truckee Stables in honor of Decoration Day. This being Decoration Day Constable Avery was stirring early, and before breakfast succeeded in scooping two gentlemen of leisure. One answered to the name of Dave Farnum, and the Magistrate, a mild mannered and merciful man, gave David 60 days. This being Decoration Day, there was no session of the Stock Boards. Only the industrious editor works to-day.
Rev. G. M. Spencer / Reno Congregational Church / Decoration Day 1886: Our nation was born in the birth throes of a mighty struggle. There was, however, a curse still unremoved. There was still a blot upon her fair fame it was the curse of slavery. It developed the demon of rebellion that struck a blow to sever the Union so grandly reared and cemented together. Great cost and sacrifices there were how well we know, but the results, the blessings secured have been marvelous and beyond our power to estimate. The treasonable utterances at Montgomery at the erection of a monument to the soldiers of the Confederacy by the peer of the lost cause whose name I forbear, I disdain to utter have no significance whatever, any more than if some old fossil of the antediluvian world had risen up and had denounced our government and our institutions as greatly inferior to the age in which he lived. We do well indeed today to thus honor their resting places and pay them these tributes of our respect. We do well to scatter over their graves the sweet scented flowers emblems of purity and love.
UPDATE THURSDAY 5-29-2008, 7:51 a.m. PDT, 14:51 GMT/SUT/CUT On this date in 1868, there was a major earthquake at 9:20 p.m., felt in San Francisco where patrons of the opera rushed for the doors (Nevada editor Alf Doten wrote that "three whores jumped from lower right hand stage box to the stage in a heap"); in 1890, though U.S. Indian agents were not concerned, Pierre, South Dakota, resident Charles Hyde wrote a letter to Secretary of the Interior John Noble warning against Nevada prophet Wovoka's ghost dance being practiced by Native Americans at Pine Ridge, leading to an overreaction by federal officials, a crackdown on the dance, the killing of Sitting Bull, and massacres by whites at Strong Hold, French Creek and Wounded Knee Creek; in 1892, Baha'u'llah, prophet of the Baha'i Faith, died and ascended to heaven; in 1910, Pius X issued a papal encyclical, Editae Saepe, denouncing modernism, reformers and protestants; in 1910, the new church building at 220 Bell Street of Reno's African Methodist Episcopal Church was dedicated; in 1919, on the Isle of Principe in the South Atlantic and the Brazilian village of Sobral, scientific expeditions photographed an eclipse of the sun, which reached its fullest aspect across a swatch of the southern hemisphere but on very few points of land, in an effort to prove or disprove German physicist Albert Einstein's theory (the results, announced in November, made Einstein one of the most famous men in the world); in 1920, after receiving letters from community leaders arguing that the University could not afford to let President Clark resign, the Nevada Board of Regents voted to increase the salary of University of Nevada President Walter Clark to $12,000 a year; in 1922, federal broadcasting license 310 was issued to Nevada Machinery and Electric in Reno for station KDZK; in 1935, the last concrete in Hoover Dam was poured; in 1941, President Roosevelt signed legislation under which the federal government would pay the engineering costs of the Boca Dam on the Truckee River water system; in 1942, the new Sparks municipal swimming pool was dedicated; in 1958, eight of the nine African-American students who began the school year at Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas, completed the school year (segregationists distributed a card reading "Ike Go Home/Liberation Day/May 29, 1958"); in 1960, Cathy's Clown by the Everly Brothers hit number one; in 1990, in Duro vs. Reina, a case originating on the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Nation, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that a Native American tribe may not assert criminal jurisdiction for a crime committed on the tribe's reservation by a member of a different tribe; in 1998, Barry Goldwater died.
UPDATE WEDNESDAY 5-28-2008, 7:24 a.m. PDT, 14:24 GMT/SUT/CUT On this date in 1754 at a time when France and England were at peace, 22 yea- old British Lieutenant Colonel George Washington of Virginia disobeyed orders and attacked a group of French diplomats at Jumonville Glen in Pennsylvania, murdering ten men and starting the French and Indian war, which became the Seven Years War, a world war; in 1892, John Muir and friends started the Sierra Club; in 1907, Clarence Eddy, who called himself a poet/prospector, headed out of Rhyolite for the Panamint Mountains at the front of a heavily armed group of cronies to attack Native Americans and seize a mine staked out by Walter "Death Valley Scotty" Scott that Eddy claimed to have discovered first; in 1914, Mabel Vernon of the National Women's Party and Mrs. William O.H. Martin (mother of Nevada feminist leader Anne Martin) attended a meeting of the Reno barbers union and made a pitch for women's suffrage; in 1914, Edmund Wolf, who spent thirteen years walking around the world, getting the signatures of local officials along the way as proof that he did it, was in Reno with the distance to Baltimore still to cover, when he discovered that he had lost his book of signatures; in 1929, six weeks after she shocked the Prohibition-supporting Women's National Republican Club by resigning her membership to oppose alcohol prohibition, GOP leader Pauline Sabin formed the Women's Organization for National Prohibition Reform that led the fight for repeal of the 18th Amendment because of the damage prohibition was doing to the family; in 1937, Nevada's new minimum wage for women, passed by that year's Nevada Legislature, took effect requiring a minimum $3 a day wage for women and a maximum 48-hour work week; in 1948, the Nazi political party, Herenigde National Party, won South African elections and proceeded to impose apartheid, rig election laws so it would never be turned out of office, and employ repression and violence; in 1955, the Davy Crockett craze was reflected on the record charts with The Ballad of Davy Crockett selling millions of copies in versions by a half-dozen different singers; in 1971, Harold's Club employees formed a Casino Employees Association and were considering affiliating with the Teamsters Union; in 1987, a teen-aged West German pilot named Mathias Rust evaded Soviet air defenses and landed a small private plane in Red Square.
UPDATE TUESDAY 5-27-2008, 3:44 a.m. PDT, 10:44 GMT/SUT/CUT
LAS VEGAS TREE PLANTING CEREMONY PLANNED TO HONOR LATE NEVADA STATE AFL-CIO LEADER BLACKIE EVANS ON SATURDAY, MAY 31
LAS VEGAS The Paradise Democratic Club will hold its 13th Annual Tree Planting Ceremony at 10:00 a.m. on traditional Memorial Day weekend Saturday, May 31, at Paradise Park (near E. Tropicana Blvd. and Eastern Ave). This year, the venerable organization will honor the late Claude "Blackie" Evans, Secretary-Treasurer of the Nevada State AFL-CIO for many years until he retired. He was well liked and respected by all who knew him. Blackie was a true Democrat who believed strongly in Democratic Party principles. The public is invited to attend. For more information, call John Ponticello, (702) 363-2456.
Former Nevada State AFL-CIO leader Evans dies at 71
UPDATE TUESDAY 5-27-2008, 1:32 a.m. PDT, 08:32 GMT/SUT/CUT On this date in 1916, German officials in Belgium executed Captain Charles Fryatt of Britain after a strange court martial in which Fryatt was prosecuted and convicted of using his ship to defend against the German u-boat that was attacking him; in 1923, John Dillinger of Mooresville, Indiana (later a famed bank robber), joined the U.S. Navy in an effort to escape the consequences of making off with a car from his Quaker church, serving on the U.S.S. Utah for about a month before walking off the ship and never returning; in 1931, Six Companies, the conglomerate building Boulder Dam, announced it would open a recreation/sports clubhouse for dam workers, to be managed by actor (he debuted in Mae West's She Done Him Wrong) and former heavyweight contender Frank Moran; in 1939, new state figures showed that tourist traffic using the Victory Highway in Nevada (U.S. 40) had increased in one year from 18,194 to 23,305 vehicles and the Lincoln Highway (U.S. 50) from 14,431 to 15,606; in 1939, United Mine Workers chief John L. Lewis fired a blistering attack at Vice-President John Nance Garner over Garner's lobbying on amendments to a wage/hour law, calling him "that labor baiting, poker playing, whisky drinking, evil old man...He will never achieve the presidency in this great republic by baiting labor and seeking to debase America"; in 1950, Cresent township near Searchlight in Clark County, which almost no one knew existed, was eliminated so that three people living at the Rex Bell ranch could legally vote without the necessity of forming an entire precinct and polling place for them; in 1954, the Guatemalan government of Jacobo Arbenz Guzmán, elected with a 1951 landslide of 65 percent of the vote, was overthrown by CIA-paid and -trained mercenaries, leading to a four-decade dark age of vicious military juntas that waged a genocidal war against its political opponents and against the indigenous Mayans; in 1959, the Reno Evening Gazette and Nevada State Journal, which joined the campaign for a convention hall and auditorium and donated free advertising to the campaign but did not scrutinize the proposal in its news coverage, ran front page endorsement editorials on the day before the election in which the bonds were approved, leading to years of difficulties, mismanagement, and a white elephant downtown auditorium; in 1960, Vice-President Richard Nixon was nominated for president by the Republican National Convention in Chicago; in 1967, African-American leader Rap Brown told a Maryland rally "Black folks built America, and if America don't come around, we're going to burn America down" (two days later Governor Spiro Agnew ordered his arrest: "It shall now be the policy of this state to immediately arrest any person inciting to riot, and to not allow that person to finish his vicious speech"); in 1974, Lynyrd Skynyrd's Sweet Home Alabama was released; in 1985, a day after The New York Times crossword puzzle clue for 42 down was "Vegas term", the key to the puzzle came out and the correct term was "odds"; in 2000, the Nevada historical records advisory board discussed a problem of improper storage of state records by state agencies, such as a prison storage building where records were "covered with pigeon droppings, dead pigeons and dead rodents" so severe that an archivist suggested keeping everyone out of the building and calling a hazardous materials team.
UPDATE MONDAY 5-26-2008, 8:23 a.m. PDT, 15:23 GMT/SUT/CUT
Abigail Adams / May 26, 1798: I wish the Laws of our Country were competent to punish the stirrer up of sedition, the writer and Printer of base and unfounded calumny. This would contribute much to the Peace and harmony of our Country as any measure, and in times like the present, a more carefull and attentive watch ought to be kept over foreigners. This will be done in the future if the Alien Bill passes, without being curtaild & clipt until it is made nearly useless. The Volunteer Corps which are forming not only of young Men but others will keep in check these people, I trust.
