On this day

In 1805, the French political theorist and politician Alexis de Tocqueville was born in Paris, France. Tocqueville is best remembered for his two-volume work, Democracy in America, and his study of the French Revolution, The Old Regime and the Revolution.

In 1848, police put down a nationalist revolt in Ireland. Known as the Tipperary Revolt, Young Irelander Rebellion and Famine Rebellion, the Young Irish Movement led the action.

In 1883, the Italian fascist dictator Benito Mussolini was born in Predappio, Forli, Italy.

In 1890, the Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh died by his own hand in Auvers-sur-Oise,

France. Van Gogh painted in the post-impressionist style.

In 1899, the First
Hague Convention was signed.

In 1901, the Socialist Party of America was founded at the Socialist Unity Convention held in Indianapolis, Indiana.

In 1916, jazz guitarist Charlie Christian was born in Bonham, Texas. Christian mostly played in the Swing style.

In 1921, Adolf Hitler became the leader of the National Socialist German Workers' Party (the Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei or Nazi Party).

In 1932, Federal troops, under the command of General Douglas MacArthur and as authorized by President Herbert Hoover, dispersed the Bonus Army encamped in a Hooverville shanty town near to Washington, DC.

In 1957, the International Atomic Energy Agency was established with the completion of the IAEA Statute. The IAEA is an agency related to the United Nations.

In 1958, President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed the National Aeronautics and Space Act
(Pub.L. 85-568), legislation which brought the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) into being. The act originated as a response to the launch of Sputnik I in October, 1957 by the Soviet Union.

In 1979, the German-American philosopher Herbert Marcuse died in Starnberg, West Germany. Marcuse is best remembered for his books, Eros and Civilization and One-Dimensional Man, as well as for the role he played as mentor to the New Left in the United States and Europe.

In 1983, the Spanish filmmaker Luis Buñuel died in Mexico City, Mexico.


On this day

In 1750, the German composer Johann Sebastian Bach died in Leipzig, Germany.

In 1794, revolutionary France's National Convention had Maximilien Robespierre executed by guillotine, an event which concluded the Reign of Terror and signaled the onset of what became known as the Thermidorian Reaction.

In 1804, the German philosopher Ludwig Feuerbach was born in Landshut, Germany. Feuerbach is remembered today mainly for his work "The Essence of Christianity."

In 1821, Peru declared its independence from Spain.

In 1868, the Fourteenth Amendment to the American Constitution was passed.

In 1874, the German and Jewish neo-Kantian philosopher Ernst Cassirer was born in Breslau, Germany.

In 1887, the French artist Marcel Duchamp was born in Blainville-Crevon, France. Duchamp's work mostly belongs to the Dadaist and Surrealist movements.

In 1902, the Austrian philosopher Karl Popper was born in Vienna, Austria. Popper's work mostly fell within the philosophy of science and political theory.

In 1914, Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia in response to the Assassination of Archduke Ferdinand.

In 1932, President Herbert Hoover ordered the United States Army under the command of General Douglas MacArthur to evict the Bonus Army from Washington, DC. Major Dwight David Eisenhower and General George Patton also participated in the action which produced an unknown number of civilian casualties, including women and children.

In 1965, President Lyndon B. Johnson ordered a 50,000 man troop increase in South Vietnam.

In 2005, the Provisional Irish Republican Army concluded its thirty-year armed campaign in Northern Ireland.


Quote of the Day

This one comes from Sam Smith's keyboard who, when discussing the strategy the Left might use in its effort to combat the Right, observed:

The right knows how to scare the shit out of liberals and politicians like Obama, whereas the right doesn't even get scared at the thought of destroying the planet.

Yes, it is difficult to intimidate those who embrace death and wish to spread this goodness to every living entity on the planet!

On this day

In 1755, the British governor, General Charles Lawrence, and the Governing Council of Nova Scotia deported the Acadians living in the British Maritime Provinces. Known as the Great Expulsion and Le Grand Dérangement, this act of ethnic cleansing occurred during and was prompted by the French and Indian or Seven Years War. The cleansing killed some, destroyed families and moved the deportees to ports in Britain, France and Britain's American colonies.

