Plumbers and Pipefitters Local 350 Centennial Dinner 10-13-2006
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[[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: Monday, July 31, 2006, 2:00 a.m. PDT On this date in 1964, the American space probe Ranger 7 transmitted pictures of the moon's surface. [New York Times/AP e-headlines]
On this date in 1777, nineteen year-old Marie Joseph Paul Yves Roche Gilbert du Motier, the Marquis de Lafayette, was made a major general by the Continental Congress; in 1875, work on the new state prison in Reno was halted while a dispute between the architect and the contractor over the quality of the work already done was brought before the state board of prison commissioners; in 1877, amid the great railroad strike of 1877, sometimes called the first national strike, smugness was the order of the day in Nevada newspapers, with the Reno Journal saying the strike was over (it was not President Rutherford B. Hayes was still sending federal troops from state to state to break the strike) and the Lyon County Times argued "The people of Nevada may well congratulate themselves on their undisturbed and comparatively happy condition. Nowhere in the state are there any labor troubles of any kind whatever, and especially is this true in a marked degree on the Comstock. All the mines now in operation pay the same wages as during the flush days of former years, and this is the case we believe in every branch of business Happy Nevada, thrice happy Nevada!"; in 1878, the Sacramento Bee suggested that with the growth of farming along Nevada rivers "In a few years it may be that Nevada will be independent of California in this line. She can do nothing, of course, without irrigation, but she is bending her energies rapidly in that direction."; in 1903, the Capital City Wheelman in Sacramento (this was at a time when bicycling was a huge sport) won the Pacific coast championship and then declined to face the Reno Wheelmen because the Reno team had repeatedly refused to face Sacramento, so the Renoites claimed they had the championship by forfeit; in 1922, the Nevada Board of Regents appointed Laura Ambler to be an English instructor, in which position she launched the University of Nevada's first journalism instruction; in 1922, old stopes under Tonopah gave way, opening a pit in town that swallowed the assay office; in 1922, Governor Emmet Boyle took ownership of the Nevada State Journal, Reno's morning newspaper; in 1941, the Nevada Northern Railroad made its last passenger run from Ely; in 1942, what may have been the first photograph of Vietnam to appear in a Reno newspaper was printed in the Nevada State Journal, an aerial view of Haiphong where the Japanese had built a base under a lease from the Vichy collaborationist government of France (which had colonized Indo-China); in 1968, the Beatles began three days of work on recording Hey Jude, their first recording at Trident studio; in 1971, Carole King's You've Got A Friend by James Taylor hit number one on the Billboard chart, becoming his only number one hit; in 2002, Pope John Paul II canonized (conferred sainthood on) 16th century Nahuatl farmer Juan Diego, though there is uncertainty about whether Diego ever existed.
Update: Sunday, July 30, 2006, 3:30 a.m. PDT On this date in 1945, the USS Indianapolis, which had just delivered key components of the Hiroshima atomic bomb to the Pacific island of Tinian, was torpedoed by a Japanese submarine. Only 316 out of 1,196 men survived the sinking and shark-infested waters. [New York Times/AP e-headlines]
On this date in 1619, twenty-two burgesses met at Jamestown, Virginia, a meeting generally regarded as the first representative legislative assembly in the colonies; in 1875, a test was underway of Nevada's new quack law, with "Doctor" A.B. Spinney of Storey County (who could not produce a medical diploma) the target of a prosecution for practicing medicine without being a graduate of a medical college or practicing in the state for ten years; in 1878, the Central Pacific Railroad was providing half freight charges on round trips for Californians shipping animals or articles to Reno for the Nevada State Fair; in 1879, Comstock mines were defying a new state law guaranteeing the right of stockholders to (with adequate notice) inspect their mines until the courts ruled on the validity of the law; in 1880, after a visit to the Pyramid tribal reservation, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Carl Schurz was quoted claiming that Native Americans would never be happy on reservations and that he would try to convince Congress to allocate 25 acre plots to Indians (apparently breaking up the reservations for the purpose), that he would arrange for an irrigating canal at Pyramid for agriculture purposes, that he would have a school started there, and that he would have the reservation resurveyed to settle boundary questions; in 1880, there was a newspaper report that Sarah Winnemucca had moved to Oregon where she was given a home and garden and a $600 a year federal pension for her services during the Bannock war; in 1899, the Nevada State Journal wrote: "Nevada does not abound in multi millionaires. The reason is, before they become multi they scoot out for some other State or country. Nevada, just the same, has made more multi millionaires that any other State in the Union of twenty times its population. She can make them fast enough but it seems that she cant keep them. Wonder the reason why?; in 1901, under the headline "Tried to escape" the Nevada State Journal described excuses used by members of a jury pool to try to escape jury duty and named names, including an official of the Reno Water, Land, and Light Company and Police Chief Henry Brown; in 1901, the Virginia and Truckee Railroad was constructing a building to hold dairy products of the Douglas County Creamery where they could be kept cold until being shipped; in 1903, in response to anger in Reno, Floriston Pulp and Paper Company exec B.J. Bither said his company was not polluting the Truckee River and would not do it again; in 1903, mismanagement of the Virginia and Truckee was being criticized: "It was understood after the fiasco of a couple of weeks ago, when the 8 o'clock train on the V. & T. delayed a picnic party until noon, that arrangements had been made to run picnic parties out of Bowers mansion in a special and then return for the regular run, but yesterday there was a repetition of the offense."; in 1907, the Sierra Club, a business club, was organized in Reno; in 1921, it was reported that the 1875 Baldwin engine number one used as a logging engine was still in service between Tahoe City and Truckee; in 1922, after the Mutual Oil Company refused to stop oil exploration on the Teapot Dome naval oil reserve, assistant secretary of the navy Theodore Roosevelt, Jr., sent a squad of marines to eject the oil drillers; in 1922, Reno had a new isolation hospital for treatment of infectious diseases, located alongside the county hospital on Mill Street; in 1941, Reno "herbist" (and Nevada chair of the Chinese Nationalists Party) Q.S. Wong was arrested for manslaughter for treating an Oregon woman who subsequently died; in 1941, U.S. reclamation commissioner John Page said that $94,520 in gold had been found during the construction of the Friant Dam in California; in 1954, Elvis appeared in concert at the Shell in Overton Park in Memphis, opening for Slim Whitman and Billy Walker, his first billed appearance (often described as his first professional appearance), for which he joined the Memphis Federation of Musicians (unfortunately, he was spotted by audience member Tom Parker, who later became his manager and eventually sent his career into mediocrity); in 1964, the U.S. sent Saigon patrol boats to attack a radar station and a busy port in the north of Vietnam, provoking retaliation two days later against the U.S. destroyer Maddox, which President Johnson (keeping the raids secret) portrayed as an attack instead of a retaliation, eliciting a declaration of war from a gullible Congress; in 1966, Chip Taylor's Wild Thing by the Troggs hit number one on the Billboard chart (another version of the song, an oddball rendering by a Robert Kennedy imitator, was also released in 1966 by" Senator Bobby"); in 1966, a "blue ribbon commission" appointed by Governor Grant Sawyer to investigate the state highway department issued a report clearing the department of any criminal wrongdoing but finding problems with the department's operations (Sawyer had appointed the commission after he disbanded a grand jury called by Lieutenant Governor Paul Laxalt while Sawyer was out of the state); in 1996, the Atlanta Journal Constitution unskeptically used a leak from a law enforcement source that named Richard Jewell as a suspect in the 1996 Summer Olympics bombing (which killed one woman), aiming at Jewell a media firestorm that convicted him in the court of public opinion. [EDITOR'S NOTE: Jewell was cleared and won cash settlements from the paper and others. Abortion clinic bomber Eric Robert Rudolph was arrested for the murder years later.]
Update: Saturday, July 29, 2006, 3:33 a.m. PDT On this date in 1981, Britain's Prince Charles married Lady Diana Spencer at St. Paul's Cathedral in London. [New York Times/AP e-headlines]
On this date in 1854, the Mormon magazine Millenial Star reprinted the broadside Defence of Polygamy by a Lady of Utah by Belinda Marden Pratt; in 1874, Carson City's Appeal theorized that fish were dying in Washoe Lake because a Reno newspaper editor had walked across the bridge over the lake; in 1874, a meeting was held in Reno to plan how to help the people of Eureka, Nevada, devastated by a flood; in 1905, Clara Bow, the actress known as the archetype of the 1920s flapper who later married cowboy actor Rex Bell and lived on his Searchlight, Nevada ranch, was born in a Brooklyn tenement. [EDITOR'S NOTE: Their son, Rex Bell, Jr., became Nevada lieutenant governor]; in 1914, U.S. Secretary of War Lindley Garrison ordered the deportation from Mexico of U.S. reporter Fred L. Boalt, who had reported that a U.S. naval officer had employed the "law of flight" against Mexican prisoners, a story which the army denied; in 1914, Austrian Fritz Wessley of Reno was notified by the Austrian vice consul in San Francisco to report for duty in the war against Serbia; in 1918, the National Liberty Congress of Colored Americans called on Congress to make lynching (which had thrived in the climate created by Woodrow Wilson's anti-black views and imposition of segregation in federal agencies) a federal crime; in 1919, at McGill and Ruth, Nevada, members of the Industrial Workers of the World and the Western Federation of Miners struck the mines; in 1921, Sacramento newspaper publisher V.S. McClatchy denied that his Chinese Exclusion League of California was responsible for the deportation of Japanese workers at Turlock; in 1921, a Yellowstone bear known as Jesse James revived his habit of sitting in the middle of a road and preventing cars from passing until he was fed; in 1934, the Willows night club on South Main Street near Fifth in Las Vegas was destroyed by fire; in 1963, Blowin' In The Wind by Peter, Paul, and Mary was released; in 1970, U.S. Senator Edward Kennedy told other Democrats that they would not allow their alliance with antiwar students to break up the party's traditional alliance with labor; in 1970, in an auction, Kirk Kerkorian bought the Bonanza on the Las Vegas strip for $3.9 million [EDITOR'S NOTE: Kerkorian built the original MGM Grand, now Bally's Las Vegas, on that site]; in 1970, Washoe County Senator Bill Farr said a Sparks/Reno merger was a dead issue; in 2004, Arlo Gurthrie appeared in concert at the Bartley Ranch in Reno.
Update: Friday, July 28, 2006, 3:35 a.m. PDT On this date in 1914, Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia. World War I began as declarations of war by other European nations quickly followed. [New York Times/AP e-headlines]
On this date in 1148, fresh from losing Edessa, forces of the second crusade attacked Damascus (which they also lost); in 1864, the second Nevada constitutional convention ended (it was just barely the 28th five minutes past midnight; the convention actually completed its work on the 27th); in 1895, a large plot of land at Monte Diablo Creek AKA Convict Creek and Convict Lake, now the site of the Sierra Nevada Aquaculture Research Laboratory, was purchased by Elizabeth and Richard Kirman, husband and wife, and Thomas B. Rickey of Ormsby County (Rickey later bought out Kirman's widow and son Richard, Jr.); in 1906, marketing specialist Simon Litman of the University of California said in Philadelphia that San Francisco would not again be destroyed by earthquake because new structures were being made earthquake proof; in 1917, during World War One and after rioting whites in East St. Louis killed 40 black residents, 8,000 African Americans marched down Fifth Avenue in absolute silence to protest U.S. oppression of its black citizens in community life and in the armed services; in 1932, in the District of Columbia, four troops of cavalry, six tanks, infantrymen with machine guns, and miscellaneous other forces all led by Douglas MacArthur (who said the fate of the republic was at stake) attacked the Bonus Army, unemployed veterans of World War One who had marched across the nation to demand early payment of a promised bonus; in 1934, first daughter Anna Roosevelt Dall, in Reno for a divorce, was reported planning to marry again as soon as her divorce was granted; in 1935, Joseph Neal, Jr., who has served as Nevada Senate minority floor leader, president pro tempore, acting governor, and at his retirement was tied for longevity of service as a Nevada state senator, was born in Mounds, Louisiana; in 1939, some people in Reno started receiving 50-cent checks from a company that built a toll bridge in Vallejo and was supposed to turn the bridge over to the government after five years of operation and failed to do with the result that a court ordered it to refund tolls; in 1945, in heavy fog, a U.S. Army B-25 bomber piloted by an experienced pilot headed down Manhattan's 42d Street, banked onto Fifth Avenue, dodged several skyscrapers, and plowed at an estimated 200 miles an hour into the 79th floor of the Empire State Building, exploding inside the offices of the National Catholic Welfare Conference and killing 14 people (two women whose elevator dropped more than 70 floors survived; one of the plane's engines came out the other side of the building and landed on a 12- story building); in 1956, Elvis' I Want You, I Need You, I Love You hit number one on the Billboard chart; in 1959, it became belatedly known that Robert Stroud, author and illustrator of the authoritative Stroud's Digest on the Diseases of Birds, had been transferred a couple of weeks earlier from Alcatraz federal prison after 17 years (and a total half century in various prisons) to a federal medical facility in Springfield, Missouri (where he saw television for the first time); in 1967, President Johnson established the National Commission on Civil Disorders (whose report, submitted on February 29, 1968, he ignored); in 1999, archeological excavation began of Island Mountain, Nevada, a Chinese mining camp that was a living community from 1873 to 1915; in 2002, on a trip to Toronto for a youth conference, John Paul II failed to apologize for the clergy sex abuse scandal, saying only "The harm done by some priests to the young and vulnerable fills us all with a deep sense of sadness and shame, but think of the vast majority of dedicated and generous priests whose only wish is to serve and do good."
Update: Thursday, July 27, 2006, 2:17 a.m. PDT On this date in 1875, the Nevada State Journal said the practice of firing guns in town after dark was out of hand "Quiet, peaceable citizens should not be put in fear and danger of their lives at the pleasure of every hoodlum who happens to own a pistol."; in 1931 the death toll in California's Imperial Valley was 40 and in Phoenix it was 14 as a brutal 41-day heat wave bore down on the southwest; in 1934, former Reno mayor Richard Kirman announced he would run for governor; in 1934, Minnesota Governor Floyd Olsen declared martial law in Minneapolis in response to police opening fire on unarmed union pickets and to a rejection by employers of a strike settlement accepted by teamsters, imposing limited press restrictions and a ban on parking in the business district while milk, ice, and grocery trucks were under guard; 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 1940, with its release of A Wild Hare, Warner Brothers introduced the character of Bugs Bunny; in 1949, Las Vegas city commissioners Wendell Bunker and William Peccole accused municipal tax officials of failing to assess property owners in the Biltmore addition for the costs of a street lighting system; 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 1953, the Korean War armistice was signed at Panmunjom, ending three years of fighting [New York Times/AP e-headlines]; 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 1959, a photo of a young Washington attorney, Robert Kennedy, appeared on the front page of the Reno Evening Gazette when he dared labor leader James Hoffa to sue him for libel after Kennedy charged Hoffa with mismanaging the Teamsters Union; in 1960, Vice-President Richard Nixon was nominated for president by the Republican National Convention in Chicago; in 1974, the U.S. House Judiciary Committee voted to recommend that the House of Representatives impeach President Nixon; in 1974, Lynyrd Skynyrd's Sweet Home Alabama was released; in 1976, after a long court battle with U.S. immigration officials, John Lennon won permanent residency in the United States; 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 1992, a $7.5 million renovation of the Thomas/Mack Center at UNLV was announced; 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: Wednesday, July 26, 2006, 3:05 a.m. PDT On this date in 1947, President Truman signed the National Security Act, creating the Department of Defense, the National Security Council, the Central Intelligence Agency and the Joint Chiefs of Staff. [New York Times/AP e-headlines]
On this date in 1867, Fort Halleck, Nevada was established on lower Soldier Creek; in 1906, it was reported that William Randolph Hearst had been offered the New York City mayoral nomination of the Independence League and that a competing candidate, Judge William Gaynor, had pulled out of the race; in 1906, at a board of directors meeting in Boston, the Guggenheims gained control of the Nevada Consolidated Copper Company and its railroad, the Nevada and Northern Railway Company; in 1921, masked men entered a public dance pavilion at Spring Lake Park in Texarkana and kidnapped Gordon Harrison, the African American orchestra conductor; in 1921, Attorney General Harry Daugherty was researching all the wartime laws passed by Congress that could be affected if U.S. participation in the world war was formally ended (the war ended in 1918 but Woodrow Wilson vetoed a previous measure to end the war); in 1921, the Rio Grande, boundary between Mexico and the U.S., kept changing its course, and El Paso's Acting Mayor R.C. Semple led a search party to find the river but failed; in 1938, the U.S. Public Works Administration was holding up funding for construction of an engineering building, an arts and sciences building, and a gymnasium at the University of Nevada until the state took some required legislative actions, which raised a question of whether a special session of the Nevada Legislature was needed; in 1944, PFC Jack Lichtenberg of Reno was missing in action in France (in November his family would be notified that he was a German prisoner of war); in 1952, Democratic presidential nominee Adlai Stevenson and other party leaders chose segregationist John Sparkman to be the vice presidential nominee; in 1969, a two day strike and lockout at twelve Las Vegas casinos ended with an agreement between the casinos and the Operating Engineers and Teamsters; in 1985, 42 down in the New York Times crossword was a four letter word defined as "Vegas term"; in 1990, in Las Vegas, Bally casino and gambling device manufacturer chair Robert Mullane accused Merrill Lynch and Company of issuing a July 11 analysis describing Bally as deep in debt and facing insolvency in order to divert attention from Merrill Lynch's own involvement with Donald Trump's debt-ridden Taj Mahal casino.
Update: Tuesday, July 25, 2006, 12:46 a.m. PDT On this date in 1866, Ulysses S. Grant (born Hiram Ulysses Grant, resulting in his West Point nickname, "Hug," which is why he started using Ulysses S.), was named General of the Army, the first ever to hold the rank; in 1946, the big, badass United States detonated an atomic bomb underwater at Bikini Atoll in the Pacific, having displaced the island population in order to do so; they are still fighting for just compensation and some have finally moved back to their ancestral homes; in 1952, Puerto Rico became a sort of self-governing satellite of the U.S.; in 1956, the Italian liner Andrea Doria collided with the Swedish ship Stockholm off the New England coast, claiming the lives of (at least) 51 people. [New York Times/AP e-headlines]; in 1963, the U.S., the Soviet Union and Great Britain signed a treaty in Moscow prohibiting the testing of nuclear weapons in the atmosphere, space or underwater; in 1978, Louise Joy Brown, the world's first official "test tube baby," was born in Oldham, England, having been conceived through the now-common procedure known as in-vitro fertilization (I still don't get what the "in life" part means). [AP and BARBWIRE]
On this date in 1593, King Henry IV of France converted from Protestant to Catholic while still offering protection of the freedom to worship of both; in 1871, the New York Times carried a story about a Nevada lynching, reprinted from the Gold Hill News (George Kirk was hanged at the Sierra Nevada Mill on Geiger Grade for not leaving Virginia City fast enough to satisfy his critics in town); in 1904, Tonopah celebrated the completion of the Tonopah & Goldfield Railroad [Nevada Magazine calendar]; in 1915, it was reported that New Zealand Bishop Thomas O'Shea visited the Nevada State Prison in Carson City; in 1934, Nazis began the Juliputsch (July Putsch) in Austria, assassinating fascist Chancellor Engelbert Dollfuss, and in Germany Hitler rushed to the Austrian border, but the coup failed in part because Hitler held back after Mussolini assembled troops on the Italo-Austrian border to attack any German units that invaded Austria; in 1952, Democratic party bosses terrified by the prospect of the presidential nomination of economic populist Estes Kefauver, who had swept the presidential primaries (including defeating President Truman in the New Hampshire primary), managed to swing the nomination to Illinois' Adlai Stevenson on the third ballot; in 1952, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce issued a report placing Nevada teacher salaries, at an average of $3,209 a year, 17th in the nation; in 1972, at Fillmore East, Neil Young appeared with Crosby Stills and Nash for the first time; in 1970, 25 or 6 to 4 by Chicago, a song about the difficulty of writing a song, was released; in 1979, the U.S. House voted to cut Amtrak again, with several routes likely to be eliminated and one (Los Angeles to Ogden through Las Vegas) added; in 2001, a London-bound American Airlines jet out of Los Angeles made an emergency landing safely in Las Vegas after the pilot suffered a midair heart attack (the pilot was hospitalized and survived); in 2001, the Annapolis Capital in Maryland filed a $20,000 lawsuit against two men who obtained Capital letterhead stationery and used it to obtain press passes to Orioles games and the Super Bowl.