On this date in 1637, whites raided a Pequot tribe fort at Mystic, Connecticut, massacring 500: "Many were burnt in the fort, both men, women, and children. Others forced out...twenty and thirty at a time, which our soldiers received and entertained with the point of the sword. Down fell men, women, and children; those that scaped us fell into the hands of the Indians that were in the rear of us."; in 1647, Massachusetts approved a law prohibiting Catholic priests from entering Puritan regions; in 1848 in Baltimore, the Democratic Party nominated explorer, former governor of the Territory of Michigan, U.S. secretary of war, U.S. ambassador to France, U.S. treaty negotiator, and U.S. Senator Lewis Cass for the presidency (Cass lost to Zachary Taylor and later became U.S. secretary of state); in 1862, President Lincoln sent a message to Congress stating "I transmit a copy of a communication of the 21st of December last, addressed to the Secretary of State by the governor of the Territory of Nevada, and commend to the particular attention of Congress those parts of it which show that further legislation is desirable for the public welfare in that quarter" and enclosed a message from Governor James Nye requesting a private secretary and an increase in salaries in the territory to meet the high cost of living (no congressional action resulted); in 1898, The First Troop of Nevada Cavalry was formed up and waiting in Carson City but had not yet been provided with transportation to the Cuba war; in 1906, Street & Smith publishers released Bowery Boy Weekly Dime Novel No. 32 Bowery Billy, the Bootblack Bravo, or, The Nevada Sport in New York; in 1911, Ben Alexander, who portrayed "Frank Smith", the fourth partner of "Joe Friday" on Dragnet, was born in Goldfield, Nevada; in 1947, former Vice-President Henry Wallace announced that if the Democratic Party continued its slide into becoming the "war party", he would run for president on a third party line; in 1962, Mr. Acker Bilk's Stranger on the Shore hit number one on the Billboard chart, the first British recording to make number one in the U.S. (the recording was included in a tape cassette of tunes taken to the moon by the crew of Apollo 10); in 1977, George Willig climbed the south tower of the World Trade Center, using the window washers' steel tracks to take a hold, and after reaching the top was arrested and later fined $250,000 but New York City Mayor Abraham Beame, running for reelection, arranged to reduce the fine of the suddenly popular Willig to $1.10 (Willig's mother worked in the Empire State Building when a B-25 bomber plowed into it in 1945); in 2004, after a year of boosterish news coverage that helped enable George Bush's effort to start a war in Iraq, The New York Times issued a 1,144-word admission that it had been taken in by administration claims and sources, had failed to adequately scrutinize claims, and had deemphasized news that conflicted with the campaign for war but the newspaper failed to apologize to the public or the survivors of war casualties.
UPDATE SUNDAY 5-25-2008, 12:01 a.m. PDT, 07:01 GMT/SUT/CUT
Tale of the greasy goose
The neverending story of the rigged game at the gas pump
Reno Evening Gazette / May 25, 1885: Cedarville, May 22 Editor Reno Gazette: Dear Sir: The article in your paper stating that I had committed suicide, is a canard, perpetrated by some of my acquaintances as a joke, and as it has worked me some little injury in a business way, will you be kind enough to correct the statement, as my friends here guy me sometimes, because I have no acquaintances even among the fair sex, much less being in love with them; I have not had that good fortune as yet. Will you please correct the statement and oblige Yours Respectfully, Wm. Unwiller.
On May 25, 1879, a counterfeiting suspect named Frank Schalata, arrested in Winnemucca, was being transported to the federal court in Carson City on the train and when he was in the bathroom, he climbed out the window and leaped out while the train was traveling at full speed, making a clean getaway while the Humboldt County deputy sheriff escorting him waited outside the door; in 1907, a dozen millionaires and multimillionaires, including the mayor of San Francisco, crowded into a Bay courtroom to post bail in a municipal trolley scandal; in 1937, after dodging process-servers for three months, Walter "Death Valley Scotty" Scott learned from news reports that his lawyer had reached a divorce settlement with Scott's estranged wife, prompting Scott to go drinking and carousing in Las Vegas after which he learned that the news report was inaccurate; in 1943, California Governor Earl Warren said he was angry with California draft boards that were telling state workers they would have to either get into war work or be drafted ("We're not going to stand for any bulldozing from anybody"), saying that California had provided a larger percentage of draftees than any other state; in 1956, Saigon head of government Ngo Dinh Diem again repudiated the Geneva agreement requiring elections in Vietnam; in 1962, the International Control Commission, created to police compliance with the Geneva agreement on Indochina, said the United States was violating the agreement by building up its forces in Vietnam; in 1964, U.S. State Department official William Bundy drafted a congressional resolution authorizing the president to use "all necessary measures" in Vietnam and held it in abeyance until the U.S. could provoke an incident that could be used as a pretext to ask Congress for its passage (at the end of July, Saigon government torpedo boats, U.S. destroyers, and CIA Air America planes with Laotian Air Force markings participated in attacks on northern Vietnam, provoking Hanoi torpedo boats to attack the U.S. destroyer Maddox, whereupon President Johnson, describing the Hanoi attack as a provocation instead of a retaliation, asked Congress to enact Bundy's resolution, which Congress did without bothering to investigate the circumstances); in 1965, Muhammad Ali retained his title in a rematch with Sonny Liston during which Liston went down in the first round under the impact of a punch that appeared not to have landed; in 1965, the father of a Miss Universe/Nevada pageant contestant said he had hired a private detective to investigate the contest after a winner was announced, then deposed, the runner up was crowned, then deposed, and a second runner up crowned; in 1969, Life magazine published a report that mob figure John Formosa claimed to have once convinced Frank Sinatra to intercede with Attorney General Robert Kennedy on mobster Sam Giancana's behalf, a claim denied by Sinatra when he was contacted at Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas; in 1979, the Nevada Assembly gave final legislative approval to a formal state call for a federal constitutional convention to restrict abortion.
UPDATE SATURDAY 5-24-2008, 2:26 p.m. PDT, 21:26 GMT/SUT/CUT
Harry Emerson Fosdick: Never again will I prostitute my Christian ministry to the idealizing of any war.
The Dean's List
The 2009 first-place Nevada Press Association award winners
Tony the Tiger & the flaky NFL
Barbwire / 11-30-2008
Deregulation is never having to say you're sorry
Barbwire / 8-3-2008
Nevada: A good place to visit, but do you want to live here?
Barbwire / 6-15-2008
Past 12 months
Use the search tool you will find at page right at the above link. It will return the 19 newest. A button for older shows is being installed. You may also search by date M-F for the past year save holidays.
15-year overnight success
Daily Sparks Tribune 2-10-2008
The Barbwire's Greatest Hits
Highlights from radio days
On this date in 1775, half the members of the Second Continental Congress walked out in anger after a furious debate on whether the colonies should, while continuing to insist on autonomy, offer an olive branch to England by conceding to Parliament the right to regulate American trade (the same day, smuggler John Hancock was elected president of Congress); in 1844, for the first message on his new telegraph (on a line running between Baltimore and D.C.), Samuel Morse turned to Numbers 23:23 "What hath God wrought?"; in 1878, Baptist pastor Harry Emerson Fosdick was born in Buffalo; in 1879, The Battle Mountain Messenger reported that two Argenta farmers "are building a dam in the Humboldt, diverting the waters for agricultural purposes"; in 1918, with Washoe County less than half way to its quota of $467,000 in war stamp sales and only six days remaining, a stamp rally was held at Huffaker's south of Reno; in 1926, U.S. Representative Samuel Arentz introduced legislation to sell 11,613 acres of the Pyramid Lake Indian Reservation so it could be included in a Spanish Springs reclamation project (Arentz had also introduced legislation to authorize the leasing for mining purposes of Indian lands); in 1935, the first night game in major league baseball was played between the Cincinnati Reds and Philadelphia Phillies (Cincinnati won, 2 to 1); in 1941, Germany's largest battleship Bismarck sank the British HMS Hood, but damage to the Bismarck led to its racing for the French coast and its sinking three days later in a storied sea battle; in 1950, the Nevada Federation of Business and Professional Women named former assistant U.S. attorney, federal bankruptcy trustee and suffrage leader Felice Cohn as the state's most outstanding woman; in 1955, the Moulin Rouge Casino opened in Las Vegas; in 1965, a cross was burned in the garden of a Reno family's home after a boy in the house said he received recruiting calls from callers identifying themselves as Klan members; in 1969, the great Get Back by The Beatles and Billy Preston hit number one on the Billboard chart (it is the only Beatles record whose label shared billing with another artist); in 1970, Nevada Governor Paul Laxalt visited Laguinge in France, the Basque village his father's family migrated from in 1906; in 1971, an advertisement by a group of military officers, the Concerned Officers Movement, appeared in an newspaper at Fort Bragg: "WE, THE UNDERSIGNED CONCERNED OFFICERS...At Fort Bragg and Pope Air Foce Base wish to make known our feelings aout the immoral and wasteful war in which our country is embroiled. We agree with what we feel to be the majority view in this country that the war in Vietnam should end. We exercise our constitutional right to add our views to those who have already spoken out. With them we demand the withdrawal of all American military personnel and advisors from that embattled land by the end of 1971."; in 1979, as part of an out-of-court settlement, Yankee manager Billy Martin, who was threatened with loss of his job by owner George Steinbrenner, issued a public apology to Reno sportswriter Ray Hagar, who was physically attacked and injured by Martin in November, 1978; in 1982 at San Francisco's Moscone Center, Country Joe, the Grateful Dead, Boz Skaggs and Jefferson Starship staged a benefit that raised $175,000 for the Vietnam Veterans Project.