In 1834, the English romantic poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge died I Highgate, England.

In 1894, Gavrilo Princip was born in Obljaj, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Austria-Hungary. Princip was a Yugoslavian nationalist and the Archduke Ferdinand's assassin. The assassination triggered the First World War.

In 1905, the writer and Nobel Lauriat Elias Canetti was born in Rustschuk, Bulgaria.

In 1943, the Fascist Grand Council forced Benito Mussolini out of office. The soldier and fascist politician Pietro Badoglio replaced Il Duce.

In 1946, the United States detonated an atomic bomb under water at the Bikini Atoll in the Pacific Ocean. The explosion was part of a series of tests known as Operation Crossroads. The United States cleansed the relevant test areas of their aboriginal population.

In 1952, the American colony of Puerto Rico adopted a local constitution. The United States had approved of the constitution and retained Puerto Rico as a colony.

In 1957, Tunisia became a republic.

In 1961, President John F. Kennedy gave his famous "Ich bin ein Berliner" speech in a divided Berlin.

In 1969, President Richard Nixon pronounced his Nixon Doctrine on the American colony of Guam. The Doctrine was intended to be a general position of the United States, but it also put into effect the "Vietnamization" of the Viet Nam War.


On this day

In 1783, the anti-imperialist politician and military leader Simón Bolívar was born in Caracas, Venezuela.

In 1929, the General Treaty for the Renunciation of War (the Kellogg-Briand Pact or the Pact of Paris) went into effect. The Treaty was signed on August 27, 1928 and barred the use of aggressive war as an instrument of international politics.

In 1959 and in Moscow, Soviet Union, Vice-President Richard Nixon and Premier Nikita Khrushchev had their famous kitchen debate.

In 1974, the Supreme Court of the United States unanimously ruled [in the United States v. Nixon, 418 U.S. 683 (1974)] that President Richard Nixon lacked the authority to withhold subpoenaed White House tapes from the Watergate Special Prosecutor, Leon Jaworski.

In 1980, the actor and comedian Peter Sellers died in London, England.

In 1991, the Yiddish novelist and Nobel Prize winner Isaac Bashevis Singer died in
Surfside, Florida, the United States.

In 1998, the Supreme Court Justice William J. Brennan died in Washington, DC.


On this day

In 1877, striking railroad workers rioted in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The riot occurred early on during the Great Railroad Strike of 1877, a protracted strike wave that began on July 14, 1877 at Martinsburg, West Virginia in response to a Baltimore and Ohio Railroad wage cut. The strike eventually spread westward while the strikers often confronted armed vigilantes, local police, state militia and federal troops in addition to the legal and political opposition of the federal and local governments directly touched by the strikers.

In 1899, the novelist Ernest Hemingway was born in Oak Park, Illinois.

In 1925, a jury in Dayton, Tennessee found John T. Scopes, a biology teacher, guilty of the crime of teaching evolutionary biology to his students. The presiding judge fined Scopes $100 for his crime. The trial was famous at the time and remains so today. The trial is often called the Scopes Monkey Trial and stands as a significant cultural and political defeat for America's Christian fundamentalists.

In 1949, the United States Senate ratified the North Atlantic Treaty, a pact that would soon bring the NATO (the North Atlantic Treaty Organization) into being.

In 1954, the Geneva Conference (1954) partitioned Vietnam into two separate states, a cleavage which set the stage for the catastrophic Vietnam War of the 1960s and 1970s.

In 1972, the Provisional Irish Republican Army executed the Bloody Friday bombing action in Belfast, killing nine and injuring 103.


On this day

In 1536, the philosopher and Catholic theologian Erasmus (Desiderius Erasmus Roterodamus) died in Basel, Switzerland.

In 1804, Alexander Hamilton died from the wounds he suffered during his famous duel of honor with Aaron Burr, which had occurred the previous day.