Update: Monday, July 24, 2006, 4:33 a.m. PDT On this date in 1873, Reno's Congregational Society purchased a used 450 pound bell from the state prison for a church bell; in 1895, A.M. Beebe, superintendent of the Nevada Orphans' Home, brought five boys from the home in Carson City to show them the university in Reno; in 1920, Bella Savitzky Abzug was born in the Bronx; in 1931, United Press reported that western European businesspeople were apprehensive about the approaching end of the first Russian five year plan (actually completed in four years) and wanted huge tariffs to protect themselves; in 1934, a year after the National League (by a vote of 5 owners to 3) adopted the uniform game ball (a tighter wound and friskier ball also known as the jack rabbit ball), it was reported that some owners planned to try to reverse the vote because they believed it had led to inferior play, with one news report describing Pirates owner Pie Traynor launching "a vehement, vitriolic excoriation that almost flayed the horse hide off the capricious sphere" (they don't let us write that way anymore); in 1934, Tucson police officers were relieved at the killing of bank robber John Dillinger in Chicago because they had captured him and other members of his gang on January 25 and feared he would return to take his revenge (after being extradited from Arizona to Indiana, Dillinger had made his famous wooden gun escape from the Crown Point, Indiana jail); in 1936, law enforcement officials were preparing to drain Honey Creek Mill Pond near Pinckney, Michigan to try to find the bodies of more murder victims of the Black Legion, a right wing terrorist group that operated in the middle west; in 1936, Douglas Fairbanks (Sr.) said his acting days were over and he would devote himself to producing (the last film in which he ever acted was 1934's The Private Life of Don Juan); in 1936, the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce began tours by land, water, and air of scenic areas within three hundred miles of Los Angeles that had previously been little seen by the public, including the Grand Canyon and Lake Mead; in 1939, Union Pacific announced it would begin construction of a new art deco railroad station for Las Vegas on September 1; in 1959, as doses of the new Salk polio vaccine were raced around the nation, U.S. Public Health Service figures showed a doubling of new polio cases in a single week to 166 cases, a 1959 high; in 1963, in an effort to prevent the embarrassment of a civil rights march against Las Vegas' segregated casinos, the Sahara broke the solid phalanx among casinos and agreed to talks with the local NAACP chapter headed by Marion Bennett; in 1967, Surrealistic Pillow by Jefferson Airplane went gold; in 1971, John D. Loudermilk's Indian Reservation (The Lament of the Cherokee Reservation Indian) by the Raiders hit number one on the Billboard chart and went on to become the biggest selling single in the history of Columbia Records; in 1971, investigative reporter Clark Mollenhoff reported that former Indiana governor Matthew Welsh's attempt to reclaim the governorship could be derailed by an investigation of Welsh's role in the sale of the Aladdin casino in Las Vegas; in 1990, the Judas Priest trial, in which the rock band was sued by the parents of two boys who attempted suicide (one of whom died) got underway in Reno, dominated by junk science and Judge Jerry Whitehead's claim that subliminal messages (in this case, imaginary ones) are not protected by the First Amendment.
Update: Sunday, July 23, 2006, 1:27 a.m. PDT On this date in 1864, Nevada Territory Supreme Court Justice John North, demonized by rivals on the Comstock, asked President Lincoln for a hearing before the president took action on charges against him; in 1866, Congress enacted legislation creating the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit consisting of California, Oregon, and Nevada (14 STAT. 209); in 1868, the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, providing for due process under the law, was ratified; in 1914, Austria-Hungary issued an ultimatum to Serbia following the killing of Archduke Francis Ferdinand by a Serb assassin; the dispute led to World War I [New York Times/AP e-headlines]; in 1930, Union Pacific and government officials met about the route of a railroad spur from Black Canyon to Las Vegas for the Boulder Dam project; in 1931, publisher Frederick Girnau went on trial in Los Angeles for publishing articles on actress Clara Bow's love life after federal prosecutors tried for a delay and the defense objected.; in 1934, a Colored Democratic Club was formed in Clark County; in 1934, newspapers began lionizing FBI agent Melvin Purvis after he handled the operation that resulted in the killing of bank robber John Dillinger, resulting in Purvis being forced out of the Bureau by a jealous J. Edgar Hoover; in 1935, Las Vegas and Reno casino operators were hoping they would gain business from southern California after the Mexican government shut down border casinos in Agua Caliente; in 1937, in the wake of the Senate defeat of President Roosevelt's court packing plan, U.S House Democrats were discussing a plan to attach to any court bill a requirement for a two-thirds vote of the Supreme Court to overturn laws; in 1952, with the baby boom in full roar, school officials in the west side of Las Vegas discussed trying for federal funding to nearly double the size of a planned 10-room elementary school to 18 rooms and a multipurpose hall; in 1954, the New York Times reported that the French, preparing to leave Indochina after losing to the Vietminh, expected to evacuate 1,000,000 Vietnamese wanting to flee the communists (the next day, the newspaper revised these estimates downward to 200,00 to 500,000); in 1955, a headline over a story by (the nationally syndicated) Bob Considine in the Charleston, West Virginia, Gazette: "Las Vegas Unmasked/Rich Nevada Oasis Must Be Seen To Be Believed, Newsman Says"; in 1957, at a time when Nevada schools were bulging with baby boomers, Boulder City elementary school enrollments had fallen so far that three classrooms had been eliminated and classes were being consolidated; in 1957, after questioning convict Donald Wedler about his knowledge of the Sheppard murder case for three hours, Cleveland law enforcement officials denounced his confession to Marilyn Sheppard's murder only to have a merchant seaman identify Wedler as a man who gave him a ride near Dr. Sam Sheppard's home on the night of the murder. (The Sheppard case was the inspiration for the fictional television series and later motion picture, The Fugitive.); in 1959, the Federal Communications Commission in Washington approved a change of ownership for Reno's KDOT Radio; in 1959, a Reno plumbers strike entered its fourth week; in 1968, three days after they shut down the Pioneer Club in Las Vegas, state gambling regulators filed charges against the club for allegedly deceiving customers; in 1969, the Beatles recorded the aptly named The End, the last song recorded for the last Beatles album, Abbey Road; in 2003, Josh Byers of Norwalk, California, former student body president at Reed High School in Sparks, died east of Baghdad in Iraq.
Update: Saturday, July 22, 2006, 12:55 a.m. PDT On this date in 1934, a man identified as bank robber John Dillinger was shot to death by federal agents in Chicago. [New York Times/AP e-headlines]
On this date in 1847, the first party of Latter Day Saints settlers (143 men, 3 women, and 2 children) entered the Salt Lake valley; in 1915, President Wilson sent a belligerent diplomatic note to Germany, rejecting a German offer of immunity for U.S. ships from submarine warfare, setting off a debate around the country on war (campaigning for entry into the war in San Francisco, Theodore Roosevelt said that "a mother who is not willing to raise her boy to be a soldier is not fit for citizenship"); in 1915, Georgia prison officials said Leo Frank, an Atlanta Jew whose dubious murder conviction became a cause celebre, had showed "marked improvement" after his throat was cut by another inmate; in 1922, a bomb was thrown during a "Preparedness Day" parade in San Francisco, killing ten people, for which two anti-war labor leaders would be convicted amid wartime hysteria in spite of exculpatory evidence, including a photograph showing them watching the parade far from the site of the bombing with a street clock in the photo showing the time just before the bombing (the men were later pardoned by the governor on the basis of evidence of perjured testimony); in 1934, Manhattan Melodrama starring Myrna Loy, William Powell and Clark Gable achieved a trivia benchmark when bank robber John Dillinger was shot dead in the street near Chicago's Biograph Theatre after seeing the movie; in 1937, the hottest recorded temperature in the nation, 114 degrees, was at Las Vegas, Nevada; in 1946, Jewish insurgents bombed a wing of Palestine's King David Hotel in Jerusalem, killing a hundred people; in 1953 Nevada's first television station, KLAS in Las Vegas, went on the air; in 1959, Las Vegas' new mayor, Oran Gragson, said he would hold weekly news conferences and said he was not crazy about the term "casino center" selected in a Chamber of Commerce contest for the Fremont Street areas because it limited the appeal of the area; in 1963, Vee Jay Records, best known as the Four Seasons' label, probably released the first U.S. Beatles album, Introducing the Beatles which, after the group became famous, would become a subject of legal action; in 1963, African Americans in Las Vegas agreed to call off a march on the strip after the city's casinos agreed to concessions in hiring and training; in 1963, after a seven month battle over the efforts of Reynolds Electrical and Engineering and the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission to alter pay practices at the Nevada Test Site, a federal court ruled in favor of the labor unions protecting the workers at the site; in 1964, Saigon air commodore Nguyen Cao Ky disclosed at a news conference that sabotage teams had been operating in the north and that Saigon pilots were being trained for future large scale attacks (U.S. officials refuse to confirm Ky's claims and the next day the Saigon defense ministry issued a non-denial denial, denouncing Ky but not denying what he said); in 1968, the Clark County Commission, after hearing that local justices of the peace earned $67,000 a year performing marriages (they were allowed to keep the fees), voted to put them on a straight salary of $15,000 but did allow them to keep their tips; in 1981, former Clark County superintendent of schools Kenny Guinn was selected to serve on the new Metropolitan Police Committee on Fiscal Affairs; in 1983, Reagan administration environmental official Rita LaVelle was convicted of failing to testify before a congressional committee about alleged wrongdoing in her agency after prosecutors showed that she took a trip to Las Vegas during the period she claimed she was too ill to testify.
Update: Friday, July 21, 2006, 12:16 a.m. PDT On this date in 1925, the ''monkey trial'' ended in Dayton, Tenn., with John T. Scopes convicted of violating state law for teaching Darwin's theory of evolution. (The conviction was later overturned.) [New York Times/AP e-headlines]
On this date in 1878, Denis Kearney, the San Francisco political leader whose populist Workingman's Party movement was spreading around the country, stopped in Reno on the train on his way east and his local followers were prepared with a ceremony for him, but he never emerged from his sleeping car (during the same July, 60 Reno Workingman's Party members were forming a militia company); in 1885, the dime novel Web-Foot Mose, the Tramp Detective; or, The Boy Bear-Slayer of the Sierras by Oll Coomes, a story of highway robberies and vigilantism in Virginia City, Nevada, was published by Beadle's Half Dime Library; in 1918, German submarine U-156, offshore of Orleans, Mississippi, surfaced in view of sunbathers and began shelling a tug and barges, sinking the tug (U.S. planes that arrived on the scene dropped hand tools like screwdrivers and hammers on the sub); in 1928, Aimee Semple McPherson and Charles Lindbergh ended their stays at Lake Tahoe (pilot Lindbergh was vacationing at Rubicon Lodge, McPherson referred to by one local news report as a "feminine sky-pilot" was holding revivals at Tahoe Cedars); in 1941, in Minsk, Byelorussia, a group of 30 residents were ordered to bury 45 Jews alive, and when they refused, all 75 were killed by the Nazi einsatzkommandos (mobile killing unit); in 1950, PFC Raymond Yoss of Nelson, Nevada was captured in Korea and held until after the armistice in 1953; in 1954, the Final Declaration of the Geneva Conference was approved providing for reunification of Vietnam and free elections, and U.S. observer Walter Bedell Smith promised the U.S. "declares with regard to the aforesaid agreements and paragraphs that it will refrain from the threat or the use of force to disturb them" (the U.S. then quickly invented the "nation" of South Vietnam to prevent reunification and free elections through the use of force); in 1958, Elvis' Hard Headed Woman, a soundtrack song from King Creole, became his tenth number one hit on the Billboard magazine chart; in 1963, Herbert Brucker, president of the American Society of Newpaper Editors, wrote to President Kennedy to complain about U.S.-employed journalists being attacked and beaten by the U.S.-backed Mat Vu, the secret police in Saigon; in 1968, the anniversary of the 1954 Geneva agreement (which the Saigon regime had made a holiday called National Shame Day) was marked in both Saigon and Hanoi, where Ho Chi Minh called for accelerating the war against the U.S.; in 1972, Pentagon and civilian officials disclosed to the New York Times that the U.S., with the collaboration of U.S. Forest Service experts, had tried creating forest firestorms in Vietnam in 1966-67 and had failed because of the moisture of the tropical forests; in 1973, Jim Croce's Bad Bad Leroy Brown went to number one on the Billboard chart; in 2003, the Nevada Legislature, after a long stalemate in regular session and two special sessions, approved an $836 million tax increase by a 17-2 vote in the Senate and a 28-14 margin in the Assembly.
Update: Thursday, July 20, 2006, 7:49 a.m. PDT On this date in 1054, Eastern Orthodox Patriarch Michael Cerularius excommunicated Pope Leo IX; in 1878, Boston Corbett, the former soldier who claimed to have killed John Wilkes Booth, was reported to have attended a Pacific Coast Pioneers picnic at Bowers mansion; in 1910, Missouri's Christian Endeavor Society launched a campaign to ban movies containing kisses among non-relatives; in 1926, the case of former Nevada alcohol prohibition director J.P. Donnelly, convicted for covering up the seizure of a truckload of booze, reached the U.S. Supreme Court; in 1933, the Vatican conferred new legitimacy on the Third Reich by signing an agreement with Berlin; in 1944, President Roosevelt was nominated for a third term by the Democratic National Convention in Chicago and Roosevelt made his wartime acceptance speech from his private car on a railroad siding at an undisclosed naval base (it was San Diego); also in 1944, Nevada Lieutenant Governor Vail Pittman, chair of the Nevada delegation at the Chicago convention, said the state's delegates were "not anxious" to caucus on who to support for the vice presidential nomination and that there were not more than two or three votes for renominating Henry Wallace; in 1955, Saigon dictator Ngo Dinh Diem rejected an invitation from Hanoi to open talks on how to conduct nationwide elections required by the 1954 Geneva agreement (former presidential aide Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., later claimed, in spite of several such overtures, that Hanoi never showed any interest in holding elections); in 1956, the deadline for elections in Vietnam passed with Saigon dictator Ngo Dinh Diem still unwilling to hold them; in 1963, Surf City by Jan and Dean hit number one on the Billboard chart; in 1965, on the eve of the 20th anniversary of the 1954 Geneva agreement, Ho Chi Minh said his people were prepared to fight for another 20 years; in 1965, Do You Believe In Magic by the Lovin' Spoonful was released; in 1967, the first National Conference on Black Power began in Newark; in 1968, a near riot erupted in Pasco, Washington, when police chief A.L. McKibbin kicked a group of young African Americans out of city hall after they had been invited by police officers; in 1968, Philemon Hou's Grazing In the Grass by Hugh Masekela hit number one on the Billboard chart; in 1969, astronaut Neil Armstrong became the first man to walk on the moon [New York Times/AP e-headlines]; in 2000, after blocking her confirmation for five months, Republican leaders finally allowed the U.S. Senate to vote to approve Johnnie Rawlinson of Nevada for a seat on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, the first African American woman on the court.
Update: Wednesday, July 19, 2006, 2:18 a.m. PDT MINIMUM WAGE INTERVIEWS SOUGHT: A Gannett News Service reporter wants to interview people employed at the minimum wage. She is specifically looking for people who work for minimum wage in a state that is set to enact a wage increase, such as Nevada's November ballot measure. In addition, she is looking for information on states where minimum wage increases have recently been enacted. CONTACT: Pamela Brogan; e-mail email@example.com; phone 202-906-8108. Tell her you heard about it at NevadaLabor.com. Please send us a copy of any info you submit. Thanks. Editor.
[[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: Wednesday, July 19, 2006, 1:47 a.m. PDT On this date in 1878, a report in the Territorial Enterprise said that former Comstock millionaire Eilley Orrum Bowers, who reportedly kept a small place on the Bowers mansion grounds to live in when she sold the property, was planning to run a lunch stand at a Pacific Coast Pioneers picnic at the mansion grounds, which prompted the Nevada State Journal to observe: "She has seen the day when she could set out a lunch on a ton of silverplate, but her picnic lunch will be none the less palatable though it may be spread on useful and unassuming tin."; in 1879, Reno's Nevada State Journal and Virginia City's Territorial Enterprise editorialized on the frequency of fires in the snow sheds over the railroad tracks over the Sierra, with the Enterprise proposing the sheds be lined with sheets of zinc like those on the Virginia and Truckee, and the Journal observing that building the sheds of iron would be cheaper than putting out all the fires; in 1899, U.S. Land Commissioner L.H. Wise reported that 788 allotments of 80 acres of farm land or 160 acres of grazing land had been allotted to Native Americans in Nevada, principally in Humboldt, Douglas and Churchill Counties; in 1901, the superintendent of the Comstock Tunnel Company said the mill near the mouth of the Sutro tunnel was processing a daily average of six tons from the tunnel waste tailings and that it was paying well; in 1933, a rookie, Joe DiMaggio, hit three singles for the San Francisco Seals, extending his hitting streak to 55 consecutive games; in 1954, Sun Records released Elvis' first record, That's All Right, Mama b/w Blue Moon of Kentucky; in 1941, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill launched his "V for Victory" campaign in Europe [New York Times/AP e-headlines]; in 1964, on National Shame Day (a holiday created by the Saigon regime to commemorate the July 21 1954 Geneva agreement that Saigon and the U.S. violated by refusing to hold free elections), Charles de Gaulle and Ho Chi Minh were burned in effigy and a French war memorial was vandalized while at a rally military chief of state Nguyen Khanh called for an invasion of the north, upsetting U.S. officials who thought they had an agreement that Saigon officials would not make such proposals without consulting them (and also because it might blow the cover on U.S. provocations in the north); in 1965, Help! b/w I'm Down by the Beatles was released by Capitol (by Parlophone in Britain on July 23d); in 1980, Billy Joel's It's Still Rock and Roll To Me hit number one on the Billboard chart.
Update: Tuesday, July 18, 2006, 1:52 a.m. PDT On this date in 1936, the Spanish Civil War began as Gen. Francisco Franco led an uprising of army troops based in North Africa. [New York Times/AP e-headlines]
On this date in 1877, the Central Pacific snow sheds between Emigrant Gap and Cisco over the Sierra caught fire in the morning and by the time the fire was put out in the afternoon a third of them had been burned; in 1877, directors of the Meat Shipping Company picked out twenty acres of land near the new Reno state prison site for the location of their new operation; in 1901, the Washoe County Commission, sitting as the Reno Town Board, voted to pave the town's streets; in 1901, the Washoe County Commission sent former Comstock millionaire Eilley Orrum Bowers to the county poor house (Nevada State Journal: "She will not be a charge upon the county for long. The icy hands of death are already outstretched above her face. Where are the people who enjoyed the hospitality of the Seeress in the good old days, that she has been left to bee in a poor house and be buried in the Potters field?" ); in 1933, Broadway actor Hannah Williams and boxer Jack Dempsey married in Elko, then departed for Dempsey's Reno home; in 1936, fascist Francisco Franco launched a military uprising, starting the Spanish civil war; in 1952, after the U.S. Supreme Court cancelled President Truman's illegal takeover of the steel industry, reports circulated that he had directed the Justice Department to draft legislation reviving his 1946 idea (first threatened against rail workers) to allow him to draft striking workers; in 1952, legal experts and delegates to the Democratic National Convention in Chicago debated whether U.S. Representative Franklin D. Roosevelt, Jr., could be nominated for vice-president given his birth on Campobello Island, New Brunswick; in 1953, a young truck driver, Elvis Presley, went to the Memphis Recording Service (an arm of Sun Records) which made personal records for individuals, families, churches, and he made a record of the Ink Spots tune My Happiness as a gift for his mother, bringing himself to the attention of Sun Records which launched his career; in 1957, a year after Ngo Dinh Diem in Saigon refused to hold elections required by the 1954 Geneva convention, Vietnamese foreign minister Pham Van Dong in Hanoi again proposed elections and restoration of postal delivery between the two nations as a step toward reunification, and Diem rejected the overture; in 1960, Ronnie Self and Dub Albritton's I'm Sorry by Brenda Lee hit number one on the Billboard magazine chart; in 1968, President Johnson and Saigon dictator Nguyen Van Thieu met in Honolulu where Thieu accepted the principle of "Vietnamizing" the war; in 1970, syndicated columnist Jack Anderson published a column on north Lake Tahoe casino owner Nate Jacobsen's unhappiness that his casino had been bypassed by a new four lane highway and his suspicion that Ponderosa Ranch owners Bill and Joyce Anderson used their connections with the Laxalt administration to make it happen (Joyce Anderson was a Republican Party official); in 2004, with the pungent scent of sagebrush (brought from Carson City) permeating the church during mass, Washington National Cathedral held a Nevada State Day.
Update: Monday, July 17, 2006, 1:49 a.m. PDT On this date in 1505, Martin Luther entered a monastery at Erfurt, Germany; in 1862, the U.S. Army began accepting enlistments by African Americans to serve as laborers; in 1914, the Irwin Brothers wild west show began two days of performances in Reno; in 1935, former gangster Joseph "Fatso" Negri said that at the insistence of his wife he had dropped his plans to open a swanky San Francisco night club adorned with photos of the Dillinger gang and instead would become a farmer; in 1935, Governor Richard Kirman said he had no authority under state law to offer rewards from state funds but was offering a $300 reward for information on the fate of former Reno city councilmember Roy Frisch contingent on the Nevada Legislature's approval; in 1935, three contests were filed in probate court in Los Angeles over two wills of former Nevada Assemblymember (1928-1930) Albert Duffill, one filed in Clark County, the other reportedly lost; in 1935, Nevada Indian Affairs superintendent Alida Bowler presented to "sportsmen" fish hatchery plans for Pyramid Lake; in 1953, Stanley David Osborne of Reno died in Korea; in 1965, the FBI said it would send an agent to Winnemucca to advise local detectives but that the agency could not formally enter the case of missing Native American leader Delbert Howard because there was no evidence of a violation of federal law; in 1966, Gomer and Sergeant Carter went to Las Vegas on the latest episode of Gomer Pyle U.S.M.C; in 1968, the Beatles attended the premiere of their film Yellow Submarine at the London Palladium; in 2004, after she expressed support for Michael Moore and his film Fahrenheit 9/11 during her show at the Aladdin Casino, the management had singer Linda Ronstadt escorted off the property.