UPDATE FRIDAY 5-23-2008, 8:39 a.m. PDT, 15:39 GMT/SUT/CUT On this date in 1498, Florentine reformer Girolamo Savonarola, a critic of church and societal corruption so severe that he burned unfavored books and his name became a noun and synonym for self-righteousness, was executed for heresy; in 1887, Acting Governor Henry Davis made several appointments to the staff of the Nevada state militia; in 1900, 54th Massachusetts Sgt. William Carney, an African-American veteran, belatedly received the Medal of Honor for actions on July 18, 1863, at Ft. Wagner, South Carolina (the battle that provides the climax to the movie Glory); in 1910, author Margaret Wise Brown (Goodnight Moon, Runaway Bunny) was born in Brooklyn; in 1919, distinguished author and Nevada Writers Hall of Fame member Wilbur Shepperson was born; in 1933, U.S. District Judge Harold Louderback (a graduate of the University of Nevada), impeached by the U.S. House of Representatives on February 24, was acquitted by the Senate; in 1934, bank robbers Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow were killed in an ambush by Texas and Louisiana police on a highway between Sailes and Gibsland in Louisiana (see below); in 1936, longtime Nevada assemblymember Robert Price was born in DeLand, Florida; in 1937 at Beckwourth Pass just over the California border northwest of Reno, a monument was erected to honor James Beckwourth, an African-American scout and explorer who located the route over the Sierra foothills by which many frontier emigrants safely traveled to California; in 1955, the Dunes Hotel Casino opened in Las Vegas; in 1956, after liberal activist Joseph Rauh testified before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee quoting Thomas Jefferson's letter to James Monroe saying that "a little rebellion, now and then, is a good thing", U.S. Senator Arthur Watkins of Utah expressed his disbelief that Jefferson had said any such thing: "If Mr. Jefferson were here and advocated such a thing, I would move that he be prosecuted."; in 1960, twelve days after former Nazi official Adolf Eichmann was kidnapped from Buenos Aires by Israeli agents, Israeli Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion announced that Eichmann was in Israel and would stand trial, but lied about how Eichmann got there, claiming that Jewish volunteers had done the kidnapping; in 1964 as Lyndon Johnson campaigned for president on a no-wider-war pledge, assistant secretary of state William Bundy ordered a scenario plan for bombing of Hanoi and the north; in 1996, Washoe County Airport Authority board members Dawn Gibbons, Tina Manoukian and Larry Martin walked out of an Authority board meeting in protest against the board refusing to hear their concerns about mistreatment of local residents of Rewana Farms, and their departure halted the meeting because it deprived the board of a quorum.
The Story of Bonnie and Clyde
by Bonnie Parker
[mailed to a Dallas newspaper by Parker before their deaths]
You´ve heard the story of Jesse James
Of how he lived and died
If you´re still in need
Of something to read
Here´s the story of Bonnie and Clyde.
Now Bonnie and Clyde are the Barrow gang
I´m sure you all have read
How they rob and steal
And those who squeal
Are usually found dyin´ or dead.
They call them cold-hearted killers
They say they are heartless and mean
But I say this with pride
That I once knew Clyde
When he was honest and upright and clean.
But ´laws´ fooled around
Kept takin´ him down
And lockin´ him up in a cell
Till he said to me: ´I´ll never be free
So I´ll meet a few of them in Hell.´
If a policeman is killed in Dallas
And they have no clue to guide
If they can´t find a fiend
They just wipe their slate clean
And hang it on Bonnie and Clyde.
The road gets dimmer and dimmer.
Sometimes you can hardly see.
Still it's fight, man to man,
And do all you can,
For they know they can never be free.
If they try to act like citizens
And rent them a nice little flat
About the third night
They´re invited to fight
By a sub-guns´ rat-a-tat-tat.
They don't think they are too tough or desperate,
They know the law always wins.
They have been shot at before
But they do not ignore
The death is the wages of sin.
From heartbreaks some people have suffered,
From weariness some people have died,
But take it all in all,
Our troubles are small,
Till we get like Bonnie and Clyde.
Some day they will go down together
They´ll bury them side by side
To a few it means grief-
To the law it's relief-
But it´s death for Bonnie and Clyde.
UPDATE THURSDAY 5-22-2008, 7:08 p.m. PDT, 02:08 5-23-2008 GMT/SUT/CUT On this date in 1876, Bishop Ozi Whitaker said he expected the Reno seminary for young ladies (now the site of Whitaker Park) to be completed by October 1; in 1912, Charles Cavanaugh of Reno, who fell off the wagon after 28 months of sobriety, found that the Reno Evening Gazette considered it front page news; in 1925, California Governor Friend Richardson signed legislation providing $100,000 for the state's exhibit at the Transcontinental Highway Exposition in Reno in 1926, which included the construction of a building (which still stands in Reno's Idlewild Park), and the news was such a boost for the prospects of the exposition that a crowd gathered in front of Reno's Golden Hotel to celebrate; in 1929, two Chicago detectives with a 1922 Georgia arrest warrant arrived at the office of Greater Chicago magazine publisher Robert Burns and arrested him to return him to Georgia where he had escaped from a chain gang to which he had been sentenced for stealing $5.80 (he was returned to Georgia, thrown back into prison, escaped again, wrote an expose, successfully fought off another attempt by Georgia at extradition and his book I Was A Fugutive From A Chain Gang resulted in reforms in the the use of chain gangs around the nation.); in 1944, U.S. war labor board chair Willaim Davis told a U.S. House committee that his agency had to take action in a Montgomery Ward labor dispute or concede that 15,500,000 people in various industries "would be free to strike"; in 1944, the University of Nevada commencement was held for the first time in the new gymnasium, with most of the 55 graduates women (the gymnasium was completed in time for the 1943 commencement but it was housing military training cadets); in 1949, shortly after midnight in his room on the 16th floor of Bethesda Naval Hospital, U.S. Secretary of Defense James Forrestal copied a chorus from Sophocles' poem Ajax ("Frenzy hath seized thy dearest son") and then jumped out the window to his death; in 1964, one day after the U.N. Security Council heard Cambodian charges against the United States of sending Saigon forces over the border into Cambodia, U.S. Secretary of State Dean Rusk accused the Vietnamese of aggression against their own nation: "There is a simple prescription for peace: Leave your neighbors alone."; in 1967, Larry Stone of Yerington died in Quang Nam province, Vietnam (panel 20E, row 87 of the Vietnam wall); in 1968, Cream's Disraeli Gears went gold; in 1979, U.S. Senator Howard Cannon of Nevada and Nevada Commission for the Utilization of State Resources to Meet National Needs executive director Bernard Menke met with President Carter and White House Special Assistant for Congressional Liaison Robert N. Thomson to deliver to the president The Report of the Nevada Commission for the Utilization of State Resources to Meet National Needs; in 1997, Air Force officers forced bomber pilot Kelly Flinn out of the service by threatening her with prosecution for adultery.
UPDATE WEDNESDAY 5-21-2008, 9:09 a.m. PDT, 16:09 GMT/SUT/CUT On this date in 1876, the Nevada State Journal asked "When Canada becomes a part of the United States, where will all the scoundrels go to? We feel that this [is] one of the most serious questions of the Centennial year."; in 1877, in retaliation for the Little Big Horn defeat of the Seventh Cavalry, members of the Ponca Tribe on Nebraska's Niobrara River were ordered to pack up to be marched to Indian Territory; in 1877, five bars of gold bullion, still warm, arrived in Reno from the new boom camp on Peavine Mountain and were on display in the Reno Savings Bank; in 1883, W.L. French was in Reno after a trip to England where he sought financing for his plan to link San Francisco with Nevada's Carson and Colorado Railroad by putting a rail line through the Yosemite Valley; in 1906, Catholic officials purchased the Sol Levy home at the corner of Second and Chestnut [now Arlington] streets in Reno for $10,000 to be the site of a church, possible a cathedral; in 1937, the Golden and Riverside hotels in Reno retired the black bus they had used since 1932 to shuttle visitors between the Reno train depot and the hotels and replaced it with a DeSoto sedan (the bus had 45,000 miles on it); in 1943 in Fallon, irrigation district official Ward Emery suggested that as a remedy for the wartime meat shortage, people start eating the muskrat carcasses taken by trappers from the sloughs in the area (though Emery's wife refused to cook them); in 1970, a day after fire hoses and mace were used against students during a disturbance at Rancho High School in Las Vegas, fifty students at the school were arrested when they barricaded themselves in the library and refused to go to class; in 1973, Sierra Pacific Power was making another run at saddling the state with a nuclear power plant; in 1974, 98-year-old Toska Slater, who in 1966 refused to sell her house to make way for construction of Interstate 80 through Reno until she wrote a letter to President Johnson asking him if it was the right thing to do and got a reply saying that it was, rode in the first car on the completed new freeway; in 1979 on the eve of San Francisco Supervisor Harvey Milk's birthday, former supervisor Dan White charged with murdering Milk and Mayor George Moscone was convicted on the lesser charge of voluntary manslaughter after using a defense that he had been depressed and eaten large amounts of sugary junk food on the day of the murders, a verdict that set off angry protests and the "white night" rioting; in 1986, Nevada Speaker Byron Bilyeu said that after a D.C. trip to meet with national Republican officials and adjudge resources for a race for governor, he had decided not to run against Democratic Governor Richard Bryan; in 2002, faced with aggressive investigation and possible prosecution by New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer, Merrill Lynch agreed to pay a $100 million fine and make changes in financial arrangements for its analysts, and apologized to the public, sending tremors through Wall Street; in 2004, Florida National Guard Staff Sergeant Camilo Mejia was convicted by a court martial of desertion for refusing to return to Iraq after a furlough in order to avoid being ordered to perform war crimes (he testified to witnessing prisoner abuse and torture) and was sentenced to a year in prison and declared a political prisoner by Amnesty International.