In 1812, the United States invaded Windsor, Ontario, Canada during the War of 1812.

In 1817, the transcendentalist philosopher Henry David Thoreau was born in Concord, Massachusetts. Thoreau is remembered best for his book Walden; Or, Life in the Woods and, of course, for his experiment in simple living the book documented.

In 1917, local officials, officials of the Phelps Dodge Corporation and of the International Union of Mine, Mill, and Smelter Workers collaborated to expel striking mine workers living in the town of Brisbee, Arizona. The Industrial Workers of the World organized the striking miners. The strikers were mostly Mexican and were sent to Hermanas, New Mexico in what is known today as the Brisbee Deportation.

In 1935, the French artillery officer Alfred Dreyfus died in Paris, France. Dreyfus gained his notoriety from being the object of a false prosecution during the famous political scandal, the Dreyfus Affair. It was an important feature of this scandal that Dreyfus was a Jew.

In 1967, the Newark Riots began in Newark, New Jersey.


On this day

In 1789, King Louis XVI removed from office his finance minister, Jacques Necker, a reformist politician of the Ancien Régime. Necker's dismissal ignited the storming of the Bastille.

In 1804, Aaron Burr, the sitting Vice President of the United States, mortally wounded Alexander Hamilton during their famous duel of honor.

In 1888, the German Catholic jurist and philosopher Carl Schmitt was born in Plettenberg, Westphalia, Germany. A brilliant authoritarian as well as an anti-modern reactionary by temperament, Schmitt quickly abandoned the Weimar Republic and modern constitutionalism in general when he chose to support the Nazis when they came to power. Because of this, he is remembered as the "Kronjurist des Dritten Reiches" ("Crown jurist of the Third Reich") and as the author of numerous astute but flawed critiques of modern political theory and practice, a tainted legacy equaled only by his contemporary, the philosopher Martin Heidegger.

In 1937, the composer George Gershwin died in Hollywood, California. Gershwin died from a brain tumor; he was thirty-eight years old at the time of his death.

In 1940, Marshal Henri Philippe Pétain became head of state of the collaborationist and authoritarian Vichy government in France.

In 1947, the SS Exodus began its journey from France to Mandate Palestine. The ship carried Jewish Holocaust survivors and other Jewish refugees.

In 1960, Benin, Burkina Faso and Niger gained their independence.

In 1971, the government of Chile, led by the socialist Salvador Allende, nationalized its copper mines.

In 1977, President Jimmy Carter posthumously awarded Martin Luther King the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

In 1989, the actor and director Lawrence Olivier died in Steyning, West Sussex, England.

In 1995, the United States and Vietnam established full diplomatic relations.


On this day

In 1509, the religious reformer John Calvin was born in Noyon, Picardy, France.

In 1645, Royalists and Parliamentarians clashed at Langport, England. The battle produced a major Parliamentarian victory in the English Civil War.

In 1723, the English jurist and historian William Blackstone was born in London, England.

In 1806, the Mutiny of Vellore, the first Sepoy Mutiny in South India.

In 1821, the United States took possession of the Florida territory it had purchased from Spain.

In 1832, President Andrew Jackson refused to re-charter the Second Bank of the United States.

In 1871, the novelist Marcel Proust was born Auteuil, France.

In 1921, rioting and gun battles destroyed lives and property in Belfast, Ireland in what became known as Belfast's Bloody Sunday.

In 1925, the Scopes "Monkey" Trial began in Dayton, Tennessee.

In 1940, the Vichy Government was established in France.

In 1941, the Creole jazz pianist and composer Jelly Roll Morton died in Los Angeles, California.

In 1966, the Chicago Freedom Movement held a rally at Soldiers Field in Chicago, Illinois.

In 1973, Pakistan's National Assembly resolved to recognize Bangladesh as an independent state.

In 1978, the philanthropist John D. Rockefeller III died from an automobile accident in Mount Pleasant, New York.

In 1985, the French DSGE
bombed and sank Greenpeace's Rainbow Warrior in Auckland, New Zealand, murdering one activist during the event.

