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Update: Tuesday, May 23, 2006, 1:10 a.m. PDT — Democratic Party national chairman Howard Dean, MD, will headline the Nevada State AFL-CIO Committee on Political Education (COPE) state convention scheduled for May 30-June 1 at the Luxor Hotel-Casino in Las Vegas. If matters progress as usual, a wide range of state and local political hopefuls will address the event, seeking the endorsement of organized labor in this year's elections. Registration and a reception featuring the former Vermont governor and presidential candidate will highlight the event's ramp-up day. The heaviest death-defyin' speechifyin' will take place on May 31 if bygone years are any guide. The getaway day is usually anti-climactic, but some interesting rhubarbs about candidates or resolutions have been known to erupt in the waning hours, fittingly accompanied by a symphony of jangling car keys and rustling plane tickets from the back of the room.

UPDATE 6-2-2006: Some candidates endorsed, some not

ON MAY 23, 1910, author Margaret Wise Brown (Goodnight Moon, Runaway Bunny) was born in Brooklyn; 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 (EDITOR'S NOTE: Bro. Price is a 40+ year member of IBEW Local 357, Las Vegas); in 1937, in Reno federal narcotics agent Chris Hansen made bail after being arrested in a narcotics raid by federal agents; 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 1960, acting on information obtained from war criminal hunter Simon Wiesenthal, Israel announced it had kidnapped Adolf Eichmann from Buenos Aries; in 1965, 500 Nevadans attended the opening of Las Vegas' newest park, Tule Springs Ranch; in 1965, the base hospital at Nellis Air Force Base moved from a World War Two-era building to a new $2 million structure; 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; in 2004, the Nevada Historical Society held a Centennial Jubilee Garden Party.

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: Monday, May 22, 2006, 3:34 a.m. PDT — ON THIS DATE in 1868, the Reno brothers, who had staged the first U.S. train robbery in Indiana in 1866, robbed a Jefferson, Madison, and Indianapolis Railroad train near Marshfield, Indiana, taking more than $90,000 (among connoisseurs of such things, this is one of the most admired train robberies in its planning and execution, so much so that it is known as the Great Train Robbery); 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, at London's Old Bailey, suffrage leader Emmaline Pankhurst and the editors of Votes for Women, were convicted of malicious damage to property and sentenced to nine months in jail; in 1912, at Reno's St. Thomas Catholic Church, Father Meagher gave a sermon on "Marriage and Divorce"; 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 1939, Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini signed a ''Pact of Steel'' committing Germany and Italy to a military alliance [New York Times e-headlines]; in 1944, U.S. war labor board chair William 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 had the right 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 at the time); in 1968, Cream's Disraeli Gears went gold; in 1974, White House aide John McLaughlin, a Catholic priest who repeatedly defended President Nixon, was called to Boston by his church superior for "prayer and reflection" after he defended the heavy use of profanity in the Nixon tapes; in 1976, boxer Oscar Bonavena was murdered at the Mustang Ranch brothel; in 1997, U.S. Air Force officers forced bomber pilot Kelly Flinn out of the service by threatening her with prosecution for adultery.

Update: Sunday, May 21, 2006, 6:03 a.m. PDT — BREAKING NEWS: LV pharmacy workers lockout over health care costs tentatively settled

[[EDITOR'S NOTE: Unless otherwise noted, historical items appear courtesy of longtime Nevada reporter Dennis Myers' Poor Denny's Almanac. Items highlighted in blue are of particular interest to labor. Copyright © 2006 Dennis Myers.]]