Update: Sunday, July 16, 2006, 3:24 a.m. PDT On this date in 1918, Russia's Czar Nicholas II, his wife and their five children were executed by the Bolsheviks. [New York Times/AP e-headlines]
On this date in 1862, Ida B. Wells, newspaper publisher/editor who editorialized against lynching until she was forced to leave her state of Tennessee and wrote the anti-lynching book A Red Record, was born in Holly Springs, Mississippi; in 1926, in Ohio, Canton Daily News editor Donald Mellett, who was investigating corruption and underworld influence in the local police department, was assassinated; in 1938, Mildred Bray filed her candidacy for state superintendent of schools, the post to which she was appointed on the previous December 8 by Governor Richard Kirman after the death of Chauncey Smith; in 1941, President Franklin Roosevelt signed executive order 8821, reserving public land in Nevada for the use of the Department of the Navy for naval aviation purposes; in 1942, French police rounded up 12,884 Jews, including 4,501 children and 5,802 women, in Paris (they were sent first to Drancy, then Auschwitz) in what became known as La Grande Rafle the big sweep (in 1995 a French official, Jacques Chirac, finally admitted official France's responsibility for the sweep); in 1945, New York Times reporter William L. Laurence was the only reporter permitted to be present at the explosion of the first atomic device in Alamogordo (on September 12, 1945, Laurence wrote a story misrepresenting the event in order to help the U.S. government counter reports of radiation sickness at Hiroshima: "This historic ground in New Mexico, scene of the first atomic explosion on earth and cradle of a new era in civilization, gave the most effective answer today to Japanese propaganda that radiations were responsible for deaths even after the day of the explosion, Aug. 6, and that persons entering Hiroshima had contracted mysterious maladies due to persistent radioactivity."); in 1947, two men were arrested for the July 4 dynamiting of the Overton, Nevada jail; in 1951, The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger was published; in 1952, The Captive City starring John Forsythe, filmed in Carson City and Reno and endorsed by U.S. Senator Estes Kefauver, opened at the Fremont Theatre in Las Vegas; in 1962, Assemblymember Maude Frazier of Clark County resigned from the Nevada Legislature to become lieutenant governor of Nevada, appointed by Governor Grant Sawyer after the death of Lieutenant Governor Rex Bell; in 1966, Summer In The City by the Lovin' Spoonful was released and Jeff Barry and Ellie Greenwich's Hanky Panky by Tommy James and the Shondells hit number one on the Billboard chart (Tommy James: "I don"t think anybody can record a song that bad and make it sound good."); in 1970, U.S. Representative William Anderson of Tennessee, who previously threw a spotlight on the Saigon regime's "tiger cages" prison on Con Son Island, reported evidence of a second torture prison; in 1970, Governor Paul Laxalt, invited by a labor leader on July 13 to intervene in a strike at the atomic test site, announced that members of Operating Engineers Local 12 would return to work; in 1971, McCarran Airport in Clark County became McCarran International Airport when it was made a customs port of entry; in 1979, Saddam Hussein became president of Iraq; in 1985, Rock Hudson participated in a news conference to promote the cable show of his friend Doris Day and his emaciated appearance shocked both Day and the public, and within days speculative stories about Hudson and AIDS began to appear; in 1992, in one of the most deft political maneuvers in many years, Ross Perot withdrew from the presidential race, then spent several weeks reorganizing his campaign, selecting state presidential electors, and qualifying for all 50 state ballots, and then re-entered the race on October 1, avoiding two and a half months of scrutiny because the press treated him all that time as if he were not a candidate; in 1992, after an acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention whose principal device the "New Covenant" fell flat and was quickly forgotten, Bill Clinton's presidential nomination was celebrated in the convention hall (Madison Square Garden) not to the traditional Happy Days Are Here Again but to Fleetwood Mac's Don't Stop.
Update: Saturday, July 15, 2006, 12:56 a.m. PDT On this date in 1918, the Second Battle of the Marne began during World War I. [New York Times/AP e-headlines]
On this date in 1205, in a letter to the archbishop of Sens, Pope Innocent 3d decreed that Jews, as crucifiers of Christ, are doomed to perpetual punishment and labor (Innocent's fourth Lateran council ruled that Jews and Sarazens had to differentiate themselves from the rest of the population by wearing distinguishing clothing marks, a technique later adopted by the Nazis); In 1606, Rembrandt was born in Leyden [Leiden] in the Netherlands; in 1870, Georgia was readmitted to the union, the last state in the Confederacy to be readmitted; in 1929, the Southern Pacific discontinued its morning bus service between Truckee and Reno; in 1933, in Clark County, the U.S. Forest Service gave its approval for a highway into Charleston Park; in 1947, the Northwestern National Life Insurance Company, tracking the beginning of the baby boom, reported that seven children were being born every minute in the United States; in 1964, Barry Goldwater of Arizona won the Republican presidential nomination; in 1966, When A Man Loves A Woman by Percy Sledge went gold; in 1970, a bill returning land to the Washoe Tribe in Woodfords received final congressional approval; in 1979, President Carter made a nationally televised speech on what he called the U.S. "crisis of confidence", an address the press called the "malaise" speech (a term Carter did not use); in 1996, Microsoft and NBC launched MSNBC, immediately lowering the tone of political coverage with its emphasis on food fight political chat shows (and making news coverage of Microsoft by NBC News suspect); in 2004, the Las Vegas monorail began operation.
Update: Friday, July 14, 2006, 5:58 a.m. PDT On this date in 1965, the American space probe Mariner 4 flew by Mars, sending back photographs of the planet. [New York Times/AP e-headlines]
On this date in 1798, the U.S. Sedition Act was enacted, one of four laws designed to use state power to destroy Thomas Jefferson's Republican Party by making "malicious" criticism of the state a crime, essentially voiding the First Amendment (after President John Adams was defeated for reelection in part on the sedition issue, the Sedition Act was allowed to expire and his successor President Jefferson pardoned its victims; it was reenacted in 1918); in 1862, 18,325 square miles of the Territory of Utah were shifted to the Territory of Nevada; in 1875, as the Virginia and Truckee's train number eleven passed Silver City switch, sparks from the train set the station house on fire, destroying the platform and one end of the depot; in 1891, the Syrup of Figs Company held its annual meeting in Reno (Syrup of Figs was a popular patent medicine, a laxative that was used as part of the ritual at "psychic" Edgar Cayce's readings); in 1906, Secretary of the Interior Ethan Hitchcock increased appropriations for the first federal reclamation projects (Klamath, Oregon; Hondo, New Mexico; Minidoka, Idaho; Truckee/Carson, Nevada; Payette, Idaho; Lower Yellowstone, Montana), adding $700,000 to the previous $3,000,000 funding for the Nevada project; in 1914, in Tokyo, British journalist Andrew M. Pooley was sentenced to two years in prison for receiving stolen documents in connection with a Japanese naval scandal; in 1936, an El Dorado County forest ranger spotted a "wild man" at Lake Tahoe, generating speculation that he was either a missing Homewood caretaker or an escaped inmate from the Nevada State Prison; in 1947, acting on a motion by U.S. Senator Patrick McCarran of Nevada, the senate judiciary committee on a 7 to 6 vote killed an inquiry into the U.S. justice department's investigation of voting fraud in President Truman's home congressional district after a preliminary probe showed no reason to proceed; in 1965, the U.S. House voted to remove silver from quarters and dimes and to reduce the silver content of half dollars (U.S. Representative Walter Baring of Nevada voted against the change); in 1965, police said they had run out of clues on the fate of vanished Winnemucca Indian Colony leader Delbert Howard since someone tried to use his identification at a Las Vegas bank; in 1966, Paperback Writer by the Beatles went gold; in 1970, a U.S. House armed forces subcommittee made up entirely of outspoken supporters of the war in Vietnam, issued a report harshly critical of what it called the deliberate murder of noncombatants at My Lai and a "concerted" coverup of the crime; in 1970 (in an all-star game), Cleveland Indians and former Reno Silver Sox catcher Ray Fosse was bowled over by Cincinnati's Pete Rose, who was racing to beat a ball home (Fosse was taken to the hospital for examination of his shoulder); in 1971, Shiloh House, a religious crash pad in Reno, was closed and police said it left a void because there were few facilities for homeless single women, family groups, and children; in 1989, in South Carolina, 432 guitarists played Louie Louie in unison for thirty minutes; in 2003, columnist Robert Novak outed CIA officer Valerie Plame.
On July 13, 2006, Valerie Plame Wilson and her husband, Ambassador Joseph L. Wilson IV, sued Vice-President Cheney, his indicted aide, Scooter Libby and Bush's Brain Karl Rove, "charging they had conspired to violate their constitutional rights." [New York Times 7-14-2006, free registration may be required.]
UPDATE: THURSDAY, JULY 13, 2006, 1:24 A.M PDT Fallon area communications contract announced.
Update: Thursday, July 13, 2006, 12:48 a.m. PDT On this date in 1912, the U.S. Senate, finding "that corrupt methods and practices were employed in his election, and that the election, therefore, was invalid", unseated Senator William Lorimer of Illinois; in 1917, three children in Fatima, Portugal, reported having visions of a woman; in 1918, twenty weeks after independence, in an effort to stave off annexation to Prussia or Saxony, the Lithuanian State Council declared a constitutional monarchy with Duke William von Urach of Wittenberg declared King Mindaugas II (the declaration was later revoked in favor of a proclamation of constitutional government); in 1933, Nevada labor leader and Democratic Party figure A.V. Dalrymple was appointed deputy prohibition administrator for the Nevada district five months before prohibition was repealed; in 1952, before the Las Vegas Westside Elks Club, Los Angeles attorney Hugh MacBeth (who was about to serve as a California delegate to the Democratic National Convention in Chicago), "instigator" as the Las Vegas Review Journal described him of the planned Inter-racial Village in Clark County, gave the first of three speeches during the week before service groups in Las Vegas; in 1960, U.S. Senator John Kennedy of Massachusetts was nominated for president by the Democratic National Convention meeting in Los Angeles; in 1968, Born To Be Wild by Steppenwolf was released; in 1970, Miners Local 872 business manager James Ryan asked Governor Paul Laxalt to step into a strike of Nevada atomic testing workers and mediate an agreement; in 1970, former KCRL (now KRNV) television news director and anchorman Nick Lauri of Reno filed his candidacy for the Nevada Assembly; in 1970, Cherry Creek, Nevada, poet Hugo Ralph Frank died in Ely; in 1970, Nevada Assembly speaker Howard McKissick, a Washoe County Republican, called Nevada's $24 million surplus too high and proposed that the state "either knock off the sales tax or start paying state employees and state teachers living wages"; in 1973, in room G-334 of the Dirsken Senate Office Building, Alexander Butterfield told four senate staffers that President Nixon had installed taping systems in all presidential offices of the White House and the Executive Office Building, lighting a fuse that led to Nixon's resignation; SPEAKING OF BLOWING FUSES: in 1977, a 25-hour blackout hit the New York City area after lightning struck upstate power lines [New York Times/AP e-headlines]; in 2000, at First Avenue and 44th Street in New York City, a peace sculpture to John Lennon's memory was unveiled.
Update: Wednesday, July 12, 2006, 1:43 p.m. PDT On July 12, 1984, Democratic presidential candidate Walter F. Mondale named New York Congresswoman Geraldine A. Ferraro his running mate, making her the first woman to run on a major party ticket. [New York Times/AP e-headlines]
On July 12, 1917, Arizona vigilantes hauled more than a thousand striking copper miners from their beds, loaded them into a railroad car, shipped them across the border to New Mexico, and abandoned them in the desert; in 1933, a Las Vegas chamber of commerce delegation departed for Carson City to lobby state highway engineer S.C. Durkee for completion of the Beatty/Las Vegas highway; in 1947, an investment group headed by the El Rancho Vegas' Sanford Adler purchased the Flamingo Casino Hotel; in 1951, a mob tried to keep an African American family from moving into their home in Cicero, Illinois, sparking rioting. The Cicero police did nothing and Governor Adlai Stevenson called in the national guard; in 1966, the Nevada State Journal began publication of a six part series on the Reno Sparks Indian Colony; in 1967, billionaire Howard Hughes bought the New Frontier hotel casino in Clark County; in 1972, U.S. Senator George McGovern was nominated for president by the Democratic National Convention; in 1977, President Carter said of court decisions limiting access of the poor to health payments for abortion "There are many things in life that are not fair" (Ms. magazine put a pregnant Carter on its cover next to the headline "Life is unfair"); in 1984, probable Democratic presidential nominee Walter Mondale announced he had selected U.S. Representative Geraldine Ferraro of Queens to be the first woman vice-presidential candidate on a major party ticket.
Update: Tuesday, July 11, 2006, 12:53 p.m. PDT On July 11, 1899, E.B. White, author of Charlotte's Web, Stuart Little, The Trumpet of the Swan, The Elements of Style and The Elements of Editing was born in Mount Vernon; in 1905, the Niagara Movement, a gathering of 29 influential African American leaders, met secretly in Ontario to draft a manifesto denouncing Booker T. Washington's "accommodation" approach to black rights; in 1947, Nevada Governor Edward Carville resigned and was appointed to the U.S. Senate by Lieutenant Governor Vail Pittman (he is one of three U.S. governors who appointed themselves to the senate, and all three were defeated in the next election); in 1947, what was reportedly the first armed robbery in Boulder City occurred on Cherry Street when two men with a gun took a purse from a church organist and bureau of reclamation employee; in 1949, after the first trial of Alger Hiss, which ended in a hung jury, Hearst's New York Journal American reported that the jurors who voted for acquittal had received threats and then accommodatingly published the home addresses of two of the jurors; in 1959, at the Newport Folk Festival folk singer Bob Gibson called Joan Baez out of the audience to sing on stage and the performance became Baez's first recording; in 1970, Saigon police fired tear gas to break up a march by 1,000 Vietnamese demanding an end to the Vietnam war; in 1974, the U.S. House Judiciary Committee released 4,133 pages of evidence against President Nixon in the House impeachment inquiry.
Update: Monday, July 10, 2006, 12:28 a.m. PDT On July 10, 1940, during World War II, the 114-day Battle of Britain began as Nazi forces began attacking southern England by air. By late October, Britain managed to repel the Luftwaffe, which suffered heavy losses. [New York Times/AP e-headlines]
On this date in 1874, plans were being made to mark the 25th anniversary of the schooner Alexander von Humboldt in San Francisco on August 30, 1849, with hopes that surviving passengers and crew would attend; in 1875, it was reported that the New York Herald, using a Vanderbilt train leaving the city at 2:30 a.m., was planning to deliver its Sunday edition in Chicago by Monday morning, 24 hours ahead of any other New York newspaper; in 1875, according to the Nevada State Journal "The Grass Valley Union published a two-column Fourth of July poem and every able-bodied man in town is out with a club looking for the poet. The guilty editor has barricaded the door, and spends his time drilling the printers."; in 1877, as the Sutro tunnel neared completion, the New York Engineering and Mining Journal praised Adolph Sutro and denounced the mining corporation executives who opposed him; in 1879, in Reno's effort to have a library, temperance supporters were "arranging to build a suitable edifice" for their reading room and billiard room near the Episcopal Church; in 1943, Soviet military forces were told to stand or die in clashes with German storm troops in the Belgorod Oblast region; in 1951, mystery author Dashiell Hammett was jailed for contempt of Congress after refusing to tell who furnished bond for four fugitive communist leaders, and U.S. Senator Patrick McCarran of Nevada said the senate internal security committee had subpoenaed Frederick Field and his bank records to be questioned about his supposed involvement with the four communists; in 1957, Arlo Guthrie was born; in 1959, longtime U.S. State Department staffer Helen Batjer of Smith Valley was assigned to the U.S. embassy in Belgrade; in 1964, the single Things We Said Today b/w A Hard Day's Night by the Beatles was released in Britain by Parlophone (by Capitol on July 13 in the U.S., but with I Should Have Known Better instead of Things); the (motion picture) soundtrack album for A Hard Day's Night was also released in Britain two weeks after the U.S. release (which was also a different version from the British one), and Liverpool hosted the second premiere of the film, drawing hundreds of thousands of fans who greeted the fab four on their return to their home town; in 1985, responding to a flurry of bad publicity about New Coke, the Coca Cola Company said it would restore the original recipe, though since the recipe is a secret, it's not confirmable that it did so (the leader of the anti-New Coke campaign, when given a taste test by a newspaper, was unable to distinguish between the old and new Coca Cola).
Update: Sunday, July 9, 2006, 2:46 a.m. PDT NevadaLabor.com announces the frontrunner for morally obtuse labor lyncher of the year: "When I was starting out in practice, I had to choose which side of the fence to be on," he said. "I came to the conclusion that if you can represent a good employer, you can do a lot more for the workers than you can by representing unions. My parents were both working people and union members. I wanted to do something that would have a positive impact on people's lives." Gregory Kamer, former National Labor Relations Board attorney named one of the 12 best lawyers in the state in the July, 2006, edition of Nevada Business Journal magazine (at pp. 19-20). If this guy ever wants to return to government service, he would be well-suited to join the administration of Nevada Gov. Dudley Do-Right who has turned the Nevada labor commissioner into the anti-labor commissioner. Alas and alack, Mr. Kamer is merely the latest in an endless line of examples of someone launched into the upper middle class by union wages and benefits who has made it his life's work to make sure no one else has that opportunity. I pity people who are ashamed of who they really are. Self-loathing is so loathsome to behold. If anyone knows the address of Mr. Kamer's parents, I'd like to get a statement as to their opinions about their son's sanctimonious self-perception as representing the holy of holies for workers. Call me. BARBWIRE
On July 9, 1868, ratification of the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, providing equal protection under the law and extending the protection of the Bill of Rights to the states, was completed; in 1879, Secretary of the Senate John Burch said that if U.S. Senator William Sharon of California (elected from Nevada) tried to claim his salary then he (Burch) would submit the case to the controller of the U.S. Treasury (Sharon had shown up for work for only two months of his four years in office); in 1898, U.S. Representative Ebenezer Hill of Connecticut said in Seattle that he supported moving the Carson City branch of the U.S. Mint to Seattle; in 1906, U.S. Senator William Clark (for whom Clark County, Nevada, is named) of Montana endorsed William Jennings Bryan for a third Democratic presidential nomination; in 1925, the Scopes evolution trial began in Dayton, Tennessee, with Clarence Darrow for the defense and William Jennings Bryan for the prosecution; in 1926, former Nebraska governor and Democratic vice presidential nominee Charles Bryan (brother of William Jennings Bryan) announced he would run again for governor (he lost but then was elected again in 1930); in 1926, the Southern Pacific Railroad filed a petition with the Nevada pubic service commission to abandon its station in Wadsworth, once a division point and the site of the railroad's shops and roundhouse; in 1931, after a news story appeared reporting that President Hoover suddenly departed the presidential retreat Rapidan Camp in the Blue Ridge Mountains, leaving his secret service agents and reporters behind, Hoover ordered an investigation of press leaks and said he did not want news stories appearing on himself or the White House unless they came from official sources; in 1943, in what army officials said might have been a record for rapid advancement, actor Melvyn Douglas was promoted from private to captain six months after he entered the service; in 1947, the Las Vegas school board called for bids on the construction of ten more classrooms for two North Las Vegas schools and partitioning of the high school study hall into six classrooms; in 1955, faced with a strike by every unionist in Milwaukee if an unloading permit were issued for the Norwegian freighter Fossum's cargo (intended for the struck Kohler Company), socialist Mayor Frank Zeidler suggested the ship unload at Sheboygan and the harbor commission denied the permit (and Sheboygan's mayor said he wouldn't let the cargo be unloaded there, either); in 1959, a federal magistrate ordered that Edward Hay be returned from New Jersey to Nevada where he was under indictment for stealing the Krupp diamond ring, a 33.19 carat gem belonging to Vera Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach, former wife of German munitions executive Alfred Krupp (after Ms. Krupp's death, the diamond was purchased by Elizabeth Taylor on May 16 1968 for $305,000); in 1971, Gary Sheerin was named Nevada's first state public defender; in 1984, Carolyn Anne Olsen was born at St. Mary's Hospital in Reno; in 1995, the last concert of the Grateful Dead was staged at Soldier Field in Chicago; in 2004, a Senate Intelligence Committee report found that the Central Intelligence Agency had supplied unfounded claims of the threat presented by Iraq.
Belle Livingston (Notorious NY/SFO/Reno Prohibition-era speakeasy operator):
- Men are nicer to the women they don't marry.
- I looked always outside of myself to see what I could make the world give me, instead of looking within myself to see what was there.
Update: Saturday, July 8, 2006, 10:46 a.m. PDT On this date in 1863, the Collins House hotel opened in Virginia City, Nevada, with remarks at the opening by some of the Comstock's great orators Tom Fitch, Rollin M. Daggett, Mark Twain, Colonel Turner, Judge Ferris and others, which remarks unfortunately have not survived (Virginia City Evening Bulletin: "Perhaps the speech of the evening was made by Sam Clemens. He almost brought the house to tears by his touching simple pathos."); in 1885, a fire in Carson City destroyed everything within two square blocks; in 1905, the Las Vegas Land and Water Company signed a contract with a Los Angeles firm for "extensive street improvements" costing $50,000; in 1919, the county attorney in Douglas, Arizona, announced that a hundred arrest warrants would be issued against people involved in the Bisbee deportation (in which vigilantes on July 12, 1917, hauled 2,000 striking copper miners from their beds, loaded 1,186 of them into a railroad car, shipped them across the border to New Mexico, and abandoned them in the desert) and that an additional 200 people would eventually also be arrested; in 1919, President Wilson arrived back in the United States from the European treaty conference to be greeted by cheering crowds in New Jersey and New York, while in Washington, Senator Lawrence Sherman of Illinois introduced a measure hostile to Wilson's League of Nations; in 1919, the Nevada governor's office received a telegram from the U.S. war trade industries board that said the English government was asking the U.S. treasury for a hundred million ounces of silver; in 1933, Adolf Hitler declared "The party has now become the state," six days before German law outlawed all political parties other than the Nazis; in 1936, four inmates sawed through bars across a prison hospital window and escaped from the Nevada State Prison hospital in Carson City in the dead of night; in 1936, Frank Ingram, state director of the national emergency council (a depression agency), said Nevada had an excess of hay in Lovelock, Fallon and Yerington and could accept 50,000 cattle from the drought stricken midwest; in 1966, the album Yesterday and Today by the Beatles went gold; in 1975, Judge John Sexton, who over the years had been the subject of removal or disbarment proceedings in the Nevada Legislature, the Nevada Supreme Court, and the state bar, who once went on strike for a week, and who sat on a strike injunction case in Las Vegas when he should have been appeared on a driving under the influence charge, died at St. Mary's Hospital in Reno; in 1999, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration reclassified Marinol, a synthetic form of tetra-hydro-cannabinol (the active ingredient found in cannabis), from Schedule II to Schedule III; in 1999, a desert storm dumped three inches of rain on Las Vegas, causing two deaths and the closure of 40 roads and intersections.