In 1991, Boris Yeltsin began his five-year term as Russia's first elected president.


On this day

In 1789, the National Assembly of the French Revolution, the Estates-General of 1789's successor, gave way to the National Constituent Assembly of 1789.

In 1797, the Irish philosopher Edmund Burke died in Beaconsfield, England. Burke is known best for his conservatism and his Reflections on the Revolution in France.

In 1868, the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution was ratified. A Reconstruction Amendment, the Fourteenth Amendment weakened the rights given to the sates by the Constitution of 1787.

In 1938, the jurist and Supreme Court Justice Benjamin Cardozo died in Port Chester, New York.

In 1955, the philosopher Bertrand Russell released the Russell-Einstein Manifesto, a document intended to call attention to the inherent dangers of nuclear weapons.

In 1974, the jurist and Chief Justice of the Supreme Court Earl Warren died in Washington, DC.


On this day

In 1497, the Portuguese explorer Vasco de Gama embarked from Lisbon on his first direct voyage to India.

In 1775, the Second Continental Congress which met in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania signed the Olive Branch Petition. The Petition was an attempt made by some of Britain's American Colonies to avoid a total break the mother-country and thus a revolutionary war. It was co-authored by John Dickerson and Thomas Jefferson with Dickerson being the primary author. Britain's King George III rejected the petition, thus preparing the Colonies for the escalation of the War and the Revolution effected by the War.

In 1776, the United States Declaration of Independence was proclaimed in public by John Nixon in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

In 1822, the English romantic poet Percy Bysshe Shelly died at sea near Viareggio, Grand Duchy of Tuscany.

In 1839, the industrialist, co-founder of Standard Oil and philanthropist John D. Rockefeller was born in Richford, New York.

In 1853, Commodore Matthew Perry of the United States Navy sailed into Tokyo Bay. Perry would eventually force a reluctant Japan to open itself to relations with the United States.

In 1857, the psychologist Alfred Binet was born in Nice, France. Binet invented the first practical intelligence (IQ) test.

In 1885, the German-Jewish philosopher Ernst Bloch was born in Ludwigshafen, Germany. Bloch's interpretations of Marx and Hegel were of such a kind that they produced a body of work which eventually influenced theologians, philosophers and political activists in the New Left and elsewhere. His most notable book: Das Prinzip Hoffnung (The Principle of Hope).

In 1908, the businessman, art collector, philanthropist and politician Nelson A. Rockefeller, grandson of John D. Rockefeller, was born in Bar Harbor, Maine.

In 1962, the philosopher and archivist Georges Bataille died in Paris.


One man’s experience with big Oil

A guest article

I asked and received permission to reproduce a discussion group post written by Wayne Marshall. (The original post can be found in a political debate that took place on a baseball website!) I asked because of Mr. Marshall's past experience as an activist who worked hard to defend his home environment in Alaska against the depredations of big oil and, more importantly, because of the intelligence and spirit expressed by his writing. I believe both testify to the pluck needed by those who wish to contest the power belonging to these mammoth corporations and to the governmental bodies which so often remorselessly serve these corporate interests.

Steve Zielinski

* * * * *

Is it not apparent by now that there has been little government oversight and regulation, and that this is what numerous presidents and congresses have expected or assented to by their actions and inactions. Those who have cried out for better standards — such as double hulled tankers — were ridiculed as causing too much cost. I find it sad that the State of Florida successfully lobbied for years to prevent any oil lease sales in federal waters near their shores, but now they are suffering from BP's failures in the Gulf.

My current position has not involved working with oil and gas industry issues, but I was heavily involved in the past.

In the later part of the 70's I worked with local communities on Kodiak Island, Alaska who expressed their opposition to OCS lease sale #46. That sale ultimately was cancelled. While the press release announcing the cancellation spoke to concerns expressed at the public hearing, most understood the main reason it was cancelled was because the oil industry was not prepared to pay any real dollars for the lease rights. This was sadly confirmed a year or so later when the Federal Government went forward with OCS lease sale #60 in the Shelikoff Straits; an oil and gas lease sale on the westerly side of the Island that locals protested with equal or greater vigor.