UPDATE TUESDAY 5-20-2008, 12:01 a.m. PDT, 07:01 GMT/SUT/CUT On this date in 1856, President Franklin Pierce, an admirer of the notorious mercenary leader William Walker, granted diplomatic recognition to Walker's short-lived Nicaraguan occupation government; in 1862, President Lincoln signed the Homestead Act, which granted 160 acres of land to settlers after they worked it for five years; in 1899, what some believe is the first speeding ticket ever issued was given to New York cab driver Jacob German for driving at 12 miles an hour down Lexington Avenue; in 1912, a strike by Detroit players protesting the suspension of teammate Ty Cobb (who had climbed into the bleachers and savagely beaten a one-handed heckler) ended when the team owner told the players the suspension would stand; in 1962, the U.S. Post Office issued a four-cent stamp commemorating the centennial of the Homestead Act; in 1967, A Day in the Life by The Beatles, compared by a Newsweek critic to T.S. Eliot's The Waste Land, was banned from the BBC; in 1969 in Vietnam, Hamburger Hill (so called by U.S. soldiers who considered it a meat grinder) was taken after ten U.S. assaults costing 100 lives and 400 wounded, then abandoned eight days later and soon reoccupied by the Vietnamese; in 1995 at the request of the Secret Service, President Clinton closed Pennsylvania Avenue in front of the White House (the Republican party promised in its national platform to reopen it, but has not done so); in 1996, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Romer vs. Evans that a Colorado ballot measure barring any political jurisdicition in the state from taking any legislative, judicial or executive action to protect the rights of gays violated the equal protection clause of the Constitution; in 2003, a group of first amendment advocates petitioned New York Governor George Pataki to posthumously pardon Lenny Bruce for an obscenity conviction that followed Bruce's performance at the Café au Go Go: "A pardon now is too late to save Lenny Bruce. But a posthumous pardon would set the record straight and thereby demonstrate New York's commitment to freedom free speech, free press, free thinking."
UPDATE MONDAY 5-19-2008, 2:38 a.m. PDT, 09:38 GMT/SUT/CUT
Mark Twain / letter to Chicago Republican / May 19, 1868: They treated me exceedingly well in Carson (as they always do) and made no attempt whatever to rob me.
On this date in 1715, it was made illegal for any slave (African-American, mulatto, or Native American) to sell any oysters in New York City, with a penalty of 20 shillings for each offense to be paid for by the master or mistress of the slave, an early instance of species protection to keep the supply of oysters up; in 1836, during an Indian raid in Texas that killed her family, nine year old Cynthia Ann Parker was captured and assimilated into a Comanche tribe (a quarter of a century later when she was raising her two boys and a daughter, she was retaken by a band of Texas Rangers who killed her husband, forced to rejoin white society, and eventually died while on a hunger strike); in 1868, a letter from Mark Twain giving an account of his sea voyage from New York to San Francisco and his return to Nevada was published in the Chicago Republican; in 1890, Ho Chi Minh was born (probably as Nguyen Tat Thanh) at Kimlien, Vietnam; in 1897, Oscar Wilde was released from jail after serving a two-year sentence at hard labor for homosexuality; in 1928, states and chambers of commerce around the west were organizing to try to get Congress to override President Coolidge's veto of Nevada U.S. Senator Tasker Oddie's bill providing $3,500,000 for road building; in 1928, a funding measure reported to the House by the appropriations committee and approved by the House included $2,353,747 for the cost of U.S. occupation of Nicaragua, $150,000 for a post office in Reno (the first installment on a structure expected to cost $565,000), and $3,108,159 for construction of ammunition depots in Hawaii, the Philippines, and at Hawthorne, Nevada; in 1943, Free French soldier Fernand Grenier, a former communist member of the chamber of deputies, said that French women had, by laying down on railroad tracks, nearly brought to a halt Vichy deportations of French men to Germany to be laborers; in 1953, an atomic test code named "Harry" that became known as "Dirty Harry" was detonated in Nevada, spewing so much fallout downwind that farm animals died (as the years passed, at least 91 members of a 220-person Hollywood crew filming The Conquerer near St. George during the test including Susan Hayward, Dick Powell and John Wayne died of leukemia or cancer); in 1966, after a federal official informed Nevada officials that the recently closed Stead Air Force Base north of Reno was being "cannibalized" to supply the Vietnam war and would be turned over to the state as "only an empty shell", the Nevada Department of Education took its requested appropriation of $70,000 for a vocational education center at the base off the agenda of the 1966 special session of the Nevada Legislature; in 1969, the great Beatles/Billy Preston single Get Back went gold.
Letter by John Muir from Salt Lake City / May 19, 1877: In the Tabernacle last Sunday, one of the elders of the church, in discoursing upon the good things of life, the possessions of Latter-Day Saints, enumerated fruitful fields, horses, cows, wives, and implements, the wives being placed as above, between the cows and implements, without receiving any superior emphasis. Polygamy, as far as I have observed, exerts a more degrading influence upon husbands that upon wives. The love of the latter finds expression in flowers and children, while the former seem to be rendered incapable of pure love of anything. The spirit of Mormonism is intensely exclusive and un-American. A more withdrawn, compact, sealed-up body of people could hardly be found on the face of the earth than is gathered here, notwithstanding railroads, telegraphs, and the penetrating lights that go sifting through society everywhere in this revolutionary, question-asking century. Most of the Mormons I have met seem to be in a state of perpetual apology, which can hardly be fully accounted for by Gentile attacks. At any rate it is unspeakable offensive to any free man.
UPDATE SUNDAY 5-18-2008, 12:01 a.m. PDT, 07:01 GMT/SUT/CUT On this date in 1676, William Turner led an attack by whites on 300 Pocumtuck, Norwottuck, Wampanoag, Narragansett and Nipmuc people at Peskeompscut Falls on the Connecticut River in Massachusetts and massacred 240 mostly unarmed tribal members (whites later renamed the falls in Turner's honor); in 1783, the first loyalist exiles from the British colonies began arriving in Canada after the Treaty of Paris that formally ended the War of Independence; in 1887, Beadle's New York Dime Library released the dime novel Volcano, the 'Frisco Spy; or, The Secret of the Secret Seven. A Wild Tale of a Nevada Mine. by Howard Holmes; in 1896 in a case involving separate passenger railroad cars, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Homer A. Plessy v. Ferguson that Jim Crow segregation laws were legal in spite of the Fourteenth Amendment's guarantee of equal protection: "[W]e cannot say that a law which authorizes or even requires the separation of the two races in public conveyances is unreasonable, or more obnoxious to the fourteenth amendment than the acts of congress requiring separate schools for colored children in the District of Columbia, the constitutionality of which does not seem to have been questioned, or the corresponding acts of state legislatures" (the enormously influential decision inspired racist policies for sixty years until repudiated by the court in 1954); in 1904, an inquest was held into the deaths of two young women drowned at Laughton Spring west of Reno as Native Americans searched the Truckee River for two men who tried to save them (gases in their decomposing bodies were expected to bring them to the surface within about five or six days if they were not found before then) and Reno businesses were considering closing down so the town could join the search; in 1910, Siamese twin babies joined at the back brought from the U.S. Philippine colony were expected in Reno to be an exhibit in the Gray Reid Wright department store; in 1931, a former congressmember selected to lease properties in the Boulder City reservation said he would make the town the antithesis of Reno only U.S. citizens permitted, applicants judged on character, fitness and personality, gambling or other prohibited activities grounds for revocation of leases; in 1943, Szarajowka in Poland joined a macabre list villages punished for their resistance by being completely wiped off the face of the earth by the SS (others included Socky, Kitow, Oradour sur Glane and, most notoriously, Lidice in Czechoslovakia); in 1951, the end of Lake Success, New York's day in the sun came when the United Nations ended five years in the town and moved to New York City; in 1953, Nevada had already logged 25 cases of polio for the year and state health officer Daniel Hurley was trying to convince the office of defense mobilization to hurry Nevada's share of the national gamma globulin pool to the state (gamma globulin enhances the body's ability to fight off infection); in 1957 in the District of Columbia, Atomic Energy Commission member Williard Libby said rain that fell in the district earlier in the week was hot with radiation but was "not dangerous and nothing to be frightened about" (he also said the radiation was from Soviet tests; the U.S. at that time had detonated 88 atomic tests, 50 of them in Nevada); in 1960, The Beetles (as they then called themselves), including Stuart Sutcliffe and Tommy Moore, began a tour of Scotland as a backup hand for Johnny Gentle; in 1967, The New York Times disclosed the 22-year effort by the Pentagon and the Atomic Energy Commission to suppress film footage shot in Nagasaki and Hiroshima (by classifying it secret) in order to shield the public from knowledge of the effects of atomic radiation; in 2001, using an F-16 bomber (U.S.-made), the Israelis tried to assassinate Hamas leader Mahmous Abu Hanoud by bombing Nablus prison (where Hamoud was serving a 12-year prison term imposed by the Palestinian Authority) and instead killed 11 Palestinian police officers and helped Hanoud to escape; in 2002, Dan Coming, the first Nevada millennium scholar, graduated from UNR (the Millennium Scholarship program, funded by Nevada's share of the tobacco lawsuit settlement, provides a free college education for all Nevada high school graduates with a B average); in 2003, Les Miserables closed after a 16-year Broadway run (6,680 performances).
UPDATE SATURDAY 5-17-2008, 12:48 p.m. PDT, 19:48 GMT/SUT/CUT On this date in 1829, explorer Peter Skene Ogden recorded in his journal "large flocks of pelicans seen this day" along the Humboldt River near Rye Patch in what is now Nevada; in 1880, the Central Pacific Railroad refused a request from Nevada Republican leader Charles Stevenson for special rates for the state's delegates to travel to the Republican National Convention in Chicago; in 1895, National Suffrage Association officers Anna Howard Shaw and Susan B. Anthony spoke at McKissick's Opera House in Reno; in 1920, the U.S. weather service began providing highway condition reports in Reno; in 1923, at a time of growing Klan influence and Democratic support for the Klan, Republican President Harding used the dedication of a statue of Alexander Hamilton to say "We have the factions of hatred and prejudice and violence. We have our conditions which would invade the constitutional rights of others or subvert the constitution itself."; in 1941, the day's big story in the Reno Evening Gazette was a familiar one: "BATTLE RAGING FOR IRAQ CONTROL"; in 1941, the Reno city council granted the El Cortez Hotel a license for a roulette wheel after a lot of confusion over the stance of two churches across the street from the hotel; in 1947, the Motor-In Theatre, a Reno drive-in theater, opened "one mile out South Virginia Road"; in 1954, in a case argued before the court by an African-American attorney representing blacks and a former Democratic presidential nominee representing white supremacy, the United States Supreme Court (unanimously) overturned its 1896 ruling that said public facilities for races can be segregated if they are equal, now finding that separate schools are "inherently unequal" and ordering nationwide desegregation; in 1968, Robert Warren Andrews, Jr., of Reno died in Kien Phong Province, Vietnam (panel 24w, row 29 of the Vietnam wall); in 2003, The Ottowa Citizen's Norman Provencher revealed a transcript of John Lennon's 1969 closed door testimony before Canada's Le Dain Commission on legalization of marijuana as an alternative to harder drugs sold by "pushers in the schoolyard...This is the opportunity for Canada to lead the world...Canada is America without being American, without that...'We-are-the-mighty-whatever scene."; in 2004, Tanya McCloskey and Marcia Kadish were married in Massachusetts, the first same-gender marriage performed in that state.