Update: Friday, July 7, 2006, 1:08 a.m. PDT On this date in 1981, President Reagan announced he was nominating Arizona Judge Sandra Day O'Connor to become the first female justice on the United States Supreme Court. [New York Times/AP e-headlines]
On July 7, 1930, construction began on Boulder Dam, since renamed Hoover Dam, on the Nevada/Arizona border. It has since been called one of the seven wonders of the modern world.
Television critic John Crosby/New York Herald Tribune: There have some dull See It Now shows, and some have been better than others, but it is by every criterion television's most brilliant, most decorated, most imaginative, most courageous and most important program. The fact that CBS cannot afford it but can afford Beat the Clock is shocking. (See below.)
On this date in 1865, four alleged conspirators in the Lincoln assassination, Mary Surratt, Lewis Paine, David Herold and George Atzerodt were hanged at the Washington Arsenal, now a part of Fort McNair (Surratt was the first woman ever executed by the U.S. government); in 1871, the Washoe County commissioners voted to purchase land south of the Truckee River for a county courthouse from Myron Lake, provoking angry protests over the decision to build outside of town instead of in a more central location north of the river; in 1913, piano blues great Joe Willie "Pinetop" Perkins was born in Belzoni in the Mississippi Delta; in 1922, former U.S. Senator Charles Henderson's federal libel suit against the Nevada State Journal, an outgrowth of the 1920 campaign, saw the introduction in evidence of several editorials to demonstrate animus; in 1940, Richard Starkey was born in the Dingle neighborhood of Liverpool; in 1946, Bob Stoddard's radio station KATO (later KBET) began broadcasting from offices in the Elks Club at Sierra and First Streets in Reno; in 1954, Elvis' voice was heard on the radio for the first time when deejay Dewey Phillips played That's All Right, Mama on WHBQ in Memphis (Elvis was hiding in a movie theatre, and his parents found him there and told him the song had drawn phone calls and was being played over and over on the radio station); in 1956, a congressional committee met at the Sands Hotel in Las Vegas about the June 30 midair collision over the Grand Canyon of TWA and United airliners and how to prevent such events (the tragedy led to the creation of the air traffic control system); in 1956, Nellis air base pilot Ralph Detwiler was flying over the Nevada desert and approaching the speed of sound when his canopy burst off (he was able to land safely); in 1958, See It Now, the distinguished news program produced by Edward R. Murrow and Fred Friendly, was taken off the air by CBS chair William Paley; in 1963, the Mat Vu (secret police of the U.S.-backed south Vietnamese dictatorship) attacked and beat reporter Peter Arnett, who was covering a Buddhist anti-government protest; in 1967, All You Need Is Love b/w Baby You're A Rich Man by the Beatles was released in Britain by Parlophone (by Capitol on July 17 in the U.S.); in 1970, University of Nevada regent Tom Bell, finding himself more in the glare of the spotlight after becoming an attorney for billionaire Howard Hughes, announced he would not run for reelection; in 1970, the Nevada Public Service Commission held a hearing on an application for "J.C. Bus Lines Ltd." a proposed city bus service for Reno owned by brothel owner Joe Conforte; in 1999, President Clinton visited the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.
Update: Thursday, July 6, 2006, 1:22 a.m. PDT On this date in 1957, Althea Gibson became the first black tennis player to win a Wimbledon singles title, defeating fellow American Darlene Hard 6-3, 6-2. [New York Times/AP e-headlines]
The great composer and vocalist Tom Lehrer once said that satire died the day that Henry Kissinger, who prolonged the Vietnam War by almost a decade, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. All that's left is the unintentional howler, a sterling example of which comes from today's New York Times:
NEWS ANALYSIS By DAVID E. SANGER, 7-6-2006
Few Good Choices in North Korean Standoff (Free registration may be required.)
The choices have to do with the bigger question of whether President Bush is prepared to leave office in 2009 without constraining an unpredictable dictator.
BARBWIRE: Unless he stages an overt rather than another covert coup d'etat, the unpredictable dictator will be forced to retire in 2009. I don't know about Kim Jong Il.
On July 6, 1868, the South Carolina House convened with the only African American majority in a state legislature in U.S. history (this majority sought reforms in education, jury trials, local government, and land ownership), though tales of irresponsible post-civil war black legislatures abound in fiction, including some textbooks; in 1926, at a labor meeting in Ely, congressional candidates discussed their positions on the world court and alcohol prohibition; in 1926, during a boxing match in Lovelock, referee Fred Preston (a local businessperson) was trying to break a clinch when he got in the way of a right uppercut that knocked him out; in 1926, the syndicated cartoon Out Our Way showed a group of hobos alighting in Las Vegas and commenting on the local police; in 1937, the U.S. Public Works Administration, a New Deal agency, reported in Washington that it had declared twelve Nevada projects (including a Las Vegas electric plant, a Fallon courthouse, a Lund waterworks, education projects in Clark County and Ely and Elko, and street projects in Sparks and Las Vegas) eligible for $1,193,818 in federal funds; in 1955, in a radio speech to Vietnamese, Saigon dictator Ngo Dinh Diem said he would not abide by the Geneva accords and made it plain that he would not hold the elections guaranteed by those accords; in 1957, John Lennon's Quarry Men played in a Woolton parade and at a gathering in St. Peter's churchyard where Lennon was introduced to Paul McCartney; in 1966, during a Beatles trip to the Phillippines, first lady Imelda Marcos threw a party for them but neglected to confirm their attendance, then when they failed to appear she told the newspapers that she had been snubbed; in 1981, a federal court overturned a Texas law prohibiting cross dressing.
Update: Wednesday, July 5, 2006, 1:17 a.m. PDT On this date in 1975, Arthur Ashe became the first black man to win a Wimbledon singles title as he defeated Jimmy Connors. [New York Times/AP e-headlines]
On July 5, 1915, William Jennings Bryan spoke for peace at the Panama Pacific Exposition in San Francisco (and outdrew the pro-war Theodore Roosevelt); in 1933, an expedition headed by former Antarctica explorer J.M. Mackenzie was being planned in London to search for the lost continent of Lemuria; in 1933, a former Carnegie Museum fossil expert found a burial site of Pliocene era mammals (including camelops, or humpless camels) north of Las Vegas and shipped a thousand pounds of fossilized hones to the American Museum of Natural History in New York; in 1933, because of the falling level of the Truckee River, users with water rights dating after 1900 were cut off for any purposes other than watering stock; in 1935, the National Labor Relations Act was signed into law; in 1941, President Franklin Roosevelt signed executive order 8819, excluding Nevada public land from the Humboldt National Forest and reserving it for townsite purposes; in 1946, Larry Doby became the first African American baseball player in the American League when he signed with Cleveland; in 1947, Hollywood producer Mike Todd married actress Joan Blondell in Las Vegas; in 1954, Elvis recorded his first song for Sun Records That's All Right, Mama an event that is listed at number one in Rolling Stone's "50 moments that changed the history of rock 'n' roll"; in 1956, it was reported that John Graham, a Colorado death row inmate, had offered his eyes to labor columnist Victor Riesel, who was blinded by acid thrown in his face after he wrote about mob influence in some unions (the offer was declined because a cornea transplant would not restore Riesel's sight); in 1956, at Cedar Breaks National Monument in Utah, a uranium hunter got out of his jeep and walked away and it rolled forward over a cliff into a 475 foot canyon, taking his equipment, drilling rig, and trailer with it; in 1961, Las Vegas desk clerk Forrest MacMullen, who once went hunting with Ernest Hemingway, departed the Nevada city for Ketchum to be a pallbearer at Hemingway's funeral; in 1968, Bill Graham opened Fillmore West; in 2003, on the air, MSNBC talk show host Michael Savage told a gay listener to die of AIDS ("Oh, you're one of the sodomites. You should only get AIDS and die, you pig. How's that? Why don't you see if you can sue me, you pig. You got nothing better than to put me down, you piece of garbage. You have got nothing to do today, go eat a sausage and choke on it."), a tirade that resulted in his firing "the decision was an easy one," said a network spokesperson.
On July 4, 1976, the United States celebrated its Bicentential (sic If the Associated Press and New York Times say there's such a thing as a "Bicentential," who are we to argue? Maybe it applies to people who always speak in two sentences. Or who have done two stretches in the pen.) In 1776, the Continental Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence.
On July 4, 1910, undefeated former heavyweight champion James J. Jefferies came out of retirement to face champion Jack Johnson in the "Fight of the Century" in Reno at what is today the corner to E. 4th and Toano Streets. Former champion Jess Willard, interviewed in 1967 by Guy LeBow (who died in New York last week) on the computerized fantasy all-time heavyweight elimination radio series, said that Jefferies was "sick" and never should have attempted the comeback. Willard would inherit the mantle of "Great White Hope" and defeat an overconfident Johnson in the heat of Havana in 1915. Johnson, arguably the best fighter of the first half of the 20th Century and Muhammad Ali's idol, was never allowed another title fight. Read Guy Rocha's latest lookback at the Johnson/Jefferies bout.
Frederick Douglass/Fourth of July address/1852: "Go where you may, search where you will, roam through all the monarchies and despotisms of the Old World, travel through South America, search out every abuse and when you have found the last, lay your facts by the side of the everyday practices of this nation, and you will say with me that, for revolting barbarity and shameless hypocrisy, America reigns without a rival..."
On this date in 1776, the Declaration of Independence was approved, though the signing was not until August 2d; in 1824, Thomas Jefferson and John Adams died; in 1831, James Monroe died; in 1854, in Framingham, Massachusetts, abolitionist leader William Lloyd Garrison publicly burned a copy of the United States Constitution; in 1864, the second Nevada constitutional convention began in Carson City; in 1867, the Virginia City Miners' Union was formed; in 1884, John Kinkead of Nevada, a former resident from 1867 to 1874 of Alaska in Sitka, treasurer of the Territory of Nevada and governor of the state of Nevada from 1879 to 1883, was appointed first governor of the Territory of Alaska; in 1918, Spanish American War veterans held a picnic at Bowers' Mansion; in 1930, on the lodge notices page of the Oakland Tribune along with the Oddfellows and Pythian Sisters, there were fourteen chapters of the Ku Klux Klan listed; in 1941, in the days when newspapers filled empty spaces at the bottom of their columns with interesting facts, the Modesto Bee and News Herald carried this filler at the bottom of a story about a priest on page three: "Nevada is the least populated state in the union, with only one person to the square mile."; in 1941, census figures showed that the highest auto accident rates were all in small western states, with Nevada in first place: Nevada, Wyoming, Arizona, Montana, and Idaho; in 1946, the United States avoided United Nations oversight of its Phillippines colony by granting token "independence" to the islands after a half-century of occupation, but retained effective control of Filipino trade and politics and maintained a military presence there; in 1950, news reports said actor, former heavyweight boxer and Reno nightclub owner Buddy Baer (brother of former heavyweight champ and actor Max and uncle of Jethro), was mauled by a lion in Rome during the filming of MGM's Quo Vadis; in 1958, Sewell's Grocery employees could be outside to watch the Reno Fourth of July parade because the company closed the store for the day, and customers at the Riverside bar could stay inside and watch the parade (which was taking place about nine feet away) on closed circuit television; in 1959, the United States got a 49-star flag, which lasted exactly one year; in 1960, the United States got a 50- state flag; in 1962, Nevada Lieutenant Governor Rex Bell died at a political event while campaigning for governor; in 1966, President Johnson approved the Freedom of Information Act; in 1973, downtown Reno was "nearly deserted" on the Fourth of July because of the gasoline shortage sparked by the Arab oil embargo; in 1976, Don't Go Breaking My Heart by Kiki Dee and Elton John was released; in 1976, on this bicentennial fourth of July, Alistair Cooke wrote approvingly of pioneer judges in Nevada mining cases, Channel 5 in Levittown, New Jersey, showed Dig That Uranium (a 1956 Bowery Boys movie in which the Boys sell a mine in Nevada), the Fresno Bee ran a story about an early Nevada editor who started a temperance colony, Ann Landers answered a letter from "Nevada Girl Friday", and the Bucks County Courier Times reported on a helicopter dropping supplies to a commemorative wagon train crossing the Nevada desert; in 2004, the Pete Best Band played Maxwell's in Hoboken, New Jersey.
Update: Monday, July 3, 2006, 5:19 a.m. PDT On this date in 1863, the Civil War Battle of Gettysburg in Pennsylvania ended after three days in a major victory for the North as Confederate troops retreated. [New York Times/AP e-headlines]
On this date in 1848, following a slave revolt, Generalguvernør Peter Von Scholten declared the abolition of slavery in the Danish West Indies (now the U.S. Virgin Islands); in 1909, the Comstock began a three day celebration of its 50th anniversary; in 1911, Washoe County began a three day celebration of its 50th anniversary; in 1926, the Nevada Labor Federation convention renewed its support of an amendment to the U.S. Constitution outlawing child labor; in 1933, in a competition with rival cowboy actor Ken Maynard at the National Air Races in Los Angeles, Hoot Gibson's plane crashed but he survived; in 1933, the Nevada Highway Department adopted a plan for the $4,545,972 allotted to Nevada for highway construction as part of New Deal job creation programs; in 1936, Austrian Stefan Lux, a reporter for a Czech newspaper, called out "C'est le dernier coup" (This is the last blow) and then killed himself in the League of Nations assembly hall to draw attention to the plight of Jews in Germany; in 1941, German forces crossed the Dvina River from Lithuania into Latvia as they swept through the Baltics; in 1941, U.S. Senator Burton Wheeler of Montana, a Democratic leader of the non-intervention forces in Congress, said he had evidence that the Roosevelt administration would soon send troops to take over Iceland in order to control northern sea lane approaches to England; in 1941, movie actor Brad King of Nevada (Riders Of The Timberline, Stick To Your Guns) returned home to participate in the Reno Rodeo and Independence Day; in 1947, a filmmaker named Hobart Brownell was in Reno making a documentary titled Nevada Land of Surprises for Standard Oil of California (in 1955, Standard donated a copy of the movie to the University of Nevada); in 1969, a short-lived crossover between rock and jazz (the bible of jazz, Downbeat, started covering rock, sparking angry letters from its long time readers) manifested itself with the appearance of Ten Years After, Led Zeppelin, and other rock acts at the Newport Jazz Festival, an inclusion never again repeated by the festival; in 1970, at the behest of the Downtown Casino Association, the American Independent Party of Nevada, and local law enforcement agencies, the Las Vegas city commission rushed through an "emergency" ordinance in an effort to stop a five-hour rock festival at Cashman Field featuring Janis Joplin, B.B. King, Country Joe and the Fish, the Youngbloods, and the Illinois Transit (on July 5, Georgia Governor Lester Maddox requested a law outlawing rock festivals in his state); in 1988, a civilian Iranian airliner carrying 66 Iranian children and their family members from a summer at Bandar Abbas to Dubai was brought down by anti-aircraft fire from the U.S.S. Vincennes, killing all 290 passengers, which may have played a role in provoking the December 1988 Pam Am 103 bombing over Lockerbie, Scotland; in 1996, the movie Independence Day, set in part at Nevada's Area 51 base, debuted (the film's marketer and some of its stars appeared on March 22d at the dedication of Nevada's "Extraterrestrial Highway").
Update: Sunday, July 2, 2006, 3:42 a.m. PDT On this date in 1937, aviatrix Amelia Earhart and navigator Fred Noonan disappeared over the Pacific Ocean while attempting to make the first round-the-world flight at the equator [New York Times/AP e-headlines]; in 1906, the Douglas County Commission officially recognized the new town of Minden. [Nevada Magazine calendar]
On this date in 1776, the Continental Congress declared independence from England; in 1909, the former Coney Island amusement park on the Sparks/Reno road was reopened as a tourist court; in 1911, U.S. Zionists meeting in Tannersville, New York, laid plans for purchases of 100,000 acres of land annually in Palestine to establish colonies; in 1923, after a year shut down, Fallon's Calneva oil well began operating again; in 1934, U.S. Marshall for Nevada Zeb Ray died of a heart attack on Eight Mile Flat east of Fallon and his deputy Harvey Dickerson became acting marshal (it was the latest of several deaths of prominent Nevada officials, including Ray's predecessor Jake Fulmer, Reno Mayor Ed Roberts, and Governor Fred Balzar); in 1946, most of the 73 ships hauled into the Bikini Atoll area to be sunk by an atom bomb test, including the U.S.S. Nevada, survived the explosion; in 1947, Mormon Lake, a 12 mile long resort lake a half hour south of Flagstaff, went dry; in 1947, an Idaho justice of the peace and the state's lieutenant governor reported seeing an unidentified flying object on the same day that a Boise businessperson reported seeing a flying saucer near Mount Rainier; in 1956, backed for the first time by the Jordanaires, Elvis recorded Don't Be Cruel, Anyway You Want Me, and Hound Dog; in 1970, Larry Ray Brenner, son of Virginia Brenner of Las Vegas, died in Vietnam (panel 09W line 109); in 1970, three years before Roe vs. Wade, the national convention of the Lutheran Church in America endorsed abortion; in 1977, the Nevada Supreme Court ruled that the law creating the Clark County Commission was unconstitutional and ordered that the seven incumbent commissioners be removed from office and that the governor appoint replacements (Governor Mike O'Callaghan said he would reappoint the same people who were being removed); in 1982, truck driver Larry Walters of Los Angeles tied 42 helium-filled balloons to his lawn chair and floated aloft, reaching 16,000 feet (three miles) where two pilots for TWA and Delta radioed sightings of him (imagine getting those reports), earning a $1,500 fine from federal aviation officials and becoming a folk hero for his 90 minute flight; in 2001, the Nevada Power Company in southern Nevada declared a red alert from 3 to 4:45 as rolling blackouts swept the west and Nevada Power ran out of electricity, cutting power to about 100,000 homes to save 100 megawatts at a time when 3,924 megawatts were needed, a record high; in 2003, President Bush invited attacks on the U.S. forces he sent to Iraq: "There are some who feel like that the conditions are such that they can attack us there. My answer is, bring them on."
Update: Saturday, July 1, 2006, 4:41 p.m. PDT On this date in 1879, the Nevada Supreme Court ruled against some white fishers who were fishing Pyramid Lake in spite of a prohibition against it and who argued that the lake was not within a valid tribal reservation; in 1882, the first state mental hospital in Nevada (now the Nevada Mental Health Institute), built along the Truckee east of Reno at a cost of $80,000, was completed; in 1892, the official Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano argued that "anti-Semitism ought to be the natural, sober, thoughtful, Christian reaction against Jewish predominance"; in 1894, University of Nevada President Joseph Stubbs was sworn into office; in 1899, President Stubbs received a telegram from L.W. Cushman in Goetingen, Germany, accepting the job of English and literature chair offered to him by the Nevada Board of Regents; in 1909, the Philadelphia mint began producing the new penny, with Lincoln replacing the Native American (Theodore Roosevelt regarded the addition of Lincoln to the penny as one of his major contributions to civil rights); in 1909, a helicoptre was reportedly successfully tested in Britwood, a District of Columbia suburb; in 1909, the Nevada Legislature created Clark County with Las Vegas as county seat. [Nevada Magazine calendar]; in 1937, two labor union picketers were arrested and charged by city attorney Douglas Busey under Reno's anti-picketing law; in 1942, during an angry exchange with Reno Mayor August Frohlich, J.E. Martie resigned as head of one of the divisions of the Reno wartime defense council, the third such official to quit (Robert Brambila and Clara Beatty had resigned earlier); in 1943, Max Stephan of Detroit, who was convicted of treason and sentenced to hang for showing a Luftwaffe pilot who escaped from a Canadian prisoner of war camp a good time in Detroit and then putting him on the bus for Chicago, was pardoned the day before his execution was scheduled to take place; in 1956, Clara Hoffman of Bell, California, was feted as the six millionth visitor to Hoover Dam; in 1956, after the Fund for the Republic released a study Report on Blacklisting (and two months after Hearst's International News Service merged with Scripps United Press), United Press ran a story that began "American Communists are trying to use the latest report of the Fund for the Republic to make the United States a little safer for fellow travelers" and the Las Vegas Review Journal ran the article under the headline "Commies Using Fund Report on Blacklists" (and a House committee began investigating not blacklisting but the Fund); in 1958, a two day special session of the Nevada Legislature, held to change state law so the state could take advantage of a federal extension of jobless pay for workers who had exhausted their benefits, adjourned; in 1963, the Sparks telephone prefix was changed from Elgin to Fleetwood, not that it mattered since both of them spell "35" and since on this date the phone company also switched from word prefixes to all-number phone numbers; in 1965, the newly created Nevada State Archives began operating; in 1969, the International Hotel in Las Vegas, best known as the site of Elvis' 1969 return to live peforming after nine years, opened with 1,512 rooms; in 1973, the remains of Charles Cross of Texas were found in New Guinea 29 years after his B-24 bomber went down in the jungle.