My work with oil industry issues continued off and on throughout the 80's and came to a close when I left Alaska in 1989; just 6 months after the Exxon Valdez tanker disaster. The community I worked with was located over 1,000 miles from the main site of the spill, but I was involved with preliminary preparations in case the oil reached our shores. I offer a few notes from my experience:

The industry always touted the quality of their technology, their ability to respond to a problem, and their track record in not experiencing a major spill. Unfortunately, as proved to be the case with the Exxon Valdez and now the Horizon, the track record of avoiding major disasters means nothing once the disaster occurs. The industry can tout a record of not having any tanker spills of greater than 500,000 gallons in a year, but if the net result is to have a tanker disaster of about 10,000,000 gallons every 20 years, the yearly avoidance record means little. Similarly, if the record is not having any deep water wells blow out and cause spills (spill — what a cute word for the amount of doom that has befallen the Gulf, like I accidently spilled a glass of milk) of less than 100,000 gallons in any particular year, that record means nothing if the net result is to have a disaster every 30 years or so that fouls the Gulf with more than 100,000,000 million gallons of oil. In short, the industry speaks to their record of avoiding problems, but once a major problem occurs, the industry is ill prepared to respond.

The oil industry will always find a way to go get the oil and they are willing to spend the needed money — man made gravel islands in the ice pack, the trans-Alaska pipeline, and the Deepwater Horizon as examples — but they commit few resources to effective clean-up technology. It is sad that one of the most effective clean-up methods is the equivalent of someone dropping a cloth in the ocean to collect oil, then wringing it out and repeating the action again and again. Skimmers are not that effective overall and are virtually useless in 6 foot waves, but the oil industry has always touted skimmers as an effective clean-up tool, which I guess means that the ocean is always to remain calm and compliant when a spill occurs.

The industry is a goliath. In the end, the industry always wins what they need. More areas open to leasing. More opportunities to explore and develop, even if they lack the technology to address problems that may occur. More opportunities to do business by handcuffing and co-opting the very organizations that are intended to provide oversight. After what you have seen in the Gulf — do you really believe that the oil industry has the ability to manage a spill beneath the ice pack (what is left of it) off the shores of northern Alaska? But, you and I both know that drilling will continue, and may even do so without any major disasters for years, until….

In the end, I believe the moratorium will lead to little change, that drilling will continue with little oversight, and that the story of the Gulf will begin to abate a short month or two after the well is eventually (hopefully) capped in mid-August. We will have learned a little, but not a lot, and our desire to cause real change in regulation of the oil industry will begin to abate. Unfortunately, in the Gulf, as occurred in Alaska, problems caused by this spill will continue for years and likely decades.

I believe that the Obama administration's performance in response to this spill leaves much to be desired. The best thing that has been accomplished is to establish a claim fund. The fish likely are gone for a long time, but at least fisherman may receive some financial compensation for their tragic loss. From where I sit, Obama, Bush (Jr.), Clinton, Bush (Sr.) and Reagan all bowed to the industry's interests and none have required sufficient regulation and oversight.

Wayne Marshall

Terrorism in Michigan

Michigan.com reports that:

Nearly 20 black families in one Eastpointe neighborhood received viscous, threatening letters Tuesday telling them they need to "move across 8 Mile."

"We tired of u n------ keep movin in are neighborhood!!" read the letter. "you need to move across 8 mile. we just need to start killing you n------ one by one!"

There also have been terrorist incidents related to the most recent one, and these included cross burnings and hate messages delivered to black residents.

Badenov in Washington

On this day

In 1846, troops of the United States began their occupation of Monterey and Yerba Buena; these occupations marked the beginning of the conquest of California, a campaign of the Mexican-American War.

In 1860, the composer and conductor Gustav Mahler was born in Kaliště, Čechy or Bohemia.