Update: Sunday, May 21, 2006, 5:55 a.m. PDT — ON THIS DATE in 1927, Charles A. Lindbergh landed his Spirit of St. Louis near Paris, completing the first solo airplane flight across the Atlantic Ocean. [New York Times e-headlines]

 On May 21, 1832, the Democratic Party held its first national convention to choose Martin Van Buren as vice presidential running mate for President Jackson after Jackson and Vice President John C. Calhoun split over slavery and federalism; in 1866, in Gold Hill, the Good Templars were organized with about 30 members and served (in the words of one history book) to exert "a positive influence in building up society and neutralizing the virus of the criminal element"; 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 1880, the Nevada State Journal reported "There is no denying the fact that Reno is dull. Every man will tell you so. Some attribute the stagnation to one cause and some to another, but there is a unanimity of opinion as to the result."; in 1883, Wisconsin attorney Kate Kane was released from the county jail in Milwaukee after serving 30 days for contempt of court (she threw a glass of water in a judge's face); 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 railroad through the Yosemite Valley; in 1884, in Paris the Statue of Liberty was completed; in 1897, with marriage within a year after a divorce forbidden under a new California law, the tugboat Vigilant discovered a new source of income — taking couples to sea to be married; in 1897, the Reno Evening Gazette asked "How long will it be before Reno shakes the barnacles off and gets in the procession of the march of progress and prosperity now rampant in other localities? We seem to be degenerating instead of progressing. What, if anything, are we doing to help ourselves? Finding fault and crying hard times availeth us nothing."; in 1904, Thomas "Fats" Waller was born in New York City; in 1906, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that U.S. Senator Ralph Burton would have to go to prison for accepting money from the Rialto Grain & Securities of Missouri in exchange for intervening with the post office on the company's behalf (it was Burton's second trip to the Supreme Court — a January 16 1905 ruling also went against Burton).; 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 cathederal; in 1927, Charles Lindbergh became the 67th person to fly across the Atlantic (but the first to do it alone); 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 1955, Chuck Berry had his first recording date for Chess Records in Chicago; in 1969, John and Yoko began their bed-in for peace in Montreal; in 1973, Sierra Pacific Power was making another run at saddling the state with a nuclear power plant; in 1973, in remarks to a Reno Rotary Club, Reno Evening Gazette/Nevada State Journal publisher Richard Shuster challenged earlier comments by New Hampshire Union Leader publisher William Loeb (Loeb was a tax resident of Nevada), saying that if Loeb followed through on instructing his reporters to reveal their confidential sources and turn over their notes to grand juries, then Union Leader reporters "will be the loneliest individuals in the world"; 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 1990, the situation comedy Newhart ended its eight-year run with an episode that stunned and delighted viewers — Bob Newhart woke up in bed with Suzanne Pleshette, his wife from his previous sitcom The Bob Newhart Show, making the whole eight-year series a dream.

Update: Saturday, May 20, 2006, 3:41 a.m. PDT — ON THIS DATE in 1873, a patent application filed by Reno tailor Jacob Davis and San Francisco businessman Levi Strauss on Davis' copper riveted dungarees was approved, the patent granted, giving birth to an icon (see below); in 1912, in San Diego Sheriff P.M. Jennings announced that Peter McAvoy of the Industrial Workers of the World, who had taken part in a free speech campaign in the city, had been sent to San Quentin Prison for destroying jail property after he was jailed for a free speech violation; 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 1913, a year after Emma Goldman was denied the right to speak by vigilantes in San Diego and she and her friend Ben Reitman (were) kidnapped by the vigilantes, tarred, and forced out of the city, both of them returned to San Diego to try again and were arrested and forced out of town again; in 1920, the Utah Construction Company was buiding a railroad from Fernley to Pyramid Lake and was planning a steam launch on the lake; in 1937, George Orwell, fighting in battle for the Spanish Republic, was shot in the throat by a sniper; in 1960, the Southern Baptist Conference condemned the election of Catholics to public office; in 1961, a white mob in Montgomery, Alabama attacked freedom riders traveling in interstate buses to integrate bus service, forcing the Kennedy administration to send 400 U.S. marshals to Alabama to guarantee the riders' safety; in 1964, Viva Las Vegas (the movie, not the song) was released; 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 Oakland a turbulent meeting of the board of education ended with a crowd that was protesting the appointment as Oakland school chief of former Clark County superintendent of schools James Mason being maced by police (at the same time, in Las Vegas, Mason was being investigated by the county prosecutor over a book contract); 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; in 1995, at the request of the Secret Service, President Clinton closed Pennsylvania in front of the White House (the Republican party promised in its national platform to reopen it, but has not done so); in 1995, the first game of the Arena Football League was played in Las Vegas between San Jose and Las Vegas; in 2004, Levi Strauss corporate historian Lynn Downey spoke at the Governor's Mansion in Carson City on "Levi's: Born in Nevada"; in 2006, a marker commemorating Davis' invention of Levi's will be unveiled near the site of his tailor shop in downtown Reno.