Update: Friday, June 30, 2006, 1:36 p.m. PDT On this date in 1880, Denis Kearney, the radical leader of California's Workingmen's Party, passed through Reno; in 1905, the Reno Athletic Club paid $1,000 for the county license to stage the Jack Root/Marvin Hart prize fight; in 1905m the Colorado Supreme Court, acting on a motion from the state attorney general, adopted a rule "requiring" U.S. Senator and newspaper publisher Thomas Patterson to appear before the court to show cause why he should not be held in contempt for publishing cartoons and articles critical of the court; in 1913, three federal district judges in St. Paul approved a settlement undoing the merger of the Union Pacific and Southern Pacific railroads; in 1913 Nevada Governor Tasker Oddie said he had received Attorney General George Thatcher's report on the conduct of Nevada District Judge Frank Langan but was not yet prepared to say whether he would call a special session of the Nevada Legislature to consider removing Langan from office; in 1919, striking Reno electrical workers were angry because of a letter sent to them by Bell Telephone offering wage increases for themselves but not for striking telephone operators (referred to in a news report as "the telephone girls"); in 1919, with alcohol prohibition not scheduled to start until January 1920 and the world war long since ended, U.S. Attorney General Mitchell Palmer invoked wartime powers to order prohibition to start early; in 1937, F.F. Walter, an emissary from U.S. Interior Secretary Harold Ickes, arrived in Nevada to set new wage rates and handle other matters for unhappy Boulder Dam workers, and he met with them promptly after he arrived and supervised a vote in which they rejected a 48-hour work week and elected to work a 40-hour week; in 1947, Sweden closed to the public the trial of two men accused of smuggling Nazis, possibly including Martin Bormann, to south America; in 1947, the U.S. House of Representatives voted 196 to 133 to admit Hawaii to the union, a measure that failed in the senate; 1947, a motorcycle rider in Twin Falls was hospitalized after he was run down by a house being towed by a truck from the shuttered Hunt wartime relocation center; in 1947, ten people filed for Reno divorces on the day before the filing fee went up from $20 to $30; in 1960, Reno Police Department night matron Pat Fladager resigned in protest against the firing of chief Bill Gregory and said that several officers wanted to do the same but could not financially afford to leave their jobs; in 1966, after FBI agent Burns Toolson testified that he had installed listening devices in the Desert Inn, Clark County District Attorney Ted Marshall said he had opened an investigation and was prepared to prosecute federal agents for wiretapping; in 1977, Vatican sources told United Press International that Paul VI was considering turning the case of rebellious French priest Marcel Lafebvre over to the Inquisition; in 1977, after fifteen years of publication, Dow Jones announced it was shutting down the National Observer, a weekly newspaper widely admired in journalism circles; in 1977, music licensing firm Broadcast Music Inc., better known as BMI, sued the Pioneer Inn and B Flat in Reno for using songs by Lennon and McCartney, Neil Sedaka and Howard Greenfield, John Fogarty, Eddie Heywood, Kris Kristofferson, Tom Johnston, Mac Davis, Layne Martine, Jimmie Rodgers, Mike Stoller and Jerry Lieber and Sterline Whipple without paying the licensing fees; in 1977, more than a thousand Nevada miners struck Anaconda and Kennecott; in 1999, historian Phil Earl retired as curator of history at the Nevada Historical Society after 30 years of state service.
Update: Friday, June 30, 2006, 3:13 a.m. PDT Brother v. Brother: Culinary Union and Progressive Leadership Alliance file local petition on Station Casinos south Reno project; business establishment and construction unions oppose.
Reno Gazette-Journal 6-30-2006
Update: Thursday, June 29, 2006, 3:29 p.m. PDT On this date in 1835, William Travis raised a company of 25 men to fight for Texas independence to protect the institution of slavery, outlawed in the new Mexican constitution; in 1937, the U.S. government took action to recover land it granted to the Sante Fe Railroad in 1866 on the grounds that the land already belonged to the Hualapi tribe and thus had not been the government's to give away; in 1937, labor union representatives proposed a 40-hour work week at Hoover Dam, a proposal that would be approved by workers and accepted by a federal official before the week was out; in 1956, Marilyn Monroe and Arthur Miller were married at White Plains court house in New York; in 1963, From Me To You by Del Shannon became the first Lennon/McCartney song to break into the top 100 in the U.S.; in 1966, the United States started bombing Hanoi and Haiphong for the first time, hitting fuel storage sites in what Defense Secretary Robert McNamara said was an effort to break the will of Hanoi (instead, the Vietnamese learned to live with the bombing); in 1992, a 5.6 earthquake occurred on a previously unknown fault at Little Skull Mountain, 12 miles from Yucca Mountain in Nye County; in 1994, WABC New York radio talk show host Bob Grant, who had been known to call African Americans "savages," made this on-air observation about the Gay Pride Parade: "Ideally, it would have been nice to have a few phalanxes of policemen with machine guns and mow them down"; in 2002, ground was broken on a $9 million museum of atomic testing in Clark County.
Update: Wednesday, June 28, 2006, 2:09 a.m. PDT Nevada Sens. Reid and Ensign vote to gut the First Amendment. Today's New York Times story (free registration may be required). The Las Vegas Review-Journal's Erin Neff putsches our panjandering congressional politicians. Ensign condemns the New York Times for doing its job.
Update: Wednesday, June 28, 2006, 1:23 a.m. PDT On this date in 1919, the Treaty of Versailles was signed in France, ending World War I. [New York Times/AP e-headlines]
On this date in 1863, the Washoe Typographical Union was organized in Virginia City; in 1902, Congress gave President Theodore Roosevelt permission to enter into negotiations with Colombia on construction of a canal across central America (Roosevelt exceeded his instructions, fomenting a rebellion against the Colombian government by its Panamanian province, then sending a canal treaty with Panama to Congress without first bothering to negotiate it with the new Panamanian government); in 1906, the Nevada and California Railway purchased the Fallon Railway; in 1914, Gavrilo Princip assassinated Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo, setting in motion events that led to World War One; in 1915, Nevada Attorney General George Thatcher informed Nevada Mines Inspector A.J. Stinson that mining companies that were "prospecting on lode claims for mineral with churl drills on a twelve hour shift" were breaking the state's eight hour law; in 1919, amid signs of the long fuse that was being lit (Chinese delegates refused to attend, South African General Jan Smuts sent a written protest, and German delegates objected to being mistreated by the French at the ceremony), the treaty negotiated at Versailles to end World War One was signed; in 1933, German Nazi minister of the interior Wilhelm Frick declared "Only when the State and the public health authorities will strive to make the core of their responsibilities the provision for the yet unborn, then we can speak of a new era and of a reconstructed population and race policy."; in 1956, a two day picket line at Nellis Air Force Base was brought down after the base agreed to comply with the Davis/Bacon Act's wage requirements; in 1971, at a meeting of the Reno city council, 13 women and two men protested the removal of Reno city clerk Kay Kistler because (according to Mayor John Chism) the position "should be a man's job"; in 1997, boxer Mike Tyson bit Evander Holyfield in a WBA heavyweight title fight in Las Vegas (the Nevada Boxing Commission, which did not revoke Tyson's license after his rape conviction, did so after the biting incident but then quickly restored it); in 1998, executives of the Cincinnati Enquirer retracted and apologized for a story about Chiquita Brands AKA United Fruit Company (alleging mistreatment of its plantation workers, cocaine shipments, pollution, illegal land dealings, anti-union activities, bribery) that many of its newspeople still believed was accurate, because of questions about the methods used to obtain information (an Enquirer reporter later pleaded guilty to hacking into the corporation's voice mail system, the Securities and Exchange Commission fined Chiquita for bribing foreign officials, and the New York Times reported that "some of the allegations cannot be dismissed so easily, despite the questions raised about the reporting method").
Update: Tuesday, June 27, 2006, 3:09 a.m. PDT The Day the Music Died, again: KTHX-KOZZ rock 'n' roll giant Harry Reynolds lies dead at 49. A memorial service is set for Thursday at 6:00 p.m. at Sparks Christian Fellowship, in the Greenbrae Shopping Center on the northeast corner of Greenbrae Drive and Pyramid Way. Whether musing the music or surfing the news, my old friend Harry made radio your friend because Harry was your friend, even if you never met him. His show always provided a cool and gentle oasis amid the abusive bedlam of modernity. Perhaps he was too gentle to stay with us for the duration. I know he leaves children behind. Stay tuned for more details. An adios toast of whisky and rye, music man. You done good. BARBWIRE
UPDATE JUNE 30, 2006 More than 150 family, friends and fans attended Thursday's memorial service at Sparks Christian Fellowship. More in Sunday's BARBWIRE in the Daily Sparks Tribune.
[[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: Tuesday, June 27, 2006, 2:43 a.m. PDT On this date in 1950, President Truman ordered the Air Force and Navy into the Korean War following a call from the United Nations Security Council for member nations to help South Korea repel an invasion from the North. [New York Times/AP e-headlines]
On this date in 1867, renowned Czechoslovak/American patriot leader and journalist Peter Rovnianek, who would one day live in Nevada, was born in Dolny Hrichow, Slovakia; in 1869, Emma Goldman was born in Kovno, Russia; in 1877, the reluctance of municipal government on the Comstock to collect the bullion tax from the powerful mining companies was causing comment and was being challenged by the Storey County district attorney, who sued to collect previous years delinquencies; in 1880, the Nevada State Journal wrote "The Democrats apologize for the nomination of [William] English by stating that they have resurrected him simply for the purpose of burying him again by electing him Vice President."; in 1880, the Nevada State Journal carried an excerpt from Mark Twain's A Tramp Abroad on chatting with blue jays; in 1880, Reno's 4th of July Finance Committee failed to meet its goals, so plans to celebrate the fourth were dropped; in 1900, it was reported that F.C. Savage would open a plumbing and heating business in Reno on about July 1 [EDITOR'S NOTE: Savage & Son, Nevada State Contractor's License No. 10, is still in existence today, union signatory with Plumbers & Pipefitters Local 350/AFL-CIO, which celebrates its centennial this year.); in 1942, eight alleged German agents who had been put ashore from a submarine were taken into custody (they were later executed); in 1950, President Truman shocked official Washington by effectively declaring war ("I have ordered United States air and sea forces to give the Korean government troops cover and support") and some members of Congress like Senator James Kem tried to object but were overwhelmed by flag waving leaders like Senate GOP floor leader William Knowland, R-Calif., who rallied behind Truman, thus setting a significant precedent by doing nothing to assert its authority when Truman acted without congressional authorization (Senate conservative leader Robert Taft said "I would say there is no authority to use armed forces in support of the United Nations in the absence of some previous action by Congress dealing with the subject."); in 1954, a U.S.-engineered coup d'etat overthrew the elected government of Guatamala, which for the next forty years lived under a reign of terror (the Eisenhower administration produced an assassination instruction manual and a list of 58 leaders it planned to murder); in 1950, Pogo by Walt Kelly began running in the Nevada State Journal; in 1964, Jan and Dean's Little Old Lady From Pasadena was released and Under the Boardwalk by the Drifters made it onto the Billboard chart; in 1969, a military-style assault by police on the Stonewall Inn (now on the National Register of Historic Places) in Greenwich Village and its patrons gave birth to the gay rights movement; in 1969, Michael James Themmen of Las Vegas, Nevada died in Tay Ninh province, Vietnam (panel 21w, row 26 of the Vietnam wall); in 1970, Ohio by Crosby Stills and Nash, about the killings at Kent State, was released; in 1980, President Carter signed legislation reviving draft registration; in 1985, the storied Route 66 was decertified as a highway; in 1991, UNR president Joe Crowley reported to the university board of regents that the Reno city council's requirement that the campus provide adequate parking for new student housing was "devastating" to UNR's student retention and recruitment; in 2001, Jack Lemmon died; in 2002, Who bass player John Entwistle was found dead in a Las Vegas hotel room.
Update: Monday, June 26, 2006, 12:45 a.m. PDT On this date in 1963, President Kennedy visited West Berlin, where he made his famous declaration: "Ich bin ein Berliner" (I am a Berliner). [New York Times/AP e-headlines]
On this date in 1876, in Wadsworth, a Central Pacific paycar from San Francisco paid local workers and then headed east, after having gone straight through Reno without paying the three months arrears it reportedly owed its Reno workers; in 1877, a fire broke out in downtown Reno, causing losses to some of the town's leading citizens, including Myron Lake and C.C. Powning, and generating editorial criticism in Powning's Nevada State Journal that the Central Pacific's railyard fire engine failed to join fire suppression efforts; in 1886, grocer and former state senator William O.H. Martin was awarded the contract to supply groceries to the state asylum; in 1893, Illinois Governor John Peter Altgeld announced that, because of fabricated testimony and bias on the part of the trial judge, he would pardon the anarchists convicted in the Haymarket Square bombing in Chicago in 1886, a pardon that cost him reelection; in 1894, U.S. railway workers went out on strike in sympathy with Pullman workers; in 1911 or 1914, track, basketball, and golf champion Babe Zaharias was born in Port Arthur, Texas; in 1900, there was an evening melee in Reno's tenderloin, with "razors, rocks and bullets flying through the air" and a "composite aggregation of Macquereaus [sic probably means macquereaux, or pimps] mixed in the melee"; in 1903, veteran Reno teacher Mary Doten, who after teaching for fourteen years was forced to leave the state for her health, returned to the city in improved condition; in 1907, at the Boise trial of labor leader William "Big Bill" Haywood in the case of the assassination of Idaho Governor Frank Steunenberg, miner William Davis of Goldfield, Nevada, took the stand for the defense and contradicted the testimony of chief prosecution witness Harry Orchard; in 1933, the Washoe County commissioners decided to try to tap federal tribal roadbuildng funds to build a hard surface highway to Pyramid Lake; in 1946, en route to an atomic detonation at Bikini Atoll on board the U.S.S. Appalachian, Major John Slocum, while briefing correspondents aboard, said atomic explosions would spread a "rain of death" in radioactivity, a contention later U.S. officials would deny; in 1952. in a state-by-state rundown of the race for the Republican presidential nomination, the Associated Press reported that Taft was leading Eisenhower in Nevada by seven delegate votes to two; in 1957, state officials said casino regulators were preparing a report on possible links between mobster Frank Costello and the Las Vegas Tropicana casino, which would be the first state response since an apparent mob hit on Costello in a Central Park West apartment building when a slip of paper with the figure $651,284 on it was found in Costello's pocket (the figure turned out to be the gross profit for the Las Vegas Tropicana Casino's first 24 days of business); in 1957, the Nevada State Journal carried a front page photo of a mushroom cloud produced by a southern Nevada atomic test accompanied by text commenting on the "iridescent" colors but nothing about the dangers; in 1964, the soundtrack album of A Hard Day's Night was released in the U.S. by United Artists, minus five Beatles songs that were in the British version released by Parlophone on July 10 (the U.S. version, however, had instrumentals by George Martin that the British version lacked); in 1972, Nixon aide John Dean met with CIA official Vernon Walters to try to obtain bail money from the CIA's funds for the Watergate burglars; in 1992, Las Vegas' Tailhook scandal claimed Navy Secretary Lawrence Garrett, who resigned; in 2003 the U.S. Supreme Court overturned state laws outlawing sex by gays.
Update: Sunday, June 25, 2006, 3:53 a.m. PDT On this date in 1876, Lt. Col. George A. Custer and his 7th Cavalry were wiped out by Sioux and Cheyenne Indians in the Battle of Little Big Horn in Montana. [New York Times/AP e-headlines]
On this date in 1580, the Lutheran Church published the Book of Concord; in 1876, General George Custer attacked a Sioux village at Little Big Horn, unaware that the village contained four warriors for every one of his calvarymen; in 1906, at a night club atop Madison Square Garden eccentric socialite Harry Thaw approached socially prominent architect Stanford White's table and shot and killed White for allegedly deflowering Thaw's wife, model Evelyn Nesbit, several years earlier (the Thaw family later financed a motion picture that portrayed Thaw as a hero and White as a villain, helping swing public sentiment to Thaw); in 1912, Democratic National Convention in Baltimore nominated Woodrow Wilson and Thomas Marshall on the 46th ballot; in 1927, the monthlong Transcontinental Highway Exposition opened in Reno, Nevada (two features of the expo lasted long after the fair left Idlewild Park, which was the grounds of the fair and an arch over Reno's main street; in 1935, Illinois attorney Louis Piquett, lawyer for the Dillinger gang, was convicted of harboring Homer Van Meter, a member of the gang; in 1935, U.S. Senate leaders agreed on scales of rates for higher taxes on large incomes, corporate profits, and inheritances; in 1938, the Third Reich prohibited German Jewish physicians from treating non-Jewish patients; in 1938, Nevada's only known civil war veteran, William O. Phillips, departed for a Grand Army of the Republic reunion in Gettysburg; in 1952, in the closing day of a trial of a woman for burglarizing Reno millionaire LaVere Redfield's Mt. Rose Street home and taking the goods across state lines, the federal government revealed that in the basement of the mansion there was a secret room containing 270,000 silver dollars and that his will contained this language: "The government can't tax wealth that can't be located. Burn this and tell no one. Carry on as though no coin or currency was left."; in 1959, a study of the mineral resources on Washo tribal lands was amended and then accepted by the U.S. Indian Claims Commission; in 1962, in Engel vs. Vitale, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled against recitation in schools of a government prayer; in 1967, on a television program originating from all over the world and broadcast by satellite, England offered the Beatles from Abbey Road Studios, who introduced All You Need Is Love to 200,000,000 viewers worldwide; in 1970, Thomas Joseph Davis of Las Vegas died in Hua Nghia province, Vietnam (panel 09w/row 090); in 1973, after several days of demonizing of him by Nixon allies in an effort to discredit his testimony in advance (columnist Joseph Alsop described him as a "bottom dwelling slug"), former White House special counsel John Dean began a week of testimony before the Senate Watergate committee; in 2001, U.S. Supreme Court ruled that misconduct by State of Nevada officers on tribal land is not subject to the jurisdiction of tribal courts; in 2003, Nevada legislators returned to Carson City for a second special session of the legislature in a last ditch effort to end the budget deadlock before the fiscal year ended.
Update: Saturday, June 24, 2006, 5:55 p.m. PDT On this date in 1893, the U.S. established a post office at Los Vegas, Nevada (the spelling is correct, as used by postal officials until 1903); in 1896, the steamer Tahoe was launched on the Nevada side, joining the Meteor on the Lake Tahoe; in 1911, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit in St. Louis rejected an antitrust effort to undo the merger of the Union Pacific and Southern Pacific railroads; in 1911, the Overland Limited was derailed by a broken rail just outside Reno, throwing nine cars off the track but causing no injuries; in 1914, ancient Sumerian tablets found by Oxford archeologist Stephen Langdon at the site of Nippur and dated to 2000 BC were reported to tell a different tale of the tree of knowledge, the fall of man, and the flood with Noah the sinner who caused the fall; in 1914, Hazel Lee Roberts, daughter of U.S. Representative Edwin Roberts of Nevada, married Washington Senators pitcher Walter Johnson; in 1938, the Mexican Confederation, a labor union group, demanded the deportation of Jewish merchants from Mexico; in 1938, Mary Noonan, widow of Amelia Earhart co-pilot and navigator Fred Noonan, remarried in Carson City (in a ceremony performed by Judge Clark Guild) a few days after Fred was declared dead by a California Court; in 1941, after the invasion of Russia, Germany occupied Kovno, former capital of Lithuania, a center of Jewish learning and culture with a renowed yeshiva, four high schools, and a hundred Jewish organizations (a fourth of the city's population was Jewish), and turned pro-German Lithuanian mobs loose on the Jews, then added mobile killing units (einsatzgruppe) to provide efficiently organized killing, then established a ghetto in which the city's 30,000 remaining Jews were sealed, providing slaves for the army and town, though the killing went on (the einsatzgruppe wiped out nearly a third of the ghetto inhabitants in a single day); in 1942, Mick Fleetwood was born; in 1954, bipartisanship was breaking out Republican Governor Burton Cross of Maine invited President Truman to recuperate from surgery in his state, and in Reno, Washoe County Democratic chair Tom Cooke invited non-Democrats to attend a Democratic picnic (as long as they paid the fifty cent admission charge); in 1962, Ladeo Corporation advertised availability of "first come - first served" reservations for a 500-unit trailer park then under construction in Cactus Springs, Nevada, near the atomic testic community of Mercury; in 1964, at a medical conference in Chicago three months after the fight that killed Benny "the Kid" Paret, Reno physician Joseph Elias, former Nevada Athletic Commission chair, recommended major reforms to protect the safety of boxers; in 1963, in a letter to Groucho Marx, T.S. Eliot told Groucho that a postponement of their planned meeting in London "is not altogether bad news because I shall be in better condition for drinking in October than I am now"; in 1965, A Spaniard In The Works by John Lennon was published; in 2003, Philip Deale, owner of Philip's Supper Club who was once sued by other restaurant owners for paying cab drivers $3 to refer passengers to his club, died in Las Vegas.
Update: Friday, June 23, 2006, 2:27 a.m. PDT THE DAY THE MUSIC DIED: On this date in 1947, the Senate joined the House in overriding President Truman's veto of the Taft-Hartley Act, the law which infects the United States with the most restrictive, unworkable and unfair labor laws in the first world to this very day as reflected in the slow emaciation of the American middle class over the past 33 years. (New York Times/AP e-headlines, NEVADALABOR.COM LABOR HISTORY)
On this date in 1858, papal police in Bologna kidnapped a crying six year old Jewish child, Edgardo Mortara, from his stricken parents' arms and ultimately took him to Rome to be raised in a seminary (the parents were told they could have the child back if they converted to Catholicism and they refused; an international outcry did not change Pius IX's mind and the child under Vatican influence grew up to eventually repudiate his parents), a case that received renewed attention during the Elian Gonzalez case (the modern church has ignored demands for an apology); in 1893, Reno's constable threatened prosecution against anyone discharging firearms within the town; in 1896, the Nevada State Journal carried an essay on women's suffrage by Reverend Caroline Bartlett; in 1938, United Press reported a leak from David Selznick's office that Norma Shearer would play Scarlett O'Hara in Gone With The Wind; in 1938, a mobile NBC television unit was shooting crowd footage in front of Radio City and recorded the suicide leap of a Girl Scouts secretary from the Time and Life building; in 1938, defying predictions during the Hoover Dam construction that the spillways would not be used during the generation of its builders, dam officials said the spillways were expected to carry a full load during the summer of 1939; in 1956, Sears, Roebuck and Company announced that it had invested a record breaking $41,775,600 in advertising in 1955; in 1956, the Nevada Fish and Game Commission decided to try to reestablish cutthroat trout in Lake Tahoe; in 1960, the United Nations ruled that Israel acted illegally when its agents kidnapped Adolf Eichmann from Argentina; in 1960, a Sparks denture maker who was prosecuted at the behest of dentists and the state dentistry board was found not guilty of practicing dentistry without a license when he repaired a set of dentures; in 1965, Motown released The Tracks Of My Tears by Smokey Robinson and the Miracles (it would later also be a hit for Johnny Rivers and the Linda Ronstadt); in 1969, U.S. Representatives Harold Johnson of California and Walter Baring of Nevada introduced legislation to launch an investigation of the land and water resources of the Beatty/DeathValley/Amargosa River Basin region; in 1970, Harold Lee Linville of Reno, Nevada died in Phong Dinh province, Vietnam (panel 9w, row 84); in 1971, the United States Senate for the first time voted (57 to 42) to end the war in Vietnam; in 1995, Dan Rather joined R.E.M. on stage for a performance of the band's song What's the Frequency Kenneth? (a song derived from the October 1986 incident when Rather was attacked and beaten by mental patient William Tigar, who kept demanding of his victim, "Kenneth, what is the frequency?").
