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July 5, 2014
July 5th, 2014

Quiz: What does it mean to “cross the Rubicon”…?

Quiz: Okay, 1960’s pop culture fans, who was Pat Paulsen?
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History for 7/5/2014
Birthdays: P.T. Barnum, Beatrix Potter, Mrs. Sarah Siddons, Jean Cocteau, Admiral David Farragut, Len Lye, George Pompidou, Shirley Knight, Huey Lewis is 64, Julie Nixon Eisenhower, Milburn Stone (Doc on Gunsmoke), Warren Oates, Henry Cabot Lodge IV, Eva Green is 34, Edie Falco is 51

1779- TRYON’S NEW HAVEN RAID- During the American Revolution, Royalist Governor Tryon of New York thought a way to bring the American rebels back to their allegiance was to launch a raid across Long Island Sound to rebel strongholds in Connecticut the day after their Independence Day celebrations.

Forty boats of redcoats landed at New Haven and looted, burned and brutalized the inhabitants. After he urged his students to fight back, the elderly Dean of Yale University was beaten to death with rifle butts. Civilian homes were ransacked and several women gang raped in their homes. The redcoats then burned Norwalk and Scranton before returning back across the water to occupied New York. British policy was that the majority of Americans are good subjects but just deluded by bad leaders. Tryon was frustrated with the endless guerilla fighting. So he lashed out with a brutality that accomplished more outrage than good.

1814- Battle of Chippewa- During the War of 1812 an American force turned back a British counteroffensive across the Canadian border.

1820- THE TRIAL OF QUEEN CAROLINE- Forget Charles & Di, this was the greatest marital scandal ever to hit the British Monarchy. George the Prince Regent had been estranged from his wife Caroline since 1796 and she had been living a wild life in Italy while George chased skirts at court. When his elderly mad father George III finally died and 'Princee' became King George IV, nobody expected Caroline to suddenly show up in England and still want to be Queen.

On this day George forced a bill into the House of Lords to grant him a divorce so he could be free to marry his mistress Lady Cunningham nicknamed 'the Vice-Queen'. The evidence in the trial were juicy anecdotes of the Queen's own sexual shenanigans with a number of Italians. The whole sordid affair was terribly embarrassing and split the nation into factions. Some loyal to the King, others the Queen's defender's of Women's Rights and the Family. The King's public appearances were greeted with cries of 'Nero!" the Duke of Wellington was hissed and had rocks thrown at him and Prime Minister Lord Liverpool was so upset he could not address Parliament without a dose of ether first.

Eventually the divorce bill was dropped and the King crowned with the Queen shut out of the cathedral. A popular doggerel in Punch made a joke of Christ's advice to the Adulteress-
" Most Gracious Queen we thee implore, to Go Away and Sin No More...
But if that effort Be too Great, Just Go Away at Any Rate.."

1830- The last Bey of Algiers was driven into exile by the invading French Army. This was the end of the Barbary Corsairs, active since 1517. Algeria would be a French colony until 1962. Part of the invading force was a new unit made up of Paris street riff-raff and foreign exiles called the French Foreign Legion.

1839- THE FLORA HASTINGS AFFAIR- The first great scandal of Queen Victoria's reign. After the sexual escapades of her predecessors the new 20 year old queen dwelt in a closed moral atmosphere. One day she noticed one of her ladies-in-waiting, a Lady Flora Hastings, had an enlarged belly, like she was pregnant. The idea that this unmarried grande dame may have been pregnant was made worse by the idea that the father may have been the detested lover of Victoria's mother, Sir John Conroy.

The tittering eventually accelerated into a full-fledged political scandal involving the Prime Minister and the entire government. The slandered Lady Hastings had to submit to a humiliating doctor's examination to prove she was still a virgin and even that didn't silence the gossip. Finally it came out that her belly swelling was caused by a large tumor on her liver, and had she paid more strict attention to it instead of the gossip she might have lived. This day she died and everyone blamed the young queen of persecuting and slandering Lady Hastings. Victoria was hissed in the streets for the remainder of the year.

1865- In London, William Booth formed the Salvation Army.