UPDATE FRIDAY 5-16-2008, 12:10 a.m. PDT, 07:10 GMT/SUT/CUT On this date in 1797, President John Adams delivered a message to Congress demonizing France (while tilting in favor of England) that set off the first "wag the dog" war started by a U.S. president, a message described by Thomas Jefferson as "nearly insane" (it elevated national disagreements capable of diplomatic resolution into matters of national pride that led to the French/U.S. naval war of 1798-1800: "Such attempts ought to be repelled with a decision which shall convince France and the world that we are not a degraded people, humiliated under a colonial spirit of fear and sense of inferiority, fitted to be the miserable instruments of foreign influence, and regardless of national honor, character, and interest."); in 1903, rumors were published that Senator Patrick Flanigan of Washoe County had purchased the Nevada Power, Light, and Water Company; in 1923, two Tonopah illegal drug users were committed to the state asylum; in 1928, two businessmen from Denver planning an airfield in Fallon dropped a plan to build near the golf course and instead leased the former race track land across the road from the state fairgrounds; in 1939, after the Roosevelt administration sought to purchase Argentine beef that was superior to U.S. beef (and cheaper, too), the Senate took up a House measure banning the purchase, Senate Foreign Relations Committee chair Key Pittman of Nevada denounced the sale, and when President Roosevelt was told at a news conference that western ranching states believed that he "had impugned the honor" of the U.S. cow he replied that he had cast no aspersions on the virtue of the U.S. cow nor the valor of the U.S. bull; in 1939, after a case of short-weighted butter was confiscated from a Reno grocery store, it was given to the county hospital and the Crittenden children's home to be "destroyed by consumption"; in 1948, reporter George Polk, one of "Murrow's boys" at CBS, was murdered in Greece while investigating the right wing Greek regime and its leftist opponents during the Greek civil war; in 1950, Elizabeth Ann Fisher was born at St. Joseph's Hospital in Denver; in 1955, after subduing Taiwanese by massacring 30,000 of the island's inhabitants, the Nationalist Chinese declared Taiwan to be a province of the mainland; in 1955, Harvey Gross opened his Wagon Wheel Saloon at Stateline, Lake Tahoe; in 1966, Pet Sounds, which was partly inspired by Rubber Soul and would help to inspire Sgt. Pepper, was released; in 2002, Assembly Speaker Joe Dini announced his retirement from the Nevada Legislature.
UPDATE THURSDAY 5-15-2008, 1:50 p.m. PDT, 20:50 GMT/SUT/CUT On this date in 1876, a theatrical manager brought his touring company to Reno, ran up bills, then vanished with receipts, and the company said they would go ahead with a performance in hope of satisfying all the claims; in 1880, the Reno Evening Gazette observed "The opposition to the theory of evolution is gradually dying out. Indeed many scientists look upon evolution no longer as a theory but as a law."; in 1905, a gold rush was on to White Horse Canyon and Secret Canyon north of Olinghouse in eastern Washoe County; in 1928, the Nevada State Bar was investigating whether Reno divorce lawyers were paying fortune tellers and hotel employees for divorce case referrals; in 1920, the Constituent Seimas of Lithuania restated the declaration of independence that was proclaimed by the First Lithuania Council on February 16; in 1944, the NBC Radio series I Love A Mystery began a three-week serial, You Can't Pin A Murder On Nevada, about a Nevada prospector falsely accused of murder; in 1947, the House UnAmerican Activities Committee had a series of Hollywood witnesses (Jack Warner, Leo McCarey, Adolph Menjou, Ginger Rogers' mother, Robert Taylor and Richard Arlen) who all denounced alleged communist influence in Hollywood, with actor Robert Taylor telling the committee that he was "forced" to star in Song of Russia; in 1947, officials of the troubled Virginia and Truckee railroad met in Reno with Southern Pacific officials; in 1956, a federal grand jury sitting in Las Vegas recommended to Nevada's members of Congress that Las Vegas Indian Village be broken up, the land sold off, and the Native American residents compensated for the loss of their land; in 1963, Charles Dederich, founder of the secretive paramilitary cult Synanon, met in Reno's State Building with the local Friends of Synanon chapter; in 1965, a 15-hour national teach-in on the Vietnam war, sponsored by the Inter-University Committee for Public Hearings on Vietnam, was held in Washington, D.C. and carried by closed circuit television to more than a hundred colleges; in 1966, civil war was threatening in Vietnam after Saigon dictator Nguyen Cao Ky's dispatch of troops to Da Nang to put down an insurrection and the Associated Press reported that Saigon was preparing for a general strike; in 1970, Religious Heritage of America Inc. announced an award to President Nixon for helping create a climate that encouraged "a return to the spiritual, moral, and ethical values of the Founding Fathers"; in 1969, five weeks after he called for a "bloodbath" against protesters, California Governor Ronald Reagan sent 250 California highway patrol and other local officers into Berkeley to destroy People's Park, a vacant lot of university land that had been converted by local residents and merchants into a park, and the rioting officers supplemented by an additional 550 officers responded to the unruly crowd by opening fire with shotguns, blinding one non-protester, killing another non-protester, and chasing fleeing people while firing the shotguns, injuring more than a hundred people, whereupon Reagan sent the national guard to occupy the city (on May 30, thirty percent of the city's 100,000 population marched in protest against the occupation to a memorial for James Rector, the student who was killed).
UPDATE WEDNESDAY 5-14-2008, 8:35 a.m. PDT, 15:35 GMT/SUT/CUT On this date in 1841, the members of the Mendi village in Sierra Leone who were enslaved, brought to the Americas, and mutinied on board La Amistad, appeared at New York's Tabernacle after they were freed by order of the U.S. Supreme Court but before their return to Africa; in 1877, Charles Bryan, who was a '49er, served in the California Senate and on the California Supreme Court and was a delegate to the first Nevada constitutional convention, died by choking on a piece of meat in Carson City; in 1896, Reno's Tribune reported that Nevada State University students wanted the school's "colors changed from blue and silver to something else"; in 1905, Robert Griffith, later a community leader, arrived in the year-old town of Las Vegas at age six and witnessed the historic auction of town lots; in 1912, the Democratic Party of Nevada, acting under a little known state statute, held Nevada's first presidential primary election in which U.S. House Speaker Champ Clark of Missouri defeated former U.S. attorney general and Ohio governor Judson Harmon and New Jersey Governor Woodrow Wilson (in 1958, legislative researchers discovered that the statute under which the primary was conducted depended for its authority on a second statute that had been repealed before 1912, making the primary illegal); in 1913, in a game against the St. Louis Browns, Washington Senators pitcher Walter Johnson threw his 54th consecutive scoreless inning, a record that stood until broken by Don Drysdale in 1968 (a year later Johnson married Hazel Lee Roberts, the daughter of U.S. Representative Edwin Roberts of Nevada); in 1934, the Las Vegas high school building at the corner of Fourth and Clark burned; in 1955, five days after the U.S. and its allies formed the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, the Soviet Union and its allies announced the Warsaw Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation and Mutual Assistance (which became known as the Warsaw Pact); in 1968, John Lennon and Paul McCartney appeared on The Tonight Show, guest-hosted by Joe Garagiola; in 1975, the U.S. Economic Development Administration granted $175,000 to the Washo tribe for construction of a community center in Woodfords; in 1975, the latest Nevada lottery proposals˜by Assemblymembers Robert Benkovich, R-Sun Valley, and Eileen Brookman, D-Las Vegas, were both killed by the Assembly Judiciary Committee.
UPDATE TUESDAY 5-13-2008, 5:38 p.m. PDT, 01:38 5-14-2008 GMT/SUT/CUT Management requests federal mediator for stalled Reno-Sparks bus system talks with Teamsters Union
Negotiations resume Thursday, May 15 /
Contract expires June 12, 2008 /
Recognition of Martin Luther King, Jr., Holiday rejected again
UPDATE TUESDAY 5-13-2008, 4:08 p.m. PDT, 00:08 5-14-2008 GMT/SUT/CUT Save-Mart Supermarkets has agreed to a neutrality/card check arrangement with United Food and Commercial Workers Local 711 regarding five northern Nevada stores the California-based chain recently acquired from Albertsons. Neutrality is an insufficient word. In a real rarity in this day and age, the company is encouraging its workers to join the union! Somebody check the snowfall report for hell.
"As you know, we operate stores that are represented by unions and stores that are not," a letter to employees states.
"Currently, your store is not. We have always acknowledged and believed, and still do, that it is your right to choose to have union representation or none. In fact, it is the law. For reasons we will explain in this letter, we have come to the conclusion your joining Local 711 is in your best interest, and we urge you to consider doing so," write Steven Junqueiro, Executive Vice-President/Merchandising and Operations and Steven Beaver, Vice-President of Operations.
"The cost of the multi-employer health and welfare plan in the new agreement with Local 711 is far more competitive than the cost of the plan you now have....Because of the agreement we have struck we were able to put together an attractive wage increase for next year," the letter continues, adding that the union will be recognized as the bargaining agent for employees if a simple majority express the desire to do so by signing union authorization cards. (This is how unions are authorized in Canada, as opposed to the perverted process which has evolved under U.S. labor laws, the most repressive in the industrialized world.)