Update: Thursday, June 22, 2006, 8:57 a.m. PDT On this date in 1872, the Nevada State Journal reported that it had received a copy of a 288 page book from Adolph Sutro that made the case for his planned(Virginia City mining drainage) tunnel; in 1877, the New York Herald reported, "No part of the world ever presented so favorable an opportunity as the coal regions for the rich to oppress the poor workingman. In many instances the opportunity was not neglected."; in 1880, the Eureka Leader editorialized against Democratic Party claims that it was the most anti-Chinese, insisting that the GOP was best at exclusion and pointing to anti-Chinese legislation sponsored by U.S. Representative Thomas Wren of Nevada, a Republican; in 1883, former Nevada governor John Kinkead's private secretary George Lyon bought into the Seattle Post and Intelligencer for $12,000 for half ownership; in 1911, the Nevada State Journal reported that the establishment of a Mormon colony on 17,000 acres of land in Humboldt County was likely; in 1914, with the state fiscal year a week short of complete, the state workers injury insurance system reported that there had been 1,203 injuries and 29 deaths during the year to date and that more than $201,000 in claims had been paid out with $227,000 paid in as premiums; in 1932, Al Smith and William Gibbs McAdoo, who had battled each other for the presidential nomination in 1924 in a monumental 103-ballot battle that defeated both men, arrived at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago to try to stop frontrunner Franklin Roosevelt's nomination; in 1932, responding to a letter of complaint from the Reno Chamber of Commerce, U.S. interior secretary Ray Wilbur wrote that Nevada was receiving much more than it was providing in the way of educational and other facilities for Boulder Dam project workers; in 1937, Joe Louis won the world heavyweight championship against James Braddock; in 1944, in a speech to the Capital Press Club in Washington, Chicago Sun and New York PM publisher Marshall Field called for greater news coverage of African American contributions to the war effort as a way to break down racial barriers in 1940, during World War II, Adolf Hitler gained a stunning victory as France was forced to sign an armistice eight days after German forces overran Paris (New York Times e-headlines); in 1944, President Roosevelt signed legislation creating the GI Bill of Rights; in 1944; the War Department announced that two Nevadans, Pvt. Henry Miller of Las Vegas and 2d Lt. Robert Christensen of Ely, were German prisoners of war; in 1956, Australian government officials insisted that a radioactive cloud from British atomic tests that was drifting over Australia posed no danger to the public; in 1956, Democrats exploded in anger at the Eisenhower dministration effort to hold down defense spending, with senators like Stuart Symington and Henry Jackson insisting that the Air Force accept more money and Defense Secretary Charles Wilson announcing that he and the joint chiefs were planning another military workforce cutback; in 1956, as part of a study of how to have year-round highway travel around Lake Tahoe, California highway officials were considering a bridge across the mouth of Emerald Bay; in 1959, Memphis by Chuck Berry was released; in 1961, Congress extended for the tenth time taxes imposed as a Korean war measure; in 1961, the Nevada Highway Board Gov. Grant Sawyer, Attorney General Roger Foley and Controller Keith Lee were criminally charged with violating the new Nevada open meeting law after Ormsby County District Attorney John Tom Ross researched the law, Reno Gazette/Journal capitol bureau chief Frank Johnson swore out a complaint, Justice of the Peace Peter Supera issued warrants, Sheriff Howard Hoffman arrested the three board members, they were arraigned by Justice Supera, trial was set for August 29, and an elite political law firm in Reno volunteered to represent the three (Ross called it an amicable proceeding among friends, but Sawyer was furious and called it politically inspired, refusing an interview to the Gazette in favor of a long interview with KOLO in Reno); in 1971, the United States Senate for the first time voted (57 to 42) to end the war in Vietnam; BARBWIRE: in 2006, Republican U.S. senators, sanctimoniously protesting focus on their own states, stalled renewal of the 1965 Voting Rights Act. Ya'll be careful now, y'hear, boy?
Update: Wednesday, June 21, 2006, 1:00 a.m. PDT In Memoriam: James Chaney, Andrew Goodman, Michael Schwerner, 42 YEARS AGO TODAY On this date in 1964, three civil rights workers disappeared in Philadelphia, Miss. Their bodies were found buried in an earthen dam six weeks later. Eight members of the Ku Klux Klan went to prison on federal conspiracy charges; none served more than six years. [New York Times e-headlines] The case was later dramatized in the film Mississippi Burning (which gave the FBI a role it did not have in solving the case) and told by William Bradford Huie in his book "Three Lives For Mississippi," which also produced one of the unforgettable photographic images of the civil rights era, of laughing deputies being arraigned while chewing Red Man tobacco. ONE YEAR AGO TOMORROW: David Dennis, who would have been with the three workers if he had not been sick, was interviewed on the PBS Tavis Smiley television program)
On this date in 1788, the United States Constitution was ratified when the ninth state, New Hampshire, approved it; in 1874, the Pioche Record was predicting completion of the railroad between Palisade and Eureka by June 27; in 1874, Effie McNeeley, a teacher at the school in Brown's (a hamlet seven miles south of Reno), was forced to leave her job by an inflammation that threatened her eyesight; in 1883, Nevada prison warden Frank Bell had begun work on extending the wall of the prison 120 feet; in 1883, J.A. Davis of Reno was arrested in an opium den in Reno's Chinatown; in 1896, the Reno Evening Gazette, a Republican organ, reported "The Gazette shot off 4,000 firecrackers and Chinese bombs over the Republican nominations for President and Vice President. McKinley and Roosevelt are eminently satisfactory to the people of Nevada, and the Gazette but voices the sentiments of a large part of the people in the State when it says McKinley and Roosevelt will carry the Republican banner to the White House in November next." (Nevada voted against McKinley and Roosevelt by a four to one margin); in 1910, the Nevada governor's office reported a flood of telegrams and other communications asking Gov. Denver Dickerson to stop the Johnson/Jefferies prizefight in Reno, but Dickerson (stopping in Noise while traveling back to Nevada from Oregon) gave no indication that he planned to interfere with the fight; in 1912, barnstormer Roy Francis, a pilot in the world war, flew the skies above Reno; in 1932, a phrase entered the language when Jack Sharkey beat Max Schmeling by a decision and Schmeling's manager Joe Jacobs said, "We was robbed"; in 1939, Louisiana Gov. Richard Leche resigned, clearing the way for Lt. Gov. Earl Long to become governor; in 1940, the U.S. Census Bureau released a 110,014 population figure for Nevada (32,366 in Washoe, 16,358 in Clark, 12,352 in White Pine, 10,857 in Elko, all other counties in four digits); in 1954, news agencies in the United States reported that Guatemala was trying to repulse an attack by "anti-communist rebels" (it was actually a U.S.-engineered effort on behalf of the United Fruit Company to overthrow elected President Jacobo Arbenz) and the U.S. denied involvement; in 1964, three civil rights workers vanished in Philadelphia, Mississippi, their bodies later found in an earthen dam, a case later dramatized in the film Mississippi Burning (which gave the FBI a determined and vigilant role it did not have in solving the case) and told by William Bradford Huie in his book Three Lives For Mississippi, a case which also produced one of the unforgettable photographic images of the civil rights era, of laughing deputies being arraigned while chewing Red Man tobacco; in 1966, the Beatles recorded She Said She Said by John Lennon for the Revolver album; in 1973, the General Services Administration released an audit showing the United States government spent $1.9 million on improving President Nixon's homes (Nixon promised to leave his San Clemente home to the public, but he later sold it and kept the proceeds); in 2004, in a case originating in Nevada, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that an unoffending citizen has no right to stand mute when police officers demand his identity; in 2005, 41 freaking years to the day after the 1964 murders of the three civil rights workers, Edgar Killen was convicted of manslaughter in the slayings (he was later sentenced to 60 years in prison).
Update: Tuesday, June 20, 2006, 1:33 a.m. PDT On this date in 1967, boxer Muhammad Ali was convicted in Houston of violating Selective Service laws by refusing to be drafted. The conviction was later overturned by the Supreme Court. [New York Times e-headlines] According to Bob Woodward and Scott Armstrong's book on the court entitled The Brethren (Avon Books, 1979), the justices overturned the conviction on very narrow technical grounds so that the case could set no precedent. A 5-3 majority, with Justice Thurgood Marshall having recused himself because he had served as U.S. solicitor general when the case first came up, wanted Ali to go to jail as a draft dodger. Justice John Marshall Harlan was assigned the majority opinion. A law clerk convinced him to read some Muslim literature about the religion's teachings on war. Over a weekend, Harlan reversed himself, infuriating the image-conscious Chief Justice Warren Burger. Harlan concluded that the U.S. Dept. of Justice had misrepresented the evidence, which included calling Ali a racist despite DOJ's own finding that the heavyweight champion was indeed opposed to all wars. The court had no appetite for calling the Nixon administration on the carpet for twisting the facts. Harlan's switch deadlocked the court 4-4. A tie meant no published opinion while upholding Ali's lower-court conviction. Ali would go to prison and never know why he had lost at the highest level. Justice Potter Stewart came up with a bit of finesse: set Ali free on technicality which would set no precedent. Other Black Muslims would thus not automatically be categorized as conscientious objectors. Seven justices went along, with the publicity-hound Burger finally joining, so the final CYA vote was 8-0. [BARBWIRE]
On June 20, 1866, Lewis Cass, member of the Ohio Legislature, brigadier general in the war of 1812, military governor of Detroit and west Canada under General William Henry Harrison, governor of Michigan Territory, secretary of war under President Jackson, minister to France under President Van Buren, U.S. Senator from Michigan, secretary of state under President Buchanan, and the Democratic presidential nominee in 1848, died in Detroit; in 1879, in Elko the Nevada Board of Regents met, approved the principal's salary (the state university then included pre-collegiate instruction), approved the janitor's salary and adjourned; in 1890. Josiah and Elizabeth Potts were executed in Elko County for murder; in 1893, Lizzie Borden was found not guilty of murdering her parents; in 1940, Emma Nevada died; in 1943, with African Americans still facing unemployment in the midst of wartime prosperity and white workers refusing to work alongside them, rioting broke out in Detroit, leaving 34 dead; in 1947, Las Vegas mobster Benjamin "Bugsy" Siegel was murdered in Beverly Hills; in 1960, Harry Belafonte received the first Emmy awarded to an African American; in 1963, the U.S.S.R. and U.S., seeking to cool cold war tensions in the wake of the missile crisis, agreed to establish a telegraph link between Moscow and Washington to provide instant communication, a link that became known as the hot line; in 1967, heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali, a Muslim minister, was convicted of violating the federal draft law (see above); in 1972, Richard Nixon, John Ehrlichman and H.R. Haldeman met on Watergate, and the tape recording of their conversation later became famous when an 18-and-a-half minute section of it was found erased [EDITOR'S' NOTE: Nixon personal secretary Rosemary Woods took the blame for the erasure. In a cover story, Newsweek called it "Rosemary's Booboo"; in 1979, at a routine Managua checkpoint during the last days of the Somoza dictatorship, ABC News reporter Bill Stewart, lying face down on the street, was executed by a member of the Nicaraguan guardia while a camera (unknown to the killer) rolled and the footage helped dissolve U.S. support for the tyrant in a way that similar treatment of Nicaraguans had not, an incident later dramatized in the Joanna Cassidy/Nick Nolte film Under Fire (the guardia had been formed by the United States Marines in 1927 during a U.S. occupation of Nicaragua and guardia became the Somoza's personal police force).
Update: Monday, June 19, 2006, 12:01 a.m. PDT On this date in 1964, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was approved after surviving an 83-day filibuster in the United States Senate. [New York Times e-headlines] It paved the way for the Republican revolution backlash against uppity negroes and bra-burning women which continues to this very day. [BARBWIRE]
On June 19, 325, the Nicene Creed redefining Jesus as "God from very God" was adopted, a turning point in Christian history (known in one book title as When Jesus Became God) [EDITOR'S NOTE: Read Oscar-winning actor Rod Steiger's take on what consitutes a believable god.]; in 1862, slavery was outlawed in U.S. territories, including the Territory of Nevada; in 1866, the first of several meetings called to organize to support "equal rights before the Law to all the Colored Citizens of the State of Nevada" was held in Virginia City; in 1936, Max Schmeling, heavyweight champion from 1930 to '32, came back as a ten to one underdog to beat Joe Louis for the championship, a victory German Nazi officials portrayed as a triumph of racial supremacy; in 1962, the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing on President Kennedy's nomination of Nevada Attorney General Roger Foley to be a federal district judge; in 1967, Jack Edward Cossins of Henderson, Nevada, died in Gia Dinh Province, Vietnam (panel 22e/row 0100 of the Vietnam wall); in 1970, Pvt. Mark Crouse of Yerington, Nevada, was wounded in action in Cambodia with a foot injury and shrapnel in the back and arm; in 1972, two days after the arrests at the Watergate, Charles Colson and John Ehrlichman drew John Dean into the coverup by assigning him to take custody of the contents of Howard Hunts safe; in 1982, at Lake Tahoe, Steve Miller began a tour at Lake Tahoe to promote his album Abracadabra; in 1986, basketball player Len Bias, second pick in the NBA draft, died after a seizure that may have been triggered by his cocaine use, setting off a white hot hysteria in Congress, which passed punitive new laws without reading them (one author called Bias the Archduke Ferdinand of the war on drugs and Washington as Sarajevo on the Potomac); in 1994, a huge crowd turned out for an Eagles concert at UNLV; in 1997, when Julia Roberts was introduced on Letterman, the band played Julia from the white album (the song is about John Lennon's mother); in 2004, a marker was dedicated in Virginia City commemorating African Americans on the Comstock near the site of the Boston Saloon, an African American owned business of the 1860s that was the subject of a 1999 dig by archeologist Kelly Dixon.
Update: Sunday, June 18, 2006, 4:45 a.m. PDT On this date in 1878, the Nevada State Journal reprinted the following from the Territorial Enterprise: The Truckee Meadows, near Reno, are now in their loveliest. The immense tracts of valley land that but a few years ago were regarded as unfit for the profitable growing of agricultural products, have of later years been cultivated until now but a few hundred acres, between Reno and Steamboat Springs, remain in their primitive state. This is good for Reno. It gives to that town backbone and sinew that will cause it to flourish when some of its neighboring towns will know only the past.
On this date in 1812, over the objections of New England governors, the financial community and Francis Scott Key, Congress declared war on England by votes of 79 to 49 in the House, and 19 to 13 in the Senate; in 1873, Susan B. Anthony was fined $100 for "knowingly, wrongfully and unlawfully" voting; in 1913. Nye County Senator Zeb Kendall sold his Willow Creek mining operation to George Wingfield; in 1941, President Roosevelt met with A. Phillip Randolph and other civil rights leaders to try to convince them not to hold a march on Washington (they agreed after eliciting concessions, but the idea was revived in 1962 and the march was finally held in 1963); in 1942, Paul McCartney was born in Liverpool (EDITOR'S NOTE: That means today he is 64); in 1954, in Paris Bao Dai, the western-created playboy emperor of Vietnam swore Belgian monk Ngo Dinh Diem in as the new U.S.-sponsored prime minister of the new U.S.-invented nation of "South Vietnam"; in 1962, Nevada Lieutenant Governor Rex Bell filed his candidacy for governor; in 1968, Keith Degero Taylor of Carson City, Nevada died in Quang Nam province, Vietnam (panel 56w, row 28 of the Vietnam wall); in 1971, the Reno Police Department announced plans for a program to reduce racial tensions between the department and the community reflected by numerous complaints of police harrassment of African Americans [EDITOR'S NOTE: Déjà vu all over again 2006]; in 1972, a few hours after the arrests at Democratic National Committee headquarters at the Watergate in Washington, Gordon Liddy approached U.S. Attorney General Richard Kleindienst at Burning Tree Country Club, told him the Nixon campaign was responsible for the break-in and asked him to get the burglars out of jail (Kleindienst rejected Liddy's overture but failed to report Liddy's confession); in 1984, Denver talk radio host Alan Berg was assassinated by two members of the Order, a racial supremacist group; in 1994, a huge crowd turned out for an Eagles concert at UNLV.
Update: Saturday, June 17, 2006, 4:57 a.m. PDT On this date in 1928, aviatrix Amelia Earhart embarked on the first trans-Atlantic flight by a woman. She flew from Newfoundland to Wales in about 21 hours. [New York Times e-headlines]
On this date in 1789, the members of the Third Estate of the French Estates General (parliament), joined by some members of the Second Estate, declared themselves the National Assembly and the only rightful governing body, triggering the French Revolution, which began ten days later when Louis XVI recognized the legitimacy of the National Assembly; in 1856, the nation's new Republican Party began its second convention and first presidential nominating convention in Musical Fund Hall in Philadelphia, where the 558 delegates would nominate western explorer and former California territorial governor and U.S. senator John C. Fremont for president over U.S. Supreme Court Justice John McLean and former U.S. Senator William Dayton for vice president over former U.S. Representative Abraham Lincoln; in the June 18, 1878, Nevada State Journal: "The new passenger train of the V. & T. R. R. was run over the road yesterday for fun, and Supt. [Henry] Yerington, Harry Hunter, Supt. [James] Crawford of the Mint, Mr. Ticknor, Wells, Fargo's Carson agent, Bob Pixley, the mining man, and other Carsonites came to Reno and remained with us a couple of hours. The new train will be put on the road to-day."; in 1913, a decade after the U.S. claimed to have put down the Filipino rebellion against U.S. conquest, the latest report of final victory came from Jolo; in 1913, legislation exempting workers and farmers organizations from antitrust laws, vetoed by President Taft, were on their way to President Wilson for his signature; in 1914, John Hersey, who would write an essay on the atom bombing of Hiroshima that would be voted the greatest work of journalism of the century, was born in Tientsin, China; in 1926, in Washington, a senate committee grilled Anti-Saloon League counsel Wayne Wheeler on why he was paying off senators with speech fees and in Reno seven people were arrested for a canned heat party and a bootlegger was arrested after finishing deliveries (canned heat is ethyl alcohol, methyl alcohol, and water in a gel form, sold under brand names like Dual Heat, Sterno, and Handy Fuel, that was strained for the alcohol during alcohol prohibition); in 1938, a "bowl of rice party" benefit dance was held at Reno's El Patio to raise money for food, medicine and shelter in China during the Sino-Japanese war, and the consul general from the Chinese consulate in San Francisco attended; in 1947, President Truman said that failing to impose universal military training on the nation's youth would weaken the resistance of the free world to "the encroachment of totalitarian pressures"; in 1963, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled against government sponsored Bible and Lord's Prayer recitations in schools; in 1966, Big Brother and the Holding Company with their new singer Janis Joplin began two days of appearances at the Red Dog Saloon in Virginia City; in 1967, Carrie Anne by the Hollies was released; in 1971, retired General Duong Van Minh began his presidential campaign against the U.S.-backed NyugenVan Thieu, calling a military victory impossible and offering a softer approach to the Hanoi government (he withdrew his candidacy a few weeks later when operatives began murdering leaders of his campaign, after which U.S. Ambassador Ellsworth Bunker tried unsuccessfully to bribe him back into the race to provide a charade of democracy); in 2004, Sue Powers, docent at the Atomic Testing Museum and widow of cold war hero (captured U-2 pilot) Francis Gary Powers, died in Las Vegas. [EDITOR'S NOTE: Francis Gary Powers died years earlier in a news helicopter accident in southern California.]
Update: Friday, June 16, 2006, 4:57 a.m. PDT On this date in 1933, the letters "NRA" stood for something positive as President Roosevelt inaugurated the New Deal recovery program by signing the National Recovery Act bank, rail, and industry bills and a measure initiating farm aid. That NRA was later struck down by conservative courts, instant replay of which will plague the next remedial president, if there ever is one. [BARBWIRE]
On this date in 1760, a group of Cherokee held hostage in Fort St. George, South Carolina, were executed in retaliation for Indian raids (the Cherokee then killed 30 of their prisoners, whereupon the settlers retaliated again, and so on, and on); in 1864, Nye County, Territory of Nevada, was created (today it is the second largest county in the United States); in 1885, the Nevada board of examiners (governor, attorney general, and secretary of state) was processing "war claims" by Nevada "veterans" who had joined in battles against the Paiutes; in 1904, seven students at the Nevada State University in Reno were suspended for holding a social gathering in the mechanical department during working hours; in 1913, after a dozen invasions of Mexico by the U.S. over several administrations (mainly Wilson's), President Taft agreed to halt the incessant attacks; in 1918, in the historical capital of Vilnius, the First Lithuania Council declared the independence of Lithuania (independence was restated by a resolution passed by the Constituent Seimas on May 15, 1920); in 1918. the Reno Elks Club celebrated the 50th anniversary of Elks Clubs (originally called the Jolly Corks); in 1937, construction began on a swimming pool on Riverside Drive in Reno's Idlewild Park; in 1948, NBC television broadcast its first newscast; in 1959, attorney Fidel Castro was sworn into office as prime minister after Cuban dictator Fulgencio Batista fled to the Dominican Republic; in 1968, Elvis received a gold record for his album How Great Thou Art, for which he would later also receive a Grammy; in 1972, Chuck Berry and John Lennon sang together on the Mike Douglas Show during John and Yoko's week as co-hosts of the program; in 2001, cocktail waitresses in Reno held a rally to protest the Harrah's corporate policy making it an employment infraction to get older (the casino takes photographs of workers when they begin their employment and requires them to stay the same as the photographs during their periods of employment); in 2004, the daytime television program The View began a week of programs from Las Vegas.