Historian Guy Louis Rocha: Copper rivets in jeans: A Reno idea

Martin Griffith, Associated Press: World's oldest jeans displayed at Levi's commemoration in Reno

Update: Friday, May 19, 2006, 1:14 a.m. PDT — ON THIS DATE in 1877, U.S. Mint Director Henry R. Linderman instructed Carson City Mint Superintendent James Crawford, "You are hereby authorized and directed to melt all 20-cent pieces you have on hand, and you will debit 'Silver Profit Fund' with any loss thereon" which except for a very few of the pieces that might have been paid out earlier and a handful shipped east for the annual assay, resulted in all the 1876 'CC' mintage being melted down with fewer than twenty surviving (one sold in 2003 for $253,000); in 1890, Ho Chi Minh was born (probably as Nguyen Tat Thanh) at Kimlien, Vietnam; in 1903, President Theodore Roosevelt visited Truckee, Reno and Carson City accompanied by Nevada Governor John Sparks who four years later would dupe Roosevelt into sending troops to Goldfield for a nonexistent emergency (the troops were instead used to break the mining unions); in 1905, after the death of a massive bull on his ranch south of Reno, Governor Sparks had the head stuffed and presented it to the Arlington Hotel in Carson City; in 1905, U.S. Senator George Nixon of Nevada received a wire from U.S. inspector of public buildings in response to his inquiry about whether plans for the Reno federal building could be changed and the answer was no on the exterior, yes on the interior; in 1925, Malcolm X was born as Malcolm Little in Omaha; in 1928, states and chambers of commerce around the west were organizing to try to get Congress to override President Coolidge's veto of 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 1935, T.E. Lawrence, also known as "Lawrence of Arabia," died in England from injuries sustained in a motorcycle crash [New York Times e-headlines]; 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 1962, Guild Gray, former Clark County school superintendent, Lyon County school superintendent and Reno High School principal (and later a state legislator), received the Phi Delta Kappa education award at a banquet in Las Vegas; in 1962, the Reno Evening Gazette carried an editorial noting Tasker Oddie's role as a U.S. senator in obtaining federal aid for road building in the west; in 1962, plans were made public for a fish hatchery in Verdi for which the Nevada Legislature had provided $217,000; in 1969, the great Beatles single Get Back went gold; in 1992, Vice President Dan Quayle criticized the situation comedy Murphy Brown without (he later admitted) ever seeing it.