Union representatives and a Save Mart human resources executive have been meeting with workers in their break rooms today. The atmosphere is amazingly congenial.
"You may also ask why Save Mart is neutral when it has taken a position against being represented in the past. Our answer is that we must, and we are, constantly looking at what makes the best long-term sense for our company to survive and thrive. We believe the new contract and the new relationship it reflects with Local 711 gives us the best chance to do just that. We urge you to give thoughtful and strong consideration to what Local 711 has to say," the executives conclude. [Download the entire letter in Adobe Acrobat .pdf format]
Be well. Raise hell.
UPDATE TUESDAY 5-13-2008, 12:32 a.m. PDT, 07:32 GMT/SUT/CUT
Barbano on Nevada Newsmakers statewide TV/podcast/webcast today
On this date in 1540, after massacring Yuchi, Chickasaw and Cherokee, explorer Don Hernando de Soto kidnapped the Lady of Cofitachequi (who had befriended him and given him her string of pearls) from her tribe in northern Georgia and forced her to serve as his guide; in 1846, with little rationale or reason beyond territorial acquisition (the U.S. would gain most of the southwest, including Nevada), the U.S. Congress declared war on Mexico; in 1864, William Henry Christman, a Pennsylvania soldier who died in Lincoln General Hospital, was buried on the grounds of the Robert E. Lee mansion, the first burial at what became Arlington National Cemetery; in 1914, during Woodrow Wilson's latest invasion of Mexico a six month occupation on a flimsy pretext Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels claimed that not one of the 6,000 sailors involved in the invasion and occupation was a drunkard; in 1931, Elko Mayor David Dotta said the town was through aiding Depression travelers making their way from one community to the next: "We have had a continuous string of motorists so far this summer, who are not financially able to travel. We have already given help to a number of them. Elko is not in a position to aid them financially and we have adopted a stringent policy of letting them make their own way."; in 1940 in his first speech as prime minister, Winston Churchill told the House of Commons "I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat", often mistakenly quoted as "blood, sweat, and tears" (radio listeners who thought they heard Churchill make the speech were actually hearing an actor named Norman Shelley, who was hired by the BBC to voice many of Churchill's speeches); in 1956, Las Vegas television station KLRJ broadcast what it said was the city's first remote telecast (a presentation by Las Vegas Review-Journal food editor Muriel Mooney at a housing development at the corner of Bruce and Bonanza); in 1963, FBI agents arrested Reno police officer Fred Paszek on a charge of kidnapping; in 1968, after students at Creighton University in Nebraska told him they supported student draft deferments and felt the draft was a good way for African-Americans to get out of the ghetto, Robert Kennedy chastised them: "Here at a Catholic university, how can you say that we can deal with the problems of the poor by sending them to Vietnam?" (see below); in 1969, Oscar Dan Boydston of Las Vegas died in Thua Thien province, Vietnam (panel 25w, row 95 of the Vietnam wall); in 1980, United Automobile Workers President Douglas Fraser became a member of the board of directors of the Chrysler Corporation.
U.S. Senator Robert Kennedy / Creighton University / May 13, 1968: Here at a Catholic university, how can you say that we can deal with the problems of the poor by sending them to Vietnam? There is a great moral force in the United States about the wrongs of the federal government and all the mistakes Lyndon Johnson has made, and how Congress has failed to pass legislation dealing with civil rights. And yet, when it comes down to you yourselves and your own individual lives, then you say students should be draft deferred. ... How can you possibly say look around you. How many black faces do you see here, how many American Indians, how many Mexican Americans? ... How can you accept this? What I don't understand is that you don't even debate these things among yourselves. You're the most exclusive minority in the world. Are you just going to sit on your duffs and do nothing, or just carry signs and protest?
UPDATE MONDAY 5-12-2008, 12:24 a.m. PDT, 07:24 GMT/SUT/CUT
Historian James Hulse on the Pyramid Lake War: In many cases the "soldiers" were simply ovezealous young men, ready to steal horses and kidnap women.
On this date in 1765 in his journal, George Washington recorded starting two days of planting marijuana "at Muddy hole" at Mount Vernon; in 1860, a group of white settlers led by William Ormsby launched the Pyramid Lake War to defend the right of white sexual predators to rape young Native American girls, marching on Pyramid where they were annihilated by Paiute tribal warriors led by Chief Numaga (to tie everything together neatly, the "soldiers" were probably attacking the wrong tribe); in 1902, 140,000 coal miners around the nation went on strike, staying out for five months until consumer demand forced the companies to negotiate; in 1928, Columbia University President Nicholas Murray Butler (Republican William Howard Taft's second running mate in 1912) said the United States for many years was the "chief obstacle to every movement to make war unlikely"; in 1943 as the Warsaw uprising ended, resistance courier Frania Beatus killed herself rather than surrender to the Nazis; in 1960, Frank Sinatra, who had never been particularly successful on television, finally had a smash hit television special (of course, his guest star was Elvis, newly arrived home from the Army); in 1987, the last episode of Hill Street Blues was broadcast (the final line by a "Sgt. Jenkins" speaking into a phone in a burned out station "Hello, Hill Street" was spoken by actor Lawrence Tierney, who became a star as John Dillinger in 1945's Dillinger, and later became famous again as Elaine Benis' father in Seinfeld); in 2007, Anthony Schober of Reno died in Al Taqa, Iraq; in 2007, the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh awarded honorary degrees to a group of 13 U.S. heroes most people never knew existed women astronauts who matched and usually exceeded the training benchmarks of male astronauts but who were excluded from going up when the rules were changed (at the behest of, among others, Vice-President Lyndon Johnson) to permit only military jet pilots to be admitted to the program (the Soviet Union sent a woman up in 1963, the U.S. not until 1983).
UPDATE SUNDAY 5-11-2008, 9:55 a.m. PDT, 16:55 GMT/SUT/CUT On this date in 1854, Paiute Chief Walkara and Brigham Young met in Juab County, U.S. Territory of Utah, and negotiated a cease fire in the Walker War; in 1864 in the Battle of Yellow Tavern, dashing Confederate General J.E.B. Stuart was shot, mortally wounded, by a 48-year-old Michigan private, John A. Huff; in 1903, a small reservoir on Nevada State University grounds at Ninth and Center streets in Reno came apart, water rushing down the hill into nearby homes; in 1907, plans were being made for a casino hotel in Bijou at Lake Tahoe that would straddle the state border with the hotel in California and the casino in Nevada; in 1923, in a legal opinion addressed to assistant U.S. attorney Charles Cantwell, Nevada Attorney General Michael Diskin said that the poll tax applied to Native Americans in the state; in 1928, the Nevada Democratic Convention meeting in Reno elected S.M. Pickett over Patrick McCarran for Democratic national committeeman from Nevada and chose to support Al Smith for president, sending a delegation pledged to Smith and bound by the unit rule to the national convention in Houston (the delegation of twelve each with half a vote included H.R. Cooke, William Woodburn and Charles Henderson); in 1934, a two-day dust storm swept across the Dust Bowl, doing serious damage to topsoil and watersheds; in 1947, the townsite of Gabbs, including its wartime magnesium oxide plant, was put up for sale by the U.S. War Assets Administration; in 1961, President Kennedy sent letters to six Arab leaders (President Chehab of Lebanon, King Hussein of Jordan, Prime Minister Qassim of Iraq, King Saud of Saudi Arabia, Imam Ahmed of Yemen and President Gamel Abdul Nasser of Egypt) describing his middle east policies and expressing a commitment to aid displaced Palestinians, but only "on the basis of the principle of repatriation or compensation for properties", not restoration of property or rights; in 1962, U.S. Defense Secretary Robert McNamara made his first trip to Vietnam (on one of his inspection trips, reporter Neil Sheehan was at the airport to cover his arrival and said to his fellow reporters in a mock-Oriental accent "Ah so, another foolish westerner come to lose reputation to Ho Chi Minh"); in 1964, Capitol released in the U.S. an extended play 45 of four Beatles songs (Please Mr. Postman, This Boy, Roll Over Beethoven and All My Loving) that scarcely made a blip on the record charts and then sank without a trace; in 1970, the Woodstock album was released and quickly went gold, a remarkable achievement for a three-disc album; in 1972, U.S.-supported Saigon dictator Nguyen Van Thieu declared martial law and lowered the draft age to 17; in 1974 in Farmington, New Mexico, 1,500 Native Americans, a substantial part of the area population, marched in protest against the treatment of Navajos by the city government ("I felt just a little like Custer, surrounded by nothing but brown faces..."said the newly elected mayor).
UPDATE SATURDAY 5-10-2008, 1:22 a.m. PDT, 08:22 GMT/SUT/CUT
Reno-Sparks NAACP asks that Regional Transportation Commission finally honor Martin Luther King, Jr., Holiday
RTC talks with Teamsters Local 533 today
Heinrich Heine/1830: Where books are burned, human beings are destined to be burned too.
On May 10, 1849, in New York City, competing versions of Macbeth were playing with William Macready and Edwin Forrest in the title role, and Forrest groupies went to the Astor Place Opera House and physically attacked Macready on stage, setting off rioting in Manhattan that left 22 people dead; in 1877, President Hayes signed an executive order reserving Carlin Farms in Nevada for the Northwestern Shoshone tribe (Hayes revoked the order on January 16, 1879); in 1911, a justice of the peace in Virginia City upheld the constitutionality of a law prohibiting the placement of a house of prostitution near a school and denied a defense motion to dismiss the case at issue; in 1933, one of the ugly benchmarks of the 20th century occurred in Berlin the Nazi book burning of 25,000 "un-German" books; in 1954, Rock Around the Clock by Bill Haley and the Comets was released but went nowhere (it became a hit a year later when it was used in the soundtrack of The Blackboard Jungle); in 1969, the great Get Back by The Beatles and Billy Preston debuted; in 1972, after KOLO and CBS (then the dominant television network) had repeated disputes over programming and time slots in Reno, CBS jerked its affiliation from KOLO and switched it to KTVN, and ABC (then the weakest of the networks) moved to KOLO; in 1988, the second season of the NBC series Crime Story, set in Las Vegas, ended on this date with a cliffhanger that was never resolved because the series was cancelled before the start of the next season.