Update: Thursday, June 15, 2006, 5:02 a.m. PDT On this date in 1904, more than 1,000 people died when fire erupted aboard the steamboat General Slocum in New York City's East River. [New York Times e-headlines]
On this date in 1520, Pope Leo X issued a papal encyclical, "Exsurge Domini", condemning the opinions of Martin Luther and prescribing a good dose of book burning: "immediately after the publication of this letter these works...shall be sought out carefully [and] shall be burned publicly and solemnly in the presence of the clerics and people"; in 1910, California Governor James Gillett requested the state attorney general to try to stop the Jack Johnson/Jim Jeffries "great white hope" fight planned for that state, and Acting Nevada Governor George Pyne sent a wire to the Reno Gazette Journal: "I know of no reason why Jefferies-Johnson fight could not take place in Nevada upon complying with the [state prizefight] law."; in 1936, the Nevada labor federation called for vacation with pay for Boulder Dam workers; in 1937, the Virginia and Truckee Railroad sold coaches 3 and 4 to Paramount Pictures to star in the film Wells Fargo; in 1954, Big Jon and Sparky, a Saturday morning ABC ventriloquism radio show (also broadcast as No School Today) starring Jon Arthur, appeared in the auditorium of the Sparks Latter Day Saints Church with Tommy Myers (who had turned seven three days earlier) in the audience. [EDITOR'S NOTE: Where are Mayor Plumpfront and outspoken cabdriver Yuki Butcha when we need them?]; in 1962, the Port Huron statement, a declaration against poverty, bigotry, bureaucracy, and war, was adopted as the founding document of Students for a Democratic Society (see below); in 1966, Capitol released the album Yesterday and Today by the Beatles, complete with the rapidly discontinued "butcher" cover art; in 1994, the U.S. Army released some documents about its biological warfare programs conducted throughout the U.S. and promised to eventually disclose them all; in 2004, an opinion survey of Iraqis that was commissioned by U.S. occupation forces and then suppressed was disclosed by the Associated Press and it reported that 55 percent of respondents wanted the U.S. to leave the country; in 2004, five months before the election, George Bush revived the gay marriage issue but on the same day the Senate voted to include gays in the protections of federal hate crime law.
The Port Huron Statement: We are people of this generation, bred in at least modest comfort, housed now in universities, looking uncomfortably to the world we inherit.
When we were kids the United States was the wealthiest and strongest country in the world: the only one with the atom bomb, the least scarred by modern war, an initiator of the United Nations that we thought would distribute Western influence throughout the world. Freedom and equality for each individual, government of, by, and for the people these American values we found good, principles by which we could live as men. Many of us began maturing in complacency.
As we grew, however, our comfort was penetrated by events too troubling to dismiss. First, the permeating and victimizing fact of human degradation, symbolized by the Southern struggle against racial bigotry, compelled most of us from silence to activism. Second, the enclosing fact of the Cold War, symbolized by the presence of the Bomb, brought awareness that we ourselves, and our friends, and millions of abstract "others" we knew more directly because of our common peril, might die at any time. We might deliberately ignore, or avoid, or fail to feel all other human problems, but not these two, for these were too immediate and crushing in their impact, too challenging in the demand that we as individuals take the responsibility for encounter and resolution...
If student movements for change are rarities still on the campus scene, what is commonplace there? The real campus, the familiar campus, is a place of private people, engaged in their notorious "inner emigration." It is a place of commitment to business-as-usual, getting ahead, playing it cool. It is a place of mass affirmation of the Twist, but mass reluctance toward the controversial public stance. Rules are accepted as "inevitable", bureaucracy as "just circumstances", irrelevance as "scholarship", selflessness as "martyrdom", politics as "just another way to make people, and an unprofitable one, too."
Almost no students value activity as a citizen. Passive in public, they are hardly more idealistic in arranging their private lives: Gallup concludes they will settle for "low success, and won't risk high failure." There is not much willingness to take risks (not even in business), no setting of dangerous goals, no real conception of personal identity except one manufactured in the image of others, no real urge for personal fulfillment except to be almost as successful as the very successful people. Attention is being paid to social status (the quality of shirt collars, meeting people, getting wives or husbands, making solid contacts for later on); much too, is paid to academic status (grades, honors, the med school rat-race). But neglected generally is real intellectual status, the personal cultivation of the mind.
"Students don't even give a damn about the apathy," one has said. Apathy toward apathy begets a privately-constructed universe, a place of systematic study schedules, two nights each week for beer, a girl or two, and early marriage; a framework infused with personality, warmth, and under control, no matter how unsatisfying otherwise...
How shall the "public sector" be made public, and not the arena of a ruling bureaucracy of "public servants"? By steadfast opposition to bureaucratic coagulation, and to definitions of human needs according to problems easiest for computers to solve. Second, the bureaucratic pileups must be at least minimized by local, regional, and national economic planning responding to the interconnection of public problems by comprehensive programs of solution. Third, and most important, by experiments in decentralization, based on the vision of man as master of his machines and his society. The personal capacity to cope with life has been reduced everywhere by the introduction of technology that only minorities of men (barely) understand.
Update: Wednesday, June 14, 2006, 2:08 a.m. PDT On this date in 1982, Argentine forces surrendered to British troops on the disputed Falkland Islands. [New York Times e-headlines]
On this date in 1855, Mormon settlers arrived in the Las Vegas valley to establish a mission (Nevada Magazine calendar); in 1911, a Washoe County grand jury was hearing evidence against prizefighter John Carey, accused of an "infamous crime against nature", usually a reference to homosexuality; in 1937, federal narcotics investigator Chris Hansen, indicted in Nevada on narcotics charges, flew from Los Angeles to Reno promising to "crack the political circles of Nevada and California wide open" in his defense; in 1942, Clark County began a wartime scrap drive; in 1943, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the Constitution protects religious school children from forced salutes to the flag; in 1953, Elvis graduated from high school in Memphis; in 1954, President Eisenhower signed a law enacted by Congress altering the text of the pledge of allegiance as written by its author, socialist Francis Bellamy, to add the words "under God"; in 1966, Pope Paul VI abolished the ecclesiastical power of the Vatican's "Index of Prohibited Books", which had been created by the Inquisition under Paul IV; in 1971, in Las Vegas, Marshall McLuhan told the American Society of Medical Technologists that television is the root cause of drug abuse; in 1971, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of Jackson, Mississippi's decision to shut down operation of its municipal swimming pools to avoid letting African Americans use them; in 1971, 65 Native Americans, claiming federal surplus land under a treaty, took control of a Nike missile base the U.S. government had abandoned near Richmond, California (they were evicted on June 17 by a force of 300 soldiers and police officers); in 1971, Senator Barry Goldwater told the New York Times that during his 1964 presidential campaign he tried unsuccessfully to get his opponent, President Lyndon Johnson, to agree to a joint declaration that the Vietnam war would have to be widened with bombing and increased troop levels exactly what Johnson did after the election; in 1995, a monorail between the MGM Grand and Bally's casinos began operation (in Las Vegas); in 2001, Las Vegas FBI security analyst James Hill was arrested for selling classified files to organized crime and others.
Update: Tuesday, June 13, 2006, 2:27 a.m. PDT SOLIDAR-NOT, PART DEUX: Northern Nevada construction unions support non-union Las Vegas gambling company against Culinary Union petition drive regarding huge south Reno casino project.
Update: Tuesday, June 13, 2006, 1:55 a.m. PDT On this date in 1966, the Supreme Court issued its landmark Miranda vs. Arizona decision, ruling that criminal suspects must be informed of their constitutional rights prior to questioning by police. [New York Times e-headlines]
On this date in 1905, night post office hours in Reno were discontinued; in 1911, a banquet was held by the boys in the Anti-Cigarette Club at Reno's Congregational Church; in 1942, a day after the Navy reported that the aircraft carrier Lexington had been sunk by the Japanese a month earlier during the battle of Coral Sea, it was reported in Reno that local man Gordon Bitler was aboard the ship but had survived (though it was not immediately reported, a second Reno man, Walter Hollingsworth, was also aboard and also survived); in 1947, Tommy Myers was born in Monterey Park, California; in 1957, in a meeting at El Rancho Vegas, unions and contractors reached an agreement that made possible the end of a work stoppage that had shut down nearly every large construction project in the valley; in 1966, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Miranda vs. Arizona that defendants were entitled to know their rights before being questioned; in 1966, on his 19th birthday, Tommy Myers of 220 Maple Street in Reno called police to report a skunk in his backyard, and the police followed the animal to Arlington Avenue where they got him or her into a box and took it to the Humane Society shelter; in 1967, Thurgood Marshall was nominated to be the first African American justice on the U.S. Supreme Court; in 1971, the New York Times began publishing the Pentagon Papers (and when the Nixon administration went to court to stop them, the Papers started appearing in the Washington Post, and when the administration went to court to stop the Post, they started appearing in the Boston Globe, and so on through the St. Louis Post Dispatch, Chicago Sun Times, Christian Science Monitor, Los Angeles Times, eleven newspapers in the Knight chain, and Newsday, all with the Keystone press cops in hot pursuit); in 1977, The Beatles Live at the Star Club was released.
Update: Monday, June 12, 2006, 1:46 a.m. PDT DOWNSIZE THIS! UAW president presents doom and gloom at Gomorrah South convention. When is somebody gonna fight back? [UPDATE Members getting in the president's face]
On this date in 1987, during a visit to the divided German city of Berlin, President Ronald Reagan publicly challenged Soviet leader Mikhail S. Gorbachev to ''tear down this wall.'' [New York Times e-headlines]
On this date in 1898, the Phillippines declared independence from Spain (only to see the United States step in to replace Spain as Phillippine oppressors); in 1914, a Broadway play, Omar the Tentmaker, played at the Majestic Theatre in Reno with its original cast, including lead Guy Bates Post; in 1929, Anne Frank was born in Frankfurt; in 1941, President Roosevelt appointed three members of the U.S. Supreme court in a single day Robert Jackson, Harlan Stone (as chief), and James Byrnes; in 1941, a hearing on the Roosevelt administration's attempt to deport San Francisco labor leader Harry Bridges ended with no decision expected from the judge for several weeks; in 1941, in New York banker Julian Gerard's claim that he had given a mining stake to Walter "Death Valley Scotty" Scott and therefore was entitled to a part of Scott's estate, U.S. District Judge Benjamin Harrison ruled that Scott had never struck gold and that his only mining talent was in finding wealthy backers; in 1944, the Washoe County General Hospital board of trustees approved a $1,250,500 postwar expansion of the hospital and submitted it to the county commission; in 1956, the House Unamerican Activities Committee cited Paul Robeson for contempt of Congress after he told the committee "You ought to be ashamed of yourselves."; in 1956, the Royal Nevada Hotel in Las Vegas was taken over by the New Frontier; in 1963, African American leader Medgar Evers was assassinated in Jackson, Mississippi, shot from hiding by Byron de la Beckwith; in 1963, as Evers was being murdered, President Kennedy was addressing the nation, breaking away from the federal government's longtime legalistic approach to civil rights to announce "We are confronted primarily with a moral issue. It is as old as the scriptures and as clear as the American constitution," an approach that thrilled African American leaders; in 1969, it was announced in London that Prime Minister Harold Wilson had named the four Beatles to receive the MBE the Membership of the most excellent order of the British Empire provoking other MBEs to return theirs to the government ("I thought you had to drive tanks and win wars to get the MBE," said John Lennon, who would later return his to protest the British government's support of the U.S. war against Vietnam); in 1969, an early Gallup survey on the idea of reparations for African Americans found little public support for it; in 1969, it was reported that John DeTar, for a decade and a half one of Reno's leading right-wingers (a familiar spokesperson for both the John Birch Society and the American Independent Party) had left the state to live in Michigan; in 1973, Las Vegas publisher Hank Greenspun refused to surrender his Howard Hughes files to the Internal Revenue Service, which had subpoenaed them.
Update: Sunday, June 11, 2006, 3:31 a.m. PDT On this date in 1942, the United States and the Soviet Union signed a lend lease agreement to aid the Soviet war effort in World War II. [New York Times e-headlines]
On this date in 1859, prospectors Patrick McLaughlin and Peter O'Riley discovered gold near Virginia City [Nevada Magazine calendar]; in 1875, Montgomery Queen's Great Moral Circus performed in Reno, including somersault rider Mollie Brown ("Pre-eminent Princess of Arenic celebrities") and Charles Fish ("declared Champion Rider of England, Prussia, Austria, and Russia") plus the "ONLY LIVING GIRAFFE EVER SEEN IN CALIFORNIA, THE GREAT Hogopotamus from the Nile. The Nondescript Onadad. TAWNY LIONESS OF AFRICA. And Four Young Cubs"; in 1880, Jeanette Rankin, who voted against U.S. entry in both world wars during widely separated single terms in the House of Representatives, was born on a Montana ranch near Missoula; in 1931, 2,000 men and women stormed the county jail in St. Clairsville, Ohio, to free eleven striking coal miners and were driven off by 49 sheriff's deputies and American Legion vigilantes using tear gas and machine guns; in 1931, the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom held its first meeting in Reno; in 1931, California Governor James Rolph inspected the death chamber at the Nevada State Prison as part of deciding whether to sign legislation switching his state from hanging to the gas chamber; in 1942, Carl Shelly, publisher of the Sparks Tribune and former Nevada assemblymember (and father of Hollywood producer/writer Bruce Shelly) was elected president of the Sparks Lions Club; in 1942, Leonard Fowler, who as Nevada attorney general tried to overturn Mary Pickford's quickie divorce and left the state when his term of office ended, died in San Francisco; in 1947, members of the North Las Vegas volunteer fire department told the new city council, which had asked them to remove the fire chief, that they would "continue to elect our own officers, including that of the chief, at all times."; in 1956, in its fifth day, a special census of North Las Vegas was reported to be near its end; in 1956, playwright Arthur Miller was granted a Reno divorce from Mary Slattery (during Miller's residency period in Nevada he was served with a subpoena from the House Un-American Activities Committee); in 1957, roving mobs of European Christians in Algiers beat Moslems to death, destroyed their stores, and burned their cars (glass from shop windows was scattered in the streets, raising uncomfortable memories); in 1957, the Cuban dictatorship banned republication of articles from the New York Times by reporter Herbert Matthews on the activities of rebel forces led by attorney Fidel Castro; in 1963, Buddhist monk Quang Duc set himself on fire and died at a central Saigon intersection to protest Buddhist persecution by the U.S.- created Saigon government; in 1963, the California Assembly defeated a bill prohibiting bus and airline excursions to Nevada casinos; in 1963, in Carson City, brothel operator Joe Conforte, serving a three- to five-year term in state prison for attempting to extort Washoe County District Attorney William Raggio, was sentenced to three years in federal prison after pleading guilty to evading his taxes as part of a plea bargain under which three additional tax charges were dropped; in 1969, former United Mine Workers president and first president of the Congress of Industrial Organizations John L. Lewis died in Washington; in 1969, it was announced that U.S. Interior Secretary Walter Hickel would meet July 7 with governors Ronald Reagan of California and Paul Laxalt of Nevada to discuss Hickel's opposition to the California/Nevada interstate water compact and his belief (also opposed by the governors) that the water level of Lake Tahoe should be raised a foot; in 1969, attorney Mitchell Rogovin, representing baseball commissioner Bowie Kuhn, met with Governor Laxalt and state gambling regulator Frank Johnson and examined state records, part of Kuhn's inquiry on Oakland Athletics owner Charles Finley's purchase of shares in a company owning Nevada casinos; in 1986, at his news conference, President Reagan bungled a question about the SALT (Strategic Arms Limitiation Talks) talks, confused a court decision on abortion with a court decision on medical treatment of malformed infants, confused a Warsaw Pact proposal with a Soviet proposal (the White House issued a flurry of corrections and clarifications), setting Washington buzzing about his mental competence, yet not a single reporter wrote about it, prompting a Reagan aide to wonder to the Los Angeles Times about "how easy the press was on him"; in 2004, the Australian Beatles Festival began in Adelaide, lasting four days.
Update: Saturday, June 10, 2006, 12:46 a.m. PDT On this date in 1967, the Six-Day War ended as Israel and Syria agreed to observe a United Nations-mediated cease-fire. [New York Times e-headlines]
On this date in 1692, Bridget Bishop was hanged in Salem as a witch; in 1913, at Ninth and Center streets in Reno, across the street from the university entrance, a fir tree was planted in soil brought from several civil war battlefields; in 1922, Nevada political boss George Wingfield resigned as Republican national committee member from the state "on account of ill health, I am forced to take a long vacation and keep away from all business"; in 1936, at the Republican national convention in Cleveland, where Alf Landon already had the presidential nomination locked up, delegates responded to a forceful attack on the New Deal by former President Hoover with chants of "We Want Hoover" whereupon Hoover made himself scarce; in 1943, after several days of rioting by white U.S. Navy sailors who went on "search and destroy" missions against Latinos in Los Angeles who the press called "zoot suited hoodlums" (thus giving the events their name the Zoot Suit Riots), the press started reporting that Latino "girl gangster auxiliaries" had joined the battles; in 1943, U.S. War Secretary Henry Stimson denied a report that WAACS (members of the Women's Army Auxiliary Corps) would be issued contraceptives; in 1944, the entire population of Oradour sur Glane, France, was murdered by an SS unit, the reason for the massacre never firmly established (the town was never repopulated but is preserved as an empty, forlorn reminder of the atrocity; in 1960, in Tokyo, President Eisenhower's press secretary and appointments secretary (who were in Japan to handle arrangements for the president's trip the next week) became trapped in a car with the U.S. ambassador at Tokyo airport just after arriving as crowds of angry Japanese surrounded the car (the car's inhabitants were rescued by a U.S. military helicopter); in 1960, Salt Lake City's Oakland Construction Company won a $1,352,850 contract for construction at the Nevada atomic test site; in 1963, above-ground atomic testing ended at the Nevada test site, never to resume, when President Kennedy at American University pledged the U.S. not "to conduct nuclear tests in the atmosphere so long as other states do not do so; we will not be the first to resume," a promise that led to a breakthrough in test ban negotiations and resulted in an agreement 45 days later; in 1966, Parlophone released the Beatles single Paperback Writer b/w Rain in Britain, eleven days after their U.S. release (Rain was the first instance of a use of tape being run backwards as part of the recording, in this case of John's voice); in 1997, Sunset Station Casino opened in Las Vegas.
Update: Friday, June 9, 2006, 1:58 a.m. PDT SOLIDAR-NOT Union vs. Union: Building Trades Council and Culinary Union at odds over proposed south Reno Station Casino, petition drive
On this date in 1954, Army counsel Joseph N. Welch confronted Sen. Joseph R. McCarthy, R-Wisconsin, during the Senate-Army Hearings over McCarthy's attack on a member of Welch's law firm, Frederick G. Fisher. Said Welch: "Have you no sense of decency, sir? At long last, have you left no sense of decency?'' [New York Times e-headlines]
On this date in 1874, U.S. Attorney General George Williams rendered a legal opinion that U.S. law gives jurisdiction over the introduction of alcoholic beverages into Native American territory to the Department of War; in 1874, there was a meeting in Reno to organize a local base-ball club; in 1877, the Journal editorialized that "the V. & T. R.R. is being run alone in the interest of Mr. Mills [road president Darius O. Mills] and the others, and not in any sense for the people. It is time that the people were placed on an equal footing."; in 1913, a chautauqua opened on Belle Isle in Reno; in 1914, Nevada's newest mining boom was Haystack, a gold camp west of Winnemucca and south of Jungo, at the south end of Desert Valley; in 1927, a federal corruption scandal hit Nevada when U.S. Prohibition agent Robert Scoular was indicted by a federal grand jury and arrested in Reno on bribery charges, the first of many such indictments made public; in 1934, the Sparks Theatre was showing Elysia/The Valley of the Nude, a movie filmed in a nudist colony, and the Nevada State Journal carried a nude drawing of a woman in the ad for the film on its movie page; in 1944, U.S. Senator Patrick McCarran of Nevada addressed a joint session of the California Legislature on planning for postwar conversion of the economy to civilian production; in 1947, the Reno City Council repealed a longstanding ban of cigarette sales in drug stores; in 1970, the cornerstone of the Nevada Legislature building was installed; in 1971, German state prosecutors brought charges against dozens of women who had been quoted in news reports saying they had undergone abortions (the prosecution targets included actresses Romy Schneider and Senta Berger); in 1972, U.S. military commander John Paul Vann died in a helicopter crash in Vietnam, though he is not counted as among the nation's military dead in the war and is not listed on the wall (at the time of his death he was using a civilian U.S. AID employee cover, though he spent the last day of his life commanding U.S. forces in the battle of Kontum).