In 1863, the United States instituted its first military draft.

In 1887, the celebrated Russian-French-Jewish painter Marc Chagall was born in Vitebsk, Belarus.

In 1892, militants in the Philippines formed the Revolutionary Philippine Brotherhood in order to resist Spain's Asian Empire.

In 1898, President William McKinley signed the Newlands Resolution. The Resolution formally annexed Hawaii, making the island chain a territory of the United States.

In 1930, the jazz saxophonist and composer Hank Mobley was born in Eastman, Georgia. Mobley mostly played in the hard-bop style that was current during his mature years.

In 1932, the jazz pianist and composer Joe Zawinul was born in Landstraße, Vienna, Austria. Although Zawinul played in many styles belonging to his genre, he is mostly remembered today for his work with the jazz-fusion band Weather Report, which he co-founded with the saxophonist and composer Wayne Shorter.

In 1940, the drummer, composer and actor Ringo Starr was born in Liverpool, England.

In 1953, the Argentinean revolutionary Ernesto "Che" Guevara embarked on his third Latin American tour.

In 1973, the German philosopher, social critic and political refugee Max Horkheimer died in Nuremberg, West Germany. He published his most important work, Dialektik der Aufklärung (The Dialectic of Enlightenment), with Theodor Adorno while both were living in exile in the United States.

In 1980, the Islamic Republic of Iran instituted Sharia.


On this day

In 1483, Richard III was crowned King of England. Shakespeare immortalized Richard's brief reign in his historical play Richard III. Richard died in the Battle of Bosworth Field, the decisive and penultimate battle of the War of the Roses. He remains to this day the last English King to die on the battlefield.

In 1785, the United States adopted the dollar as its official monetary unit.

In 1835, John Marshall, the fourth Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, died in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

In 1854, the Republican Party of the United States held its first convention in Jackson, Michigan. The event signaled the demise of the Second Party System in the United States.

In 1855, the chemist and microbiologist Louis Pasteur successfully tested his rabies vaccine.

In 1887, the Monarch of the Kingdom of Hawaii, David Kalākaua, signed the so-called Bayonet Constitution. The Constitution acquired its peculiar name because King Kalākaua signed the document under duress. The Constitution as imposed rendered the King a figurehead and disenfranchised much of the native population and all of the non-European and -American foreign born. Hawaii, because of this imposed Constitution, became a colony dominated by the United States and Great Britain.

In 1892, strikers in Homestead, Pennsylvania battled agents of the Pinkerton National Detective Agency on the banks of the Monongahela River near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The skirmish left 10 strikers dead and many more wounded.

In 1946, George W. Bush, the 43rd President of the United States, was born in New Haven, Connecticut.

In 1947, the first of the soon to be ubiquitous AK-47 assault rifles goes into production in the Soviet Union.

In 1959, the German painter, social critic of the Weimar Republic and revolutionary socialist George Grosz died in Berlin, West Germany.

In 1961, the jazz bassist Scott LaFaro died in an automobile accident in Flint, New York. LaFaro is best known for his work with the pianist Bill Evans.

In 1962, the novelist and Nobel Laureate William Faulkner died in Byhailia, Mississippi.

In 1967, Nigerian forces entered Biafra, thus initiating the Biafran or Nigerian-Biafran Civil War.

In 1971, the jazz trumpeter and singer Louis "Satchmo" Armstrong died in Corona, Queens, New York City.

In 1976, Zhu De, a Chinese Communist leader and the founder of the Chinese Red Army, died in Beijing, the People's Republic of China.

In 1989, the Hungarian communist leader János Kádár died in Budapest, Hungary.

In 2009, the one-time American Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara died in Washington, DC.


On this day

In 1687, Isaac Newton published the first edition of his seminal work, Philosophiæ Naturalis Principia Mathematica (Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy).

In 1811, Venezuela declared its independence from Spain.

In 1830, France invaded Algeria.