UPDATE FRIDAY 5-9-2008, 8:10 a.m. PDT, 15:10 GMT/SUT/CUT
Nevada State Journal / May 9, 1880: A painful rumor was extant yesterday that a Reno man had $50 in his pocket. Crowds flocked to try and find him. Success indifferent.
On this date in 1868, the town of Reno, Nevada, was established with the auction of 400 lots; in 1907, a Reno physician named DeHaslea was arrested for murder after he performed an abortion and the patient, Mrs. Edward Huntington, died; in 1927, Nevada Treasurer Ed Malley, former controller George Cole and former Carson Valley Bank cashier H.P. Clapp were in the Ormsby County jail recanting confessions and $516,000 was missing from the state treasury; in 1928, the White Pine county commissioners authorized an air field at East Ely, the Winnemucca chamber of commerce endorsed construction of an airfield there, and Eureka County was being lobbied to join an Elko/Eureka/Ely air route; in 1940, the tiny nation of Luxembourg was invaded by the Third Reich in violation of its neutrality and Grand Duchess Charlotte and the cabinet fled to London where a government in exile was established; in 1942, the University of Nevada Regents adopted a regulation that "no further matriculation be permitted of persons of Japanese birth or ancestry, unless born in the State of Nevada"; in 1960, the Food and Drug Administration approved use of The Pill; in 1965, Donovan and The Beatles were in the audience when Bob Dylan performed at the Royal Albert Hall; in 1970, H. James Shea, Jr., a Massachusetts state legislator who sponsored the state law that said no citizen of the state could be forced to fight in an undeclared war and sent the Massachusetts attorney general into court to defend any soldier who refused to serve in Vietnam, killed himself in despair over the widening of the war into Cambodia and the resulting tumult across the U.S.; in 1974, nine months after the Nixon administration engineered the September 11 overthrow of the democratic government of Chile, Phil Ochs, Pete Seeger, Melanie, Larry Estridge, Bob Dylan and Dave Van Ronk performed in concert in New York to raise money for victims of the Chilean junta; in 1975, a Native American employee of the Washoe County school district accused the district of mis-using federal funds earmarked for tribal education by "trying to eliminate us from the curriculum"; in 1983, the Catholic Church reversed the condemnation of Galileo Galilei for supporting Copernicus' theory of a stationary sun and a mobile earth; in 2001, a photograph was taken at a White House gathering that included George Bush and lobbyist Jack Abramoff in the same frame, and in 2006 it became the first photo of the two men made public (by Kickapoo tribal leader Raul Garza in The New York Times) after the White House spent weeks trying to suppress all such photos.
UPDATE THURSDAY 5-8-2008, 4:00 p.m. PDT, 23:00 GMT/SUT/CUT
HENDERSON I am sad to report that Thom Pastor, Secretary-Treasurer of Musicians Local 369, was involved in a horrific accident last night. His car was struck by a drunk driver traveling in excess of 100 miles per hour. Tom is currently undergoing surgery at Sunrise Hospital in Las Vegas. He has sustained a broken neck, shoulder, ribs and other injuries.
There is no visitation allowed at this time. However, cards and flowers may be sent to Sunrise Hospital in his name. We will keep you informed as more information becomes available.
Musicians Union official recovering after near-fatal traffic accident
Las Vegas Sun 5-8-2008
UPDATE THURSDAY 5-8-2008, 7:01 a.m. PDT, 14:01 GMT/SUT/CUT On this date in 1786, Saint John Vianney, patron saint of draft dodgers, was born near Lyon (in 1808 he hid in the mountain community to avoid service with the French Army on the Spanish lines and was able to return to his home town after Napoleon granted amnesty to deserters and others in 1810); in 1897, the abolition of the whipping post in Delaware prompted the Reno Evening Gazette to point out that Nevada still had an old law on the books providing for the use of a whipping post against men "who shall willingly and violently strike, beat, or torture the body of any maiden or woman who is more than sixteen years of age"; in 1907, several feet of the top of the state capitol flag pole was lying in a capitol hallway after it was snapped off the pole by a Washoe zephyr and the heavy steel ball at the top of the pole put a hole in the roof of the building; in 1943, Mordecai Anielewicz, the leader of the Warsaw ghetto uprising, was executed by the Nazis (he wrote that he would die happy, knowing that after centuries of the Catholic Church forcing Jews into ghettos "I have lived to see Jewish resistance in the ghetto in all its greatness and glory"); in 1950, President Truman's secretary of state, Dean Acheson, was meeting with the French in Paris about his plans to get the U.S. involved in the Indochina war; in 1956, much of Roxie's, once a house of prostitution in Clark County, Nevada, burned down; in 1970, student protestors were attacked and beaten by New York City construction workers who were later honored at the White House by President Nixon; in 1970, the Let It Be album was released; in 2000, Germany removed the name of Wehrmacht Chief of Air Defence Gunther Rudel, a veteran of both world wars, from a military base and renamed it for Sgt. Anton Schmid, who saved more than 250 Jews in the Vilnius ghetto from the Nazis; in 2002, the Women's Chamber of Commerce of Nevada was established.
UPDATE WEDNESDAY 5-7-2008, 6:28 a.m. PDT, 13:28 GMT/SUT/CUT
258 days remain in the current presidential term of office.
On May 7, 1860, white men at Williams Station on the Carson River kidnapped Native American girls, provoking an attack by tribal members who burned the station to the ground, whereupon a white force attacked the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe (they were probably attacking the wrong tribe, since the attack on Williams Station was likely made by the Bannocks); in 1907, banker Richard Kirman defeated incumbent Reno mayor N.E. Wilson, 704 to 562; in 1930, the United States Senate voted 41 to 39 to reject President Hoover's nomination of racist John Parker to be a justice of the Supreme Court (Nevada's Tasker Oddie voted for Parker, Key Pittman voted against him), a victory that projected the NAACP which had led the fight into the political big leagues; in 1945, German Chancellor Karl Doenitz ordered an unconditional surrender to Allied forces, ending the European war; in 1955 in a track meet at Mackay Stadium in Reno, San Francisco State's John Mathis later famous as a singer broke a stadium high jump record (breaking at 6 feet, 5.5 inches) that had been set the previous year at Mackay by Bill Russell, later the basketball great; in 1960, the Eisenhower administration admitted that one of its spy planes, which it had previously claimed was a weather plane, had "probably" flown over Soviet territory (given that the plane had been shot down two days earlier, the probability was high); in 1966, Del Shannon's The Big Hurt and Simon and Garfunkel's I Am A Rock entered Billboard's top 100; in 1999, the University of Nevada held opening ceremonies for its fire academy in Carlin (design flaws and groundwater contamination associated with the facility later came to light, prompting the university to default on payments for the construction).
[[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 TUESDAY 5-6-2008, 8:05 a.m. PDT, 15:05 GMT/SUT/CUT On this date in 1880, Storey County's Virginia Evening Chronicle offered Democrats a subscription through the November election for $5, and the newspaper's ad assured prospective subscribers that it "advocates Democratic principles because it believes that the fundamental doctrines of that party for the life and essence of the American system of government, while those of the Republic party aim to the overthrow of popular government"; in 1919, 161 voters turned out in the Las Vegas municipal election; in 1923, the Nevada Federation of Labor held a festival at Moana Springs; in 1933, Berlin's Institut für Sexualwissenschaft, a research center that studied human sexuality, was destroyed by the Nazis (its library 20,000 volumes and the writings of its director, Magnus Hirschfeld, a supporter of gay rights, were burned in a book burning four days later); in 1940, John Steinbeck received the Pulitzer Prize for The Grapes of Wrath; in 1943, Frank "Pappy" Neal won the Pulitizer Prize for a photograph he took while drifting at sea in a lifeboat after the freighter in which he was fleeing Singapore for Burma was torpedoed (another lifeboat came close to his and he snapped a photo of an Indian pleading for water); in 1943, some Reno stores began staying open late at the request of war production officials who believed that absenteeism in critical war work was the result of shopping that could not be done after working hours; in 1952, Reno bookies sued the Nevada Tax Commission to halt proposed state regulation of bookmaking; in 1967, U.S. Rep. Walter Baring of Nevada announced that the U.S. Economic Development Administration had allocated $40,000 to the Pyramid Lake Indian Tribe for an inventory of potable water sources and a land use plan for the reservation; in 1970, reaction to the invasion of Cambodia continued to build, fueled by the May 4 killings at Kent State, and classes were boycotted at 300 campuses, another 536 campuses shut down altogether, and faculties, staffs and administrators made common cause with students; in 2005, under pressure from the Inquisition, Catholic Jesuit journalist Thomas Reese was forced off the staff of the Jesuit weekly America because he had written articles critical of church positions.
UPDATE MONDAY 5-5-2008, 12:17 a.m. PDT, 07:17 GMT/SUT/CUT On this date in 1862, four thousand Mexican soldiers defeated a French and collaborationist Mexican army of 8,000 at La Puebla de los Ángeles, Mexico, showing the nation's ability to defend its sovereignty against an army feared throughout Europe, a notable victory that for some reason has become widely celebrated in the United States (Mexican independence day is September 15 or 16 1810); in 1866, the second of three enlargements of Nevada's original territory occurred when 18,325 square miles were detached from the Territory of Utah and added to the State of Nevada; in 1877, tired of the harassment of forces led by Colonel Nelson Miles, Chief Sitting Bull (Tatanka Yotanka) led the Lakota into Canada; in 1899, the 160 subscribers of the telephone company in the Truckee Meadows necessitated a new switchboard that accommodated 300; in 1904, Boston pitcher Cy Young threw a perfect game against Detroit, the first perfect game since 1880; in 1931, Albert Einstein and Heinrich Mann accused the Yugoslav government of assassinating Croatian scholar Milan Sufflay in Zagreb and called for protection for the people of Croatia; in 1931, Reno Mayor Ed Roberts, a national symbol of permissiveness, was elected to a third term on a promise to keep the city wide open; in 1955, West Germany became a sovereign state and the U.S. stopped calling its occupation an occupation; in 1967, San Francisco by Scott McKenzie, the anthem of the flower children, first appeared on the music charts; in 1970, Lloyd Willner Jackson, a 22 year-old Native American from Austin, Nevada, died in Thua Thien province, Vietnam (panel 11w line 124 of the Vietnam wall); in 1970, one day after Kent State, University of Nevada officials decided not to cancel an already scheduled ROTC ceremonial inspection on the Reno campus, thus guaranteeing that the military event and campus protests against the invasion of Cambodia and the deaths at Kent State would collide, as they did; in 1992, the 27th Amendment, barring members of Congress from raising their own pay, was ratified 203 years after Congress sent it to the states for ratification; in 2000, the earth shifted 90 degrees on its axis, causing crustal plates to shift, setting off earthquakes, tidal waves, flooding, volcanic eruptions (or so author Richard Noone predicted for this date in his 1997 book 5/5/2000 Ice: The Ultimate Disaster).