Update: Thursday, May 18, 2006, 5:49 a.m. PDT — ON THIS DATE in 1591, Acre in Palestine, the last territory held by the Crusaders, was liberated by Egypt; in 1886, the bondholders for Storey County Sheriff Robert Morrison, who disappeared earlier in the year with $1,680 (the equivalent of $34,000 in 2005 dollars), met and decided to pay the amounts for which they were liable; 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 1897, at the Royal Lyceum Theatre in London, Dracula was read for the purpose of qualifying it for theatrical copyrights (this version of the story was used only once and never performed again until a copy was located and used for a centennial performance in 1997); in 1904, the president of Western Union said the company would no longer accept race results for transmission over its lines; in 1904, an inquest was held into the deaths of two young women who drowned at Laughton Spring west of Reno as Native Americans searched the Truckee River for their two dates 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, over a luncheon, Reno businesspeople raised $10,000 ($205,000 in 2005 dollars) for support of the Reno YMCA and construction of a Y building; 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 1914, members of the Eagles lodge gathering in Reno for their state convention were told by Reno Mayor Fred Shair that "they could go as far as they liked" (as one news report put it) and Police Chief John Hillhouse and Sheriff A.A. Burke cautioned their deputies against making arrests; in 1928, labor leader William "Big Bill" Haywood, a founder of the Industrial Workers of the World (The Wobblies) who spent part of his adolescence working as a miner in Nevada's Humboldt County and whose wife, Nevada Jane Haywood, died in Winnemucca, himself died in Russia (his ashes are buried at the Kremlin wall and near the Chicago memorial to the Haymarket martyrs); in 1928, President Coolidge vetoed a bill providing $3,500,000 for road building on federally managed lands and tribal reservations and U.S. Senator Tasker Oddie of Nevada said he would reintroduce the measure; in 1928, appropriations for a naval ammunition depot near Hawthorne and a post office in Reno both made progress in the congressional budget process; in 1939, U.S. military officials held a mock invasion and blackout drill in Hawaii to test the loyalty of "Oriental" Hawaiians; 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 band for Johnny Gentle; in 1963, Joan Baez and Bob Dylan attracted attention singing as a duo at the first Monterey Folk Festival; in 1978, The Buddy Holly Story, a fiction version of Holly's life starring Gary Busey, premiered; in 1980, Mount St. Helens erupted, killing 58 people; in 2003, Les Miserables closed after a 16-year Broadway run (6,680 performances).

Nevada Jane
By Bruce Phillips (1973)

And when he stumbles in with blood upon his shirt,
Washing up alone, just to hide the hurt,
He will lie down by your side and wake you with your name,
You'll hold him in your arms, Nevada Jane. (Chorus)

Nevada Jane went riding, her pony took a fall,
The doctor said she never would walk again at all;
But Big Bill could lift her lightly, the big hands rough and plain
Would gently carry home Nevada Jane.

The storms of Colorado rained for ten long years,
The mines of old Montana were filled with blood and tears,
Utah, Arizona, California heard the name
Of the man who always loved Nevada Jane. (Chorus)

Although the ranks are scattered like leaves upon the breeze,
And with them go the memory of harder times than these,
Some things never change, but always stay the same,
Just like the way Bill loved Nevada Jane. (Chorus)

Update: Wednesday, May 17, 2006, 4:06 a.m. PDT — ON THIS DATE in 1954, the [U.S.] Supreme Court issued its landmark Brown vs. Board of Education of Topeka ruling, which declared that racially segregated public schools were inherently unequal. [New York Times e-headlines]

 On May 17, 1885, Arizona whites panicked when Geronimo escaped from the reservation for the second time (he was never captured but returned of his own accord, to be exiled to Florida); 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 the general assembly of the U.S. Presbyterian Church, William Jennings Bryan was the first candidate nominated for church moderator and another candidate — Republican National chair Will Hays — threw his support to Bryan; in 1923, President Harding unveiled a statue of Alexander Hamilton in Washington; in 1923, the director of the U.S. Mint informed the Nevada Mine Operators Association that silver purchases required under the Pittman Act had been reduced to ten million ounces and that mine owners had better get their tenders in fast; in 1941, the day's big story in the Reno Evening Gazette had a now-familiar ring: "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 the Catholic and Baptist 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 1968, Robert Warren Andrews, Jr., of Reno died in Kien Phong Province, Vietnam (panel 24w, fow 29 of the Vietnam wall); in 1973, the Senate Select Committee on Presidential Campaign Activities (the Senate Watergate committee) began public hearings; in 2000, two Klansmen were arrested for the 1963 bombing of the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church in Birmingham that killed four girls attending a Sunday school lesson, "The Love That Forgives"; in 2004, Massachusetts allowed same gender marriages.