In 1910, the sociologist Robert K. Merton was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

In 1934, during the 1934 West Coast Longshoreman's Strike, the San Francisco police, in an attempt to suppress labor action, opened fire on the strikers in what became known as Bloody Thursday. This led to a call for a local general strike by the San Francisco Labor Council and its member unions. San Francisco's Mayor responded by declaring a state of emergency. The strike concluded with the Labor Council choosing to go to arbitration on all disputed issues. The striking seamen chose to continue their strike, and their decision prompted government authorities to red-bait the strikers and their sympathizers, collude with vigilantes and agents of the employers and suppress the strike with violence.

In 1935, President Franklin Roosevelt signed into law the National Labor Relations Act.

In 1943, the guitarist and songwriter Robbie Robertson was born in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Robertson made his mark as the chief songwriter for the musical group The Band.

In 1950, Israel's Knesset passed the famous Law of Return. The law gave Jews and their non-Jewish spouses the right to immigrate into Israel and apply for citizenship.

In 1958, the cartoonist Bill Watterson was born in Washington, DC. Watterson gained his fame by writing and drawing the intelligent and influential Calvin and Hobbes comic strip.

In 1962, Algeria gained its independence from France.

In 1969, Walter Gropius, a master architect and founder of the Bauhaus School, died in Boston, Massachusetts.

In 1971, President Richard Nixon formally certified the Twenty-Sixth Amendment which lowered the voting age from 21 to 18.

In 1989, Oliver North was given a three-year suspended prison term, two years probation, $150,000 in fines and 1,200 hours community service for his actions in the Iran-Contra Affair.

In 1991, the political activist and political prisoner Nelson Mandela became the President of the African National Congress. The electors voted unanimously for Mandela.


On this Day

In 1744, the Six Nations (or Iroquois League) signed the Treaty of Lancaster with the British Colonies of Maryland and Virginia. The treaty ceded a part of the Iroquois land claims located west of the Allegheny Mountains to the Colonies.

In 1776, the Continental Congress in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania adopted the United States Declaration of Independence. The Declaration famously asserted:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

The Declaration also included as natural a right to abolish those institutions which impede these ends; such a claim can only entail the assertion as a right of a people to make a revolution against a despotic government.

In 1803, President Thomas Jefferson publicly announced the Louisiana Purchase of territory west of the United States. The land thus acquired from France doubled the then current size of the country; it includes today 23% of the total land mass of the United States. The Louisiana Purchase was, however, controversial at the time. Some Americans, including Jefferson himself, thought the treaty to be unconstitutional and too expensive, that it made Jefferson a hypocrite (he surely would have opposed the venture had it been a Federalist initiative) and that it intensified sectional jealousies in the United States. Yet subsequent history suggests that the Louisiana Purchase also greatly helped in making the United States a global power which would surpass Great Britain, as Napoleon believed it would.

In 1804, the novelist Nathaniel Hawthorn was born in Salem, Massachusetts. Hawthorn is best remembered for his novel The Scarlet Letter.

In 1807, Giuseppe Garibaldi was born in Nizza (Nice) in what then was the Department of Alpes-Maritimes of the First French Empire and what today is in Italy. Garibaldi is considered to be an Italian patriot and national hero.

In 1826, Thomas Jefferson, the Third President of the United States and the principal author of the Declaration of Independence, died. His death occurred 50 years after the Continental Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence.

In 1826, John Adams, the Second President of the United States, died at his home in Quincy, Massachusetts. Like Jefferson, Adams died 50 years after the Continental Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence.

In 1831, James Monroe, the Fifth President of the United States, died while living in New York City. Monroe is best remembered as the promulgator of the Monroe Doctrine, a public declaration which warned the powers of Europe that the United States would consider their efforts to colonize parts of the Americas as acts of aggression. It is one of history's many ironies that the Monroe Doctrine was expressed an anti-imperial sentiment while cloaking an imperial intention. The Doctrine effective claimed the Americas as a whole to be the United States' sphere of influence. The Doctrine thus prefigured the development of the United States as a hemispheric and then a global empire.