UPDATE SUNDAY 5-4-2008, 12:19 a.m. PDT, 07:19 GMT/SUT/CUT On May 4, 1970, Ohio National Guardsmen opened fire on anti-war protesters at Kent State University, killing four students and wounding nine others. [New York Times/AP e-headlines]; on this date in 1868, the Central Pacific Railroad reached the site of Reno. Town lots were sold five days later. [Nevada Magazine calendar]
UPDATE FRIDAY 5-3-2008, 12:01 a.m. PDT, 07:01 GMT/SUT/CUT On this date in 1906, Congress created the Ruby Mountain National Forest in Elko County [Nevada Magazine calendar]; in 1971, anti-war protesters calling themselves the Mayday Tribe began four days of demonstrations in Washington, D.C., aimed at shutting down the nation's capital. [New York Times/AP e-headlines];
UPDATE FRIDAY 5-2-2008, 12:19 a.m. PDT, 07:19 GMT/SUT/CUT On this date in 1568, aided by an orphan, Mary, Queen of Scots, broke out of Lochleven Castle where she had been imprisoned by Scottish nobles, reached shore (the castle is on an island), stole a horse and made good her escape; in 1863, Confederate Gen. Thomas (Stonewall) Jackson was fired on by his own troops, dying the next week; in 1911, the installation of a Sutro tunnel telephone system that allowed calls among the tunnel, its laterals, Virginia City and Sutro city, was complete; in 1924, Columbia University President Nicholas Murray Butler, a leading Republican who was President Taft's second running mate in 1912, said he was going to the Republican National Convention to fight for repeal of alcohol prohibition; in 1924, rumors were flying that J.P. Donnelley, chief of federal alcohol prohibition enforcement in Nevada, was about to be indicted by the same grand jury that a week earlier called for his removal from office; in 1931, God Dies, an award winning essay written by West Seattle High School senior Frances Farmer, later the movie star, was published in the Scholastic (see below), arousing alarm among red-baiters about atheism in the schools; in 1931, the $300,000 Meadows Supper Club opened in Las Vegas; in 1945, Berlin fell to the Russian army; in 1957, Elvis recorded Jailhouse Rock; in 1957, hit man Vincent Gigante shot gangster Frank Costello in the lobby of an apartment building on Central Park West (a slip of paper with the figure $651,284 on it was found in Costello's pocket, and the figure turned out to be the gross profit for the Las Vegas Tropicana Casino's first 24 days of business); in 1980, South Africa banned Pink Floyd's Another Brick in the Wall (Part II) with its chant of "We Don't Need No Education", which Bantu children adopted as a protest against inadequate schooling for blacks; in 1989, Nevada Attorney General Brian McKay issued an opinion saying that a Nevada law allowing mobile home parks to discriminate on the basis of age was invalidated by the federal Fair Housing Amendments Act of 1988.
by Frances Farmer
No one ever came to me and said, "You're a fool. There isn't such a thing as God. Somebody's been stuffing you." It wasn't a murder. I think God just died of old age. And when I realized that he wasn't any more, it didn't shock me. It seemed natural and right.
Maybe it was because I was never properly impressed with a religion. I went to Sunday school and liked the stories about Christ and the Christmas star. They were beautiful. They made you warm and happy to think about. But I didn't believe them. The Sunday School teacher talked too much in the way our grade school teacher used to when she told us about George Washington. Pleasant, pretty stories, but not true.
Religion was too vague. God was different. He was something real, something I could feel. But there were only certain times when I could feel it. I used to lie between cool, clean sheets at night after I'd had a bath, after I had washed my hair and scrubbed my knuckles and finger nails and teeth. Then I could lie quite still in the dark with my face to the window with the trees in it, and talk to God. "I am clean, now. I've never been as clean. I'll never be cleaner." And somehow, it was God. I wasn't sure that it was just something cool and dark and clean.
That wasn't religion, though. There was too much of the physical about it. I couldn't get that same feeling during the day, with my hands in dirty dish water and the hard sun showing up the dirtiness on the roof-tops. And after a time, even at night, the feeling of God didn't last. I began to wonder what the minister meant when he said, "God, the father, sees even the smallest sparrow fall. He watches over all his children." That jumbled it all up for me. But I was sure of one thing. If God were a father, with children, that cleanliness I had been feeling wasn't God. So at night, when I went to bed, I would think, "I am clean. I am sleepy." And then I went to sleep. It didn't keep me from enjoying the cleanness any less. I just knew that God wasn't there. He was a man on a throne in Heaven, so he was easy to forget.
Sometimes I found he was useful to remember; especially when I lost things that were important. After slamming through the house, panicky and breathless from searching, I could stop in the middle of a room and shut my eyes. "Please God, let me find my red hat with the blue trimmings." It usually worked. God became a super-father that couldn't spank me. But if I wanted a thing badly enough, he arranged it.
That satisfied me until I began to figure that if God loved all his children equally, why did he bother about my red hat and let other people lose their fathers and mothers for always? I began to see that he didn't have much to do about hats, people dying or anything. They happened whether he wanted them to or not, and he stayed in heaven and pretended not to notice. I wondered a little why God was such a useless thing. It seemed a waste of time to have him. After that he became less and less, until he was nothingness.
I felt rather proud to think that I had found the truth myself, without help from any one. It puzzled me that other people hadn't found out, too. God was gone. We were younger. We had reached past him. Why couldn't they see it? It still puzzles me. [PDA]
UPDATE THURSDAY 5-1-2008, 10:21 a.m. PDT, 17:21 GMT/SUT/CUT On this date in 1866, a three-day lynching spree began in Memphis, with 46 African-Americans taken from their homes and murdered; in 1873, the county seat of Humboldt County, Nevada, was moved from Unionville to Winnemucca; in 1886, a strike in Chicago for an eight-hour day was begun, a challenge to economic power that later became International Workers Day and gave May Day its name, and it took place in a period of economic brutality and robber barons. On the same day, Boston plumbers and carpenters issued a strike treat against the Master Building Association unless an eight-hour day was allowed, brewers at a Philadelphia firm struck, a building trades strike was scheduled in the District of Columbia, a labor mass meeting was held in San Francisco, furniture makers and cigar makers unions in San Francisco imposed an eight-hour day without bothering to ask employers, the Baltimore Sun agreed to an eight-hour day for carpenters it employed, St. Louis carpentry employers agreed to an eight-hour day, and business and journalism throughout the country tried to play workers off against each other, particularly against Chinese workers (two days after the first May Day, Chicago police fired into a crowd of strikers, killing four people and wounding many more); in 1888 in Washington, part way through his second term in the U.S. House of Representatives, William Woodburn of Nevada decided he'd had enough and wired Republican leader R.H. Lindsay in Reno, "Have concluded not to run for Congress. Am tired of fighting men in our party. Nominate a winner."; in 1888, a smallpox quarantine of residences on the Comstock Divide was lifted; in 1908, California physician S.A. Ellis, who had mining investments at Searchlight, said he believed the town would make a good health resort and sanitarium because "I know of no better place for people affected with lung troubles"; in 1922, the first known federal broadcasting license issued to a Nevada station, license 224, was issued to station KOJ at the University of Nevada; in 1931 on the eve of the effective date of Nevada's new divorce law (shortening the residency period to six weeks) the Washoe County clerk said he had made preparations for what he believed would be an "avalanche" of divorce suit filings; in 1957, a committee established by the U.S. Senate to select the five greatest senators in history to be honored with portraits in the capital announced its choices: Daniel Webster, John C. Calhoun, Henry Clay, Robert La Follette and Robert Taft (actually, these were not the committee's first choices Nebraska's senators Carl Curtis and Roman Hruska had threatened to halt senate business in protest if the committee's top choice, George Norris of Nebraska, was selected); in 1960, a U.S. spy plane was shot down while over the Soviet Union, prompting President Eisenhower, secure in the knowledge that the pilot was dead, to lie about its mission, claiming it was a weather research plane that had strayed off its course (then the pilot, Francis Gary Powers, turned up inconveniently alive, exposing the lie and prompting a condemnation by New York Times reporter Hanson Baldwin of the pilot for failing to kill himself); in 1965, Mrs. Brown You've Got a Lovely Daughter by Herman's Hermits hit number one in the U.S., later spawning a movie of the same name; in 1967 in Las Vegas, Elvis married Priscilla Beaulieu, the ceremony performed by Nevada Supreme Court Justice David Zenoff; in 1968, Michael Kenneth Hastings of Las Vegas, Nevada, died in Quang Tri province, Vietnam (panel 42e line 18on the Vietnam wall); in 1996, during an epidemic of Fecal-oral route disease, Reno Hilton executive Ferenc Szony imposed a system of penalizing workers for sick days, resulting in employees working while sick and spreading the disease, sparking an outbreak of food poisoning at the hotel; in 2006, immigrant workers and their families and supporters marched in Chicago, birthplace of May Day, against anti-immigrant legislation now being debated in the US House and Senate, a march supported by a surprising array of management leaders, including the Illinois Restaurant Association and meat processing giant Cargill, which shut down for the day in support of immigrants.
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