On May 16, 1848, gold was discovered near the site of Auburn, California; in 1865, the Nevada Appeal began publication (which continues today); in 1868, the U.S. Senate voted 35 to 19 to convict Andrew Johnson in his impeachment trial, falling one vote short of conviction; in 1881, U.S. Senators Roscoe Conkling and Thomas Platt of New York resigned from the senate in a dispute over patronage appointments with their fellow Republican, President James Garfield, to return to New York and seek vindication through reappointment by the legislature (Platt withdrew as a candidate after reporters climbed up a ladder to view through a transom his assignation with a young woman not his wife, and Conkling's chances evaporated after Garfield was assassinated by a frustrated office seeker who said he had decided on the killing as a result of Conkling's resignation); in 1903, rumors were published that Senator Patrick Flanigan of Washoe County had purchased the Nevada Power, Light, and Water Company; in 1918, Congress passed the Sedition Act, used by the Wilson administration to launch a reign of terror against opponents of WWI; in 1923, New York's repeal of state alcohol prohibition statutes, which brought a claim from a wet leader that the legislators who voted for repeal were subject to prosecution for treason and a demand that President Harding step in, brought a letter from Harding that he would not take such action against states; in 1903, Nevada pharmacies inspector Denver Dickerson issued the first state permit to fill alcoholic liquor prescriptions under federal alcohol prohibition (it went to the Elko Drug Company); 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. [EDITORS NOTE: Shades of Oprah in Amarillo!]; 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 1947, on the third day of the trial of 31 men for the lynching of Willie Earle (the last known lynching in South Carolina), an eighth confession was read to the jurors identifying one of the defendants as the one who actually killed Earle (all defendants were acquitted); 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 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, Ngo Dinh Diem, installed as premier of a new nation invented by the U.S., left his capital of Saigon in flames as a result of resident rebellion to travel to Dalat to accept homage from the former French puppet emperor's imperial guard; 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 1970, Nevada Bar Association President Tom Cooke said a fund had been established with which lawyers could assist clients who suffered financially as a result of misconduct by lawyers; in 1970, several University of Nevada-Reno student leaders, most of them conservative or establishment (Frankie Sue Del Papa, Paul Basta, Brooke Piper, Bob Mayberry, John Doherty, and Dave Slemmons), were hailed before the student judicial council as part of an investigation of a hoax flyer that had announced the cancellation of a "governor's day" military ceremony held right after the invasion of Cambodia and the killings at Kent State (unfortunately, the flyer was unsuccessful); in 1975, in the wake of the Mayaguez fiasco (after a Cambodian gunboat seized the U.S. commercial vessel Mayaguez, President Ford, acting on the advice of Henry Kissinger and carefully avoiding diplomatic steps to secure the release of the crew, ordered a rescue mission which recaptured the ship but not the 40 sailors after Cambodia had already announced its planned release of the sailors; 15 men were killed and 50 wounded in the unnecessary assault, another 23 died in a helicopter that crashed on its way to the "rescue", and Cambodia was bombed with the largest non-nuclear devices in the U.S. arsenal, also after the release of the sailors was announced but before they were actually turned over; Cambodian bombing casualty figures are not known), Kissinger declared that the mission had succeeded in demonstrating that the U.S. "cannot be pushed."