In 1845, Henry David Thoreau began his experiment in simple living on Walden Pond, an experiment immortalized in his book, Walden; or, Life in the Woods.

In 1855, the poet Walt Whitman published the first edition of his book of poems, Leaves of Grass.

In 1865, the logician and novelist Lewis Carroll published Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.

In 1881, the Tuskegee Institute opened in Tuskegee, Alabama.

In 1921, the economist, mathematician and Nobel Laureate Gérard Debreu was born in France.

In 1938, Otto Bauer, an Austrian Social Democratic leader and co-creator of Austromarxism, died while living in exile in Paris, France.

In 1938, the singer-songwriter Bill Withers was born in Slab Fork, West Virginia.

In 1946, the Philippines achieved independence, thus ending centuries of overt colonial domination over the islands.

In 1946, the anti-war activist, author and decorated Vietnam veteran Ron Kovic was born in Ladysmith, Wisconsin. Injured in the War, Kovic wrote the famous memoir Born of the Fourth of July about his experiences.

In 1947, the Indian Independence Bill was presented to Britain's House of Commons. The Bill proposed the cleaving of British India into the sovereign states of India and Pakistan, a proposal which came to completion with Indian and Pakistani independence (August 14, 1947) and widespread ethno-religious violence.

In 1976, Israeli commandos conducted the famous raid on Uganda's Entebbe Airport.


Pelosi fucks over the ‘lesser people’

What would a despicable coward do?

Jane Hamsher of Fire Dog Lake tells us what Polosi wanted to do and explains how she did it:

FDL has learned that in a last minute move, Nancy Pelosi sneaked language into the rule that the House is voting on tonight regarding war funding.

Embedded in the rule is the requirement that the House will vote on the deficit commission's recommendations in the lame duck session if they pass the Senate.

The commission, co-chaired by Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson, is packed with members who favor the raising the retirement age to 70, means testing, and private accounts. Many also support investing 20% of the Social Security trust fund in the stock market.

It's ironic that yesterday Pelosi sent out press releases criticizing John Boehner for expressing the very same positions on cutting Social Security benefits that Jim Clyburn, Joe Biden and Steny Hoyer have. She's putting this language into the rule in order to deflect responsibility from herself when it comes to the floor for a vote during a lame duck session, since without her approval that could never happen.

Pelosi knows full well what the committee wants to do. The fix is in.

On this day

In 1646, the philosopher, mathematician, lawyer and diplomat Gottfried Leibniz was born in Leipzig.

In 1863, the three day Battle of Gettysburg began. The battle, which stymied General Robert E. Lee's Gettysburg Campaign, stands as a turning point in the American Civil War.

In 1870, the United States Department of Justice came into being.

In 1892, the Amalgamated Association of Iron and Steel Workers went on strike against the Carnegie Steel Company. The strike occurred in Homestead, Pennsylvania, included gun battles between the strikers and agents of the Pinkerton National Detective Agency and Alexander Berkman's attempted assassination of Henry Clay Frick. The strike ended as a defeat for the strikers and is known today as the Homestead Strike.

In 1896, the abolitionist Harriet Beecher Stowe died.

In 1915, the blues musician Willie Dixon was born in Vicksburg, Mississippi.

In 1916, the Battle of Albert initiated what became known as the First Day on the Somme in the Battle of the Somme. The battle was an offensive conducted by the British and French armies against the German army. The Somme campaign stands today as one of the bloodiest in history.

In 1921, the Communist Party of China formed.

In 1960, Somalia gained its independence and Ghana became a republic headed by Kwame Nkrumah.

In 1962, Rwanda and Burundi gained their independence.

In 1967, the European Community came into existence.

In 1968, the United States implemented its Phoenix Program in the Viet Nam War.

In 1968, sixty-two countries signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

In 1974, the Argentinean politician Juan Perón died.

In 1990, East Germany accepted the Deutsche Mark as its currency, thus uniting the East and West German economies.

In 1991, the Warsaw Pact dissolved.

1997, the People's Republic of China regained sovereignty over Hong Kong.