Update: Thursday, June 8, 2006, 12:43 a.m. PDT ON THIS DATE in 1969, authorities announced the capture in London of James Earl Ray, the suspected assassin of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. [New York Times e-headlines]
On this date in 632 Muhammad died in Medina (Madinah) in northern Arabia; in 1874, a circus performed in Reno but the Nevada State Journal reviewed it unfavorably: "They pitched their tent in Commercial Row, it is true, but the show was an immense fraud. It was the poorest excuse for a circus and menagerie the most vivid imagination could create."; in 1879, the Reno Workingmen's organization met and decided to form a military troop (the Workingmen's Party was also known as the Sandlotters and Kearneyism, after San Francisco political leader Denis Kearney, and gained considerable power in California with its program of economic populism and opposition to immigrant groups); in 1911, former Nevada saloon owner Tex Rickard, who staged the Johnson/Jefferies "great white hope" prizefight in Reno, offered to promote a fight in Buenos Aires between heavyweight champion Jack Johnson and any two men in the world (Rickard believed Johnson would win) for the world championship "All I ask is that Johnson be given a rest of fifteen minutes after disposing of the first adversary"; in 1911, two Native Americans, believed to be from Pyramid Lake, were arrested for selling trout in Reno; in 1914, "Let them die" was becoming an anti-suffrage slogan in Britain where imprisoned suffragettes were on hunger strikes; in 1914, in a move apparently aimed at U.S. Secretary of State William Jennings Bryan's lecture tours, Representative Frederick Britten introduced legislation to make it a criminal offense to speak for pay; in 1915, Secretary Bryan resigned in protest against President Wilson's belligerence, which Bryan said would lead to war; in 1934, six Sparks property owners filed for a permanent injuction against the construction of the Sparks/Reno highway, arguing that when Sparks granted the federal government the right to build a highway through the city it disregarded the rights of business owners along the route and that Sparks had no authority to grant the right of way; in 1941, a U.S. Army observation plane took off from France Field, Panama and disappeared (in April 1999 wreckage of the plane was found and the remains of the three crew members James D. Cartwright, Augustus J. Allen and Paul R. Stubbs were recovered and returned to their families; in 1953, Henderson, Nevada, was incorporated; in 1961, Wild in the Country starring Hope Lange and Elvis Presley was released; in 1971, in a special statewide election, Nevada voters lowered the voting age to 18; in 1972, South Vietnamese pilots in military jets provided by the U.S. dropped white phosphorus and napalm on a village and screaming children running from the village were photographed by Huynh Cong Ut, one photo winning the Pulitzer Prize (Phan Thi Kim Phuc, the naked girl running down the road with her body aflame in the photo, spent years getting skin grafts and became a peace activist).
Update: Wednesday, June 7, 2006, 7:56 p.m. PDT in 1872, a fifty gun salute was fired in Reno in honor of Ulysses Grant and Henry Wilson's nominations for president and vice president by the Republican National Convention meeting in Philadelphia; in 1872, track was being laid for the Virginia and Truckee Railroad south of Reno at a rate of a half mile a day; in 1872, the Washoe County grand jury praised District Attorney W. M. Boardman for ignoring an order by the county commission to drop a tax lawsuit against the scofflaw Central Pacific Railroad corporation; in 1892, New Orleans Creole Homer Plessy was arrested for violating the state Separate Car Act by seating himself in a railroad car restricted to whites only, giving his name to the infamous U.S. Supreme Court case that upheld segregated facilities, Plessy vs. Ferguson; in 1929, Premier Mussolini and Pope Pius XI signed the Lateran Treaty; in 1936, a Druid's Dance was held in Reno's Lyon Building; in 1936, the Carson City Presbyterian Church marked its 75th anniversary with ceremonies and speeches by California synod moderator Hugh Dobbins and Nevada state district judge W.D. Hatton. (the church was organized May 19 1861 as the New School Branch of the Presbyterian Church); in 1937, financier J.P. Morgan touted the right of the rich to avoid paying taxes: "I object strenuously to income tax evasion as a moral issue."; in 1937, the Truckee River was bridged at Sierra Street in Reno for the first time as steel girders were laid across it as part of the construction of a concrete faced bridge; in 1952, novelist Walter Van Tilburg Clark was appointed an English lecturer (at the University of Nevada) for the spring semester 1953 at a salary of $2200 for the semester; in 1954, the new U.S. chief justice, Earl Warren, told a class of graduates at a small Illinois womens college that the nation was "living in an emotional age" and was "flooded with charges and counter charges as substitutes for truth" which was causing the U.S. to "lose stature both at home and abroad"; in 1954, the Nevada State Journal headlined: "U.S. Intervention in Indochina War May Be Asked Within Next 30 Days"; in 1954, a group of nine, some of them associated with the Desert Inn (including Ruby Kolod and Moe Dalitz), filed an application for a new casino on the Boulder highway called the Showboat; in 1955, while waiting for the start of his program See It Now (part two of a report on the link between smoking and lung cancer), Edward R. Murrow watched the new $64,000 Question quiz show on a studio monitor and said to his producer Fred Friendly, "Any bets on how long we'll keep this time period now?" (See It Now lost its weekly time slot a month later); in 1966, Roy Orbison's wife Claudette was killed in a motorcycle accident (the Everly Brothers had a hit in 1958 with Orbison's Claudette); in 1969, Stephen Earl Larsen of East Ely, Nevada died in Quang Tin province, Vietnam (panel 23w, row 102 of the Vietnam wall) and Dale Earl Thompson of Henderson died in Quang Nam province (panel 23w, row 107); in 1981, Israel bombed and destroyed a nuclear power plant in at Osiraq, Iraq, justifying the strike with a claim that the plant could be used to manufacture weapons of mass destruction (the U.S. voted in the United Nations to condemn the Israeli action as an act of terror).
Update: Tuesday, June 6, 2006, 1:35 p.m. PDT BRUTAL TASC: The word has gone out to Nevada union members and anyone else interested in avoiding this High Desert Plantation reverting back to a boomtown mining camp Please report the location of paid operatives circulating the TASC petition to destroy Nevada's school system, senior services and just about everything else that makes a community, like road repair. (Circulators won't tell you that, they are commissioned salesmen. But that will be the net effect.)
TASC is a copy of a dumbass measure which Colorado passed a few years ago and just suspended because the state was falling apart. Under the guise of capping all the government waste (let me know if you find some) in the stingiest state in the union (they don't tell you that), supporters of this community Katrina say that you can have your cake and eat it, too. That's fantasyland, and doubly dangerous because we have always underfunded needed services due to our major industry causing so many social problems. (See the state study which proves it.)
On today's edition of Nevada Newsmakers, Las Vegas Review-Journal political columnist Erin Neff said the petition campaign is disorganized. She expressed doubts that the paid operatives, working at the behest of a doofuss Republican gubernatorial candidate, will be able to get enough signatures in the remaining days. Don't risk it. Very wealthy people have put a lot of money into this thing. Report circulator locations to the following numbers: Northern and rural Nevada, (775) 315-3682; southern Nevada (702) 408-7825.
How bad is it? When this editor engaged a circulator in a debate in Reno yesterday, her supervisor actually said not to worry if this thing cuts the worst education funding in America. Why? Because "there's lots of other ways to fund education." Once again, I'm all ears. Enlighten me.
If you want to e-mail locations of circulators so that educators may be sent out to engage in debate as I did, e-mail me and I'll pass the word. (I encountered a full voice-mail box today, which means that organized labor is...organizing. Calls are coming in.)
Keep up the good work.
Be well. Raise hell.
UPDATE: 7-14-2006 Center on Budget and Policy Priorities analyzes TASC
Update: Sunday, June 11, 2006, 4:30 a.m. PDT Public runs a gauntlet of petitioners and contra-petitioners; union education campaign effective (Reno Gazette-Journal 6-11-2006)
Update: Friday, June 9, 2006, 4:31 p.m. PDT Last night's (5:oo p.m.) ruling by Judge Sally Loehrer, Eighth Judicial District Court, denied TASC's application for an order extending time for filing the petitions. They remain due June 20. TASC admitted in its papers filed with the court that as the result of educator activity, they have lost many of their paid circulators and that their rate of signatures has fallen drastically. Those were the grounds for the requested extension. Without it, they will be forced to engage in an extreme effort over the next 11 days. Equally, continued effective counter-education will be of tremendous benefit.
Update: Tuesday, June 6, 2006, 4:36 a.m. PDT Excerpts from recent installments of longtime Nevada reporter Dennis Myers' Poor Denny's Almanac. Items in blue are of particular interest to labor.
On June 6, 1933, the first concrete was poured on the site of Hoover Dam [Nevada Magazine 2006 calendar]; in 1944, the D-Day invasion of Europe took place during World War II as Allied forces stormed the beaches of Normandy, France. [New York TImes e-headlines]
On June 6, 1242, in Paris, by the decrees of Pope Gregory IX and King Louis, all copies of the Talmud were stolen from the Jews and burned and, in an irreparable loss to history, 24 cartloads of Hebrew manuscripts were burned; in 1878, workers and material were in readiness for the building of 31 miles of canal by the Truckee and Steamboat Springs Irrigating Canal Company; in 1936, in Cadiz, Ohio, a house cat belonging to Mary Roby was in the second week of keeping a vigil over the burial site of one of her kittens who died, with the vigil broken occasionally for her to leave and bring mice that she put atop the grave; in 1966, Robert Earle Garey of Las Vegas died in Quang Nam province, Vietnam (panel 7e/row 133 of the Vietnam wall); in 1968, Robert Kennedy died; in 1978, California voters enacted ballot Proposition 13, a (property tax) measure that swept across the nation and influenced U.S. politics for years.
On June 5, 1924, Governor James Scrugham of Nevada said in a Los Angeles luncheon speech that President Coolidge was a "stage prop, a painted ship upon a painted sea", that U.S. citizens were "disgruntled at their government, with party machinery broken down and both parties seeking issues", and that the Democratic Party should nominate a presidential candidate who would "not be merely a spare tire for the reactionary Republican machine"; in 1924, U.S. Senators Key Pittman and Tasker Oddie got an amendment attached to a reclamation bill that would provide $800,000 to try to make the Newlands project work better, including turning the Spanish Springs Valley north of Sparks into a reservoir; in 1947, the first U.S. peace treaties of World War Two, with Hungary, Bulgaria, Italy, and Rumania, were approved by the Senate (the contribution of U.S. Senator George Malone of Nevada to the debate was to call for "a seven year period of slave labor" for Italians); in 1968, five days after he said in a televised debate that the U.S. government had done nothing more to respond to the riots in the cities except "say a prayer and appoint a commission", Senator Robert Kennedy, D-NY, was shot and President Johnson appointed another commission; in 1989, a day after Chinese troops brutally crushed the uprising in Tiananmen Square, the whole world was watching as one man stepped in front of a tank which tried to go around him until he blocked it there too, and it again tried to avoid him, whereupon he leaped on it and started calling to those inside, after which horrified protesters ran out and pulled him to safety (Time magazine named the man, whose name may have been Wang Wei Lin, one of the one hundred most influential people of the 20th Century, but he remains largely unknown to the Chinese people themselves).
On June 4, 1877, Southern Pacific announced it had purchased the Los Angeles and Independence Railroad for $195,000 from John Jones of Santa Monica, California, who was then serving as a U.S. senator from Nevada; in 1901, in Denver the Western Federation of Miners which would become a powerful force in Nevada's Goldfield mining boom adopted a resolution opposing an increase in the size of the nation's small standing army; in 1913, Agnes Wilson, daughter of the secretary of labor, address the National Women's Trade Union Leave and urged that women be taught to look for the union label on products they purchase, in preference to the use of boycotts; in 1924, with the support of U.S. Representative Charles Richards of Nevada, three of Nevada Senator Key Pittman's bills were approved by the House: one to strip title of reservation land from the Pyramid Lake tribe and turn it over to white squatters, another to provide land and water rights for the Te-Moaks in Ruby Valley, and a third to drain another 840 acres of Piute land for the benefit of the Newlands project; in 1924, Senator Pittman withdrew his name from consideration as chair of the Democratic National Convention in favor of Senator Thomas Walsh of Montana (thus sparing himself the ordeal of presiding over the disastrous 1924 convention that was ripped apart by the influence of the Ku Klux Klan and took 16 days and 103 ballots to nominate its ticket); in 1939, the U.S. Board of Geographic Names approved "Havasu Lake" ("blue" in Mohave) for the man-made lake created by construction of Parker Dam on the Colorado River; in 1939, in a radio debate, U.S. Representative Josh Lee of Oklahoma advocated his legislation to draft capital as well as people during wartime; in 1951, the Reno city council, "meeting informally", discussed the comments they planned to submit to the Corps of Engineers on plans for the Prosser Creek and Stampede Valley flood control dams and the one-foot lowering of the level of Lake Tahoe; in 1952, Clark County's hopes of sending its first local to the Miss America pageant ended when Miss Nevada Sylvia Russell got married to another Bonanza Airlines steward and Renoite Bonnie Wilson assumed the title (Russell also lost her job, though her husband kept his the airline prohibited marriage only for its female employees); in 1953, one of Nevada's most honored citizens, novelist Walter Van Tilburg Clark, jolted Nevadans by resigning from the University of Nevada in protest against "an increasingly autocratic administrative attitude at the school"; in 1962, Reno radio station owner Jerry Cobb gave a talk and showed a film on the dangers of internal communism to the Elko Rotary Club; in 1962, the Nevada AFL/CIO held a carnival at the Washoe fair grounds for children from the state orphanage, Catholic Welfare Bureau, Stead air base, NAACP, YWCA, and other groups; in 1984, Bruce Springsteen's Born in the USA album was released; in 1987, the University of Nevada board of regents declined to take over the financially sinking Old College School of Law in Reno; in 1989, Chinese troops charged into Tiananmen Square and adjoining streets to stop the pro-democracy movement (no reliable death toll is available, which has led some to claim that no deaths occurred); in 2001, the Nevada Legislative session ended in the dead of night after the senate approved utility deregulation, a measure that blew up in the lawmakers' faces a year later.
On June 3, 1906, for the second day in a row the Nevada State Journal reported on its contention that workers at the little mountain lumber town of Floriston were paying a dollar a month fee for health care and were being given grossly inadequate care by their employers; in 1933, there were signs that the ease of action of the first hundred days was coming to an end both houses of Congress were rebelling against President Roosevelt's cuts in veterans programs and a senate committee was cutting spending in his national recovery bill; in 1933, a Sacramento waitress elaborated on her original breach of promise suit against boxer Max Baer, saying they had been involved for two years and he had broken their engagement to marry an actress; in 1937, the Las Vegas Typographical Union began an effort to convince businesses to get their printing done in the community and not sending it out to Los Angeles or other cities; in 1946, in Paris, a cultural benchmark, the bikini, was introduced; in 1952, in San Francisco, an Oregon ministerial student was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Edward Murphy to five years in prison and a $10,000 fine for draft evasion;
On June 2, 1863, Harriet Tubman led a Union army raid in Maryland that freed 700 slaves; in 1877, the New York Sun turned down a request from the Hayes White House for a free subscription; in 1888, a load of electrical gear arrived in Reno for the telegraph repeating office; in 1910, great white hope Jim Jefferies responded with anger when California Governor James Gillett (in whose state the Jefferies/Johnson fight was scheduled) claimed the fight was fixed so the white man would win; in 1910, the U.S. House, acting on a concern that antitrust law could be used against unions, adopted an amendment to an appropriations bill stipulating that none of the funds in the bill could be used for that purpose, though Republicans pointed out that except for the Cleveland administration, no presidential administration had ever tried such a thing.
On June 1, 1968, Harold Joseph Knittle of Las Vegas, Nevada died in Thua Thien province, Vietnam (panel 61w, row 003 of the Vietnam wall); in 1971, the water level elevation of Pyramid Lake was measured at 3,794.9 feet, putting it back to the 1960 level; in 1999, Elton John gave a concert at the University of Wyoming in memory of hate murder victim Matthew Shepard.
On May 31, 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 until September 11, 2001 (June 3d 1864: 7,000 U.S., 1,500 C.S.); in 1946, President Truman said his bill allowing him to draft strikers had been weakened by removal of the striker section but that he still wanted it passed because it still would allow him to draft other workers; in 1968, Robert Christian Allen died in Quang Tri Province, Vietnam (panel 62w, row 12 of the Vietnam wall).
On May 30, 1941, the British invaded Iraq to overthrow the government of Rashid Ali Al-Gaylani because it was considered sympathetic to Germany; in 1968, worker strikes in numerous fields (transportation, communication, even sports) brought France to a halt; in 1989, Chinese students constructed a "goddess of liberty" in Tiananmen Square.
On May 29, 1890, Pierre, South Dakota resident Charles Hyde wrote a letter to Secretary of the Interior John Noble warning against Wovoka's ghost dance being practiced by Native Americans at Pine Ridge, the letter 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 1910, the new church building at 220 Bell Street of Reno's African Methodist Episcopal Church was dedicated [EDITOR'S NOTE: It still stands.]; in 1922, federal broadcasting license 310 was issued to Nevada Machinery and Electric in Reno for station KDZK.
On May 28, 1907, following the sentencing of Goldfield labor leaders Joseph Smith and Morris Preston in a murder case that was rigged against them by George Wingfield's money, I.W.W. (Industrial Workers of the World) leader Vincent St. John and seven other witnesses for the defense were granted bail (the men had been indicted to discredit their testimony for Smith and Preston, then the charges were dropped shortly after the trial); in 1914, Mrs. William O.H. Martin and Mabel Vernon attended a meeting of the Reno barbers union and made a pitch for women's suffrage; in 1971, Harold's Club employees formed a Casino Employees Association and were considering affiliating with the Teamsters Union; in 1971, Lake Tahoe developer Don Steinmeyer wrote to President Nixon complaining about what he called the "dictatorial power" of the bi-state Tahoe Regional Planning Agency which he said "drastically and dramatically violates our basic principles of free enterprise"; in 1972, the first break-in at Democratic National Committee offices in the Watergate Office Building took place without being detected; in 1987, a teenaged West German pilot named Mathias Rust evaded Soviet air defenses and landed a small private plane in Red Square; in 1997, Nevada writer and broadcaster Norm Nielson died.
On May 27, 1937, the Nevada State Journal reported that night crews were being used on the Works Progress Administration project to create what became known as Virginia Lake Park south of Reno, and that the lake was being designed for swimming and wading with an average depth of five and a half feet; in 1958, a bomb with three sticks of dynamite was removed from the 1952 Ford owned by Reno labor leader Lawrence Sigglekow, and Sheriff Bud Young said it had been in the car for about a month and its failure to detonate resulted in two later attacks on Sigglekow's life (shots fired into his house and then a bomb thrown at the house); in 1969, 21 year- old James Woodford Clark of Reno died in Phuoc Long, Vietnam (panel 24w, line 115 of the Vietnam wall); in 1995, Christopher Reeve was injured and paralyzed in a riding accident.
On May 26, 1863, Robert "Ruby Bob" Fitzsimmons, who won the heavyweight championship from James Corbett in Carson City on St. Patrick's Day 1897, was born in Helston, Cornwall (though boxing historians say he is regarded as a New Zealand champion because he learned his trade there); in 1871, the Territorial Enterprise reported that "a construction camp has been established not far from the foot of the Geiger Grade, and work is shortly to be commenced on the Virginia and Reno Narrow Gauge Railway"; 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 war; in 1922, the mining camp of Manhattan, Nevada, burned to the ground; in 1967, on the eve of a city wide festival celebrating the opening of the Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco Mayor Angelo Rossi worked to settle a strike at 16 major hotels (the Nevada delegation at the festival stayed at the Fielding Hotel); in 1956, Althea Gibson won the French open, the first African American to win a major tourney; in 1978, the first legal casino in Atlantic City opened.
On May 25, 1943, California Gov. 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 1979,the Nevada Assembly gave final legislative approval to a formal state call for a federal constitutional convention to restrict abortion.
On May 24, 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 1967, Sparks announced that it had new equipment that would pour huge fogs of pesticide over neighborhoods to kill mosquitos; in 1955, Raymond Smith, owner of Harold's Club, died in Reno; 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; in 2001, U.S. Senator James Jeffords of Vermont switched from Republican to Independent, in part because Nevada Senator Harry Reid agreed to yield the chair of the Senate Environment Committee to him.
Update: Thursday, June 1, 2006, 4:57a.m. PDT NEVADA PHILANTHROPIST MAYA MILLER DIES
MAYA MILLER, who gave then-Lt. Gov. Harry Reid a spirited run for the 1974 Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate, died in her Washoe Valley home on May 31. She was 90. An oil heiress, she funded the Foresta Institute and promoted a wide variety of populist, civil rights, womens rights and environmental causes.
Rest in peace, bold warrior.
The following was sent by Jan Gilbert
We want you to know that Maya died tonight in her kitchen at Orchard House. She was with all of us ranchers, peaceful and calm. It was dinnertime and there was a beautiful sunset.
Over the past few weeks Maya has been getting weaker, and a few days ago she asked for Hospice to relieve her of pain. She wanted everyone to know that this was her choice and her time to go. As she told the hospice people, she's had a great life. Earlier this week she had some time with her granddaughters and she has spent time with many of her friends recently. She was happy.
We ask that instead of flowers or cards you remember Maya by taking some action for social change.
Kit, Jon, Annika, Shaya, Jan, Michael, Melissa, Dale, Marla and Catherine
UPDATES: DENNIS MYERS ON MAYA (Reno News & Review 6-8-2006)
MILLER WAS COMMITTED TO PRINCIPALS (Reno Gazette-Journal EDITORIAL, Monday 6-5-06)
MILLER'S DEATH LEAVES VOID AMONG PROGRESSIVES (Reno Gazette-Journal, Sunday 6-4-06)
ASSOCIATED PRESS OBITUARY BY LONGTIME CARSON CITY BUREAU CHIEF BRENDAN RILEY, 6-2-06
LAS VEGAS SUN EDITORIAL: REMEMBERING AN ACTIVIST, 6-2-06
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