Update: Monday, May 15, 2006, 5:21 a.m. PDT — ON THIS DATE in 1851, the second earthquake in a week hit gold rush San Francisco, shaking up buildings and ships in the bay; 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 reported "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, it was announced that a congressional committee on irrigation would come to Nevada (the trip was comped by the railroad) for the dedication of Derby Dam (though it was not yet named that); in 1905, a gold rush was on to White Horse Canyon and Secret Canyon north of Olinghouse in eastern Washoe County; in 1911, the U.S. Supreme Court ordered the dissolution of Standard Oil Company, ruling it was in violation of the Sherman Antitrust Act. [New York Times e-headlines]; in 1912, with Nevada Supreme Court Justice Frank Norcross making the presentation and Regent Charles Henderson accepting, the faculty and alumni of the University of Nevada presented the university a portrait of President Joseph Stubbs; in 1920, the Constituent Seimas of Lithuania restated the declaration of independence that was proclaimed by the First Lithuania Council on February 16; in 1928, the Nevada State Bar was investigating whether Reno divorce lawyers were paying fortune tellers and hotel employees for divorce case referrals; 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 1944, the House UnAmerican Activities Committee had a series of Hollywood witnesses (Jack Warner, Leo McCarey, Adolph Menjou, Ginger Rogers, 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, U.S. officials said they welcomed Soviet military cutbacks but said they would not do the same; in 1956, Nye county commissioners, determined to rid Tonopah of outhouses, said the county would remove any of the buildings without charge but if anyone passed up the offer they would be targeted for condemnation; in 1963, Charles Dederich, founder of the secretive paramilitary cult Synanon, met in Reno's State Building with the local Friends of Synanon chapter.

Update: Sunday, May 14, 2006, 2:48 a.m. PDT — ON THIS DATE in 1948, the independent state of Israel was proclaimed as British rule in Palestine came to an end. [New York Times e-headlines]

On May 14, 1787, some delegates arrived for what was supposed to be the first day of a convention to reform the Articles of Confederation (they exceeded their instructions and instead designed a whole new form of government, making the convention into a constitutional convention), but there were not enough on hand yet to meet; 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 1883, former Comstock editor Wells Drury was appointed deputy secretary of state; in 1883, the Reno Evening Gazette reported "The big 400 pound fish that was scaring the [Lake Tahoe] steamers was seen again near the Tallac House."; 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 San Francisco Bulletin, which published chapter one of imprisoned former city political boss Abe Ruef's account of his involvement in the city graft ring and then suspended publication of the remaining chapters until additional indictments were resolved, said it would resume publication after the Supreme Court ordered the dismissal of remaining indictments; 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 1912, the first graduating class of the Nevada school of mines since its endowment by the Mackay family installed a bronze plaque in the brick walkway between the school and the quad memorializing themselves: "Mackay Pioneers 1912"; in 1938, the Virginia and Truckee Railroad filed anew set of schedules with the public service commission that discontinued the mixed passenger and freight run from Carson to Virginia City; in 1956,U.S. Senator John Bricker of Ohio called for a federal "check rein" on the television networks to make sure they continue to broadcast unbiased news; in 1956, baseball great Ty Cobb was granted a divorce from his second wife by Judge Frank Gregory in Minden, Nevada; in 1968, John Lennon and Paul McCartney appeared on the Tonight Show, guest hosted by Joe Garagiola (there are reports that the tape of the program no longer exists because NBC failed to preserve it); in 1970, police at Jackson State College abruptly opened fire on a women's dormitory and on a crowd that had gathered (in response to a rumor that civil rights leader Charles Evers had been killed), killing two men — Phillip Lafayette Gibbs, a 21 year old JSC student, and James Earl Green, a teenager walking home from work. (In 1995, Gibbs' son Demetrius graduated from Jackson State.) [EDITOR'S NOTE: This came just 10 days after the Ohio National Guard murdered four young people at Kent State.]; in 1975, the University of Nevada Press announced it would publish a book, Amerikanauk, that would make a case that Basque whalers arrived in the Americas before Columbus; in 1975, the U.S. Economic Development Administration granted $175,000 to the Washoe 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: Saturday, May 13, 2006, 1:36 a.m. PDT — ON THIS DATE in 1981, Pope John Paul II was shot and seriously wounded in St. Peter's Square by Turkish assailant Mehmet Ali Agca. [New York Times e-headlines]

On May 13, 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 pretext beyond territorial acquisition (the U.S. would gain most of the southwest, including Nevada), the U.S. Congress declared war on Mexico; in 1870, ice imported from Nevada by the Puget Sound Ice Company was sold in Seattle; 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 1914, an inquiry was launched after a man died at 8:30 in the morning after being turned away by the county hospital in Reno the night before; in 1933, with France and Britain preparing to reoccupy the Rhineland in response to Hitler's threats to acquire armaments in excess of those allowed by the Versailles treaty, news reports were asking whether the U.S. was prepared to move back into its post-world war occupation posts on the Rhine River; in 1933, officials of the Three Flags Highway Association from three states met in Reno for its second annual meeting to discuss what needed to be done to close the two remaining gaps in a highway running from Banff, Canada to La Paz, Mexico (the California Legislature on May 12 approved money for bridging of one of the gaps, between Alturas and Susanville, and it was awaiting Governor James Rolph's signature); in 1941, Richie Valens was born; in 1956, Warner Brothers was shooting a travelogue in Las Vegas; in 1963, FBI agents arrested Reno police officer Fred Paszek on a charge of kidnapping; in 1963, a 20 year-old woman was hospitalized at Washoe Medical Center after an abortion she said was performed in a motel room by an unknown man for $350; in 1969, Oscar Dan Boydston of Las Vegas died in Thua Thien province, Vietnam (panel 25w, row 95); in 1970, the U.S. premiere of the film Let It Be was held in New York.

[[EDITOR'S NOTE: Unless otherwise noted, historical items appear courtesy of longtime Nevada reporter Dennis Myers' Poor Denny's Almanac. Items highlighted in blue are of particular interest to labor. Copyright © 2006 Dennis Myers.]]

Update: Friday, May 12, 2006, 4:50 p.m. PDT — ON THIS DATE in 1902, 140,000 coal miners around the nation went out on strike, staying out for five months until consumer demand forced the companies to negotiate; in 1928, Columbia University President and former Republican vice-presidential nominee Nicholas Murray Butler said the United States 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 1943, during World War II, Axis forces in North Africa surrendered. [New York Times e-headlines]; in 1948, Admiral W.S. Parsons wrote a memorandum discussing the use of Eniwetok Atoll for atomic testing in which he bewailed the "unhealthy, dangerous, and unjustified fear of atomic detonations" that he said could be overcome by putting "people [including military servicepeople] on ships, airplanes, and sandpits" in the blast area; in 1958, the University of Nevada board of regents accepted a gift of historic books, Bibles, English manuscripts, photographs, and records from silent film star Gareth Hughes; 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 1963, Nevada casino regulators revoked the gambling license of Las Vegas' Silver Slipper casino for cheating customers; in 1963, Bob Dylan walked out of rehearsals for the Ed Sullivan Show after being told he would not be permitted to perform Talking John Birch Society Blues; in 1970, the man President Nixon chose to keep pushing the U.S. Supreme Court further to the right, Harry Blackmun, was confirmed by the U.S. Senate to be a justice; 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 famous as John Dillinger in 1945's Dillinger, and later became famous again as Elaine Benis' father in Seinfeld).

RENO, MAY 12, 1902: Under the leadership of John Mitchell, 140,000 United Mine Workers go on strike. The price of coal in the eastern U.S. rises from $5.00 to $30.00 per ton. President Theodore Roosevelt orders the U.S. Army to take over the mines in "the public interest." He would repeat the same feat in Nevada a few years later. (On Oct. 4, 1902, Painters Local 567 voted to send $10.00 to striking Pennsylvania miners.) — Centennial Commemorative Program, Painters & Allied Trades Local 567/AFL-CIO, 2002, page 5; available at the Nevada Historical Society; from official handwritten union minute books.

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