1865- After two days of torrential rain at Gettysburg, Robert E. Lee began withdrawing his broken Confederate army south to Virginia. He had enough ammunition for one more day's battle, and he was hoping the Yankees would destroy themselves assaulting his strong defensive works. But the Yankees, much to Lincoln's annoyance, remained quiet in camp. This is the reason you don’t hear of the name of the winning Yankee General, George Meade, as much as you heard of Grant and Sherman.

1892- THE HOMESTEAD MASSACRE- Jacob Frick, the partner of steel magnate Andrew Carnegie, decided to solve the problem of uppity unions by surrounding his Homestead plant with barbed wire and guns then announcing to the astonished employees that they were getting a 20% pay cut. 3,000 workers fought with police and non-union replacements, 7 killed, the union leaders arrested for incitement to riot.

1910- Writer O. Henry died of cirrhosis and tuberculosis at 47. His last words were "Turn up the lights, I don't want to go home in the dark." He became a writer while serving a jail term for embezzlement.

1933-The Germans began building the Autobahn, a system of highways that became the envy of the world. The Bauhaus designers of the autobahn invented the ideas we take for granted today- the Cloverleaf Exit, Blending Lanes and the central meridian.

1934- THE SAN FRANCISCO GENERAL STRIKE- A longshoreman strike had brought harbor traffic along the West Coast to a standstill. California Governor Frank Merriam decided to send in the National Guard. When the longshoremen picketline was rushed by armored trucks full of scab replacements, they rioted and the troops opened fire. Hundreds were hurt and two killed. Blood flowed on the Embarcadero. One policeman who killed a demonstrator later said: "The man was a Communist so my only regret was that I did not kill more !" Flowers, candles and memorials to the slain men were kicked over by the S.F. police.

As a spontaneous unorganized reaction to the violence 100,000 San Franciscans refused to go to work for 4 days. The third largest city in the U.S. was completely paralyzed. Governor Merriam declared martial law but the tanks in the street were helpless. To a nation struggling in the Depression there was widespread fear that this incident was the beginning of a Soviet style revolution. The Russian Revolution had started with general strikes. Then, on the 5th day San Franciscans all went back to work.

1935- The Wagner Act passed congress, decreeing all American workers have the right to collective bargaining and to form unions.

1943- Betty Grable married bandleader Harry James.

1945- The First British General Election held in ten years. Winston Churchill and his Tories were turned out for Labor candidate Clement Atlee. When his aides accused the British voters of ingratitude, Churchill said they had been through a lot and wanted to move on. But Churchill called Clement Atlee "a Sheep in Sheep’s clothing."

1945- OPERATIONS OVERCAST and PAPERCLIP- The U.S. Army intelligence arranged for top Nazi rocket Scientists to be brought to the U.S. for our future space program. Pres. Truman had passed a law forbidding visas for anyone with a Nazi past. But the War Dept Joint Intelligence Objectives Agency chief Bosquet Wev declared:" We’re not going to beat a dead Nazi Horse!" Experts doctored the dossiers on these scientists and changed descriptions like: "Fanatical Unrepentant Nazi" to "Politically Neutral".

Head of the unit Dr. Werner Von Braun was the inventor of the clustered liquid fuel engine rockets which Hitler had named the Vengence-2 and fired at London. Dr. Arthur Rudolphe the designer of the Saturn-5 moon rocket was deported in 1984 when a British documentary exposed his running a slave labor camp in 1943. Dr. Herman Becker-Freysing, the man who built John Glenn's space suit, got his knowledge about the effects of atmospheric pressure and oxygen loss on humans from experiments he did on the inmates of Dachau.

1952- London Transport scrapped the last of their electric streetcars in favor of diesel polluting double-decker buses.

1954- Elvis Presley recorded "That’s All Right" at Sun Records in Memphis. Some call it the first true Rock & Roll song, but that is disputed by Bill Haley’s Rock Around the Clock, Ike Turners Delta 88 and many other R&B hits. “That’s All Right” was written by black bluesman Arthur Big-Boy Crudup, who never profited from the song’s success and died living in a shack.

1954- Tomoyuki Tanaka announced the beginning of production on the movie Godzilla.

1963- The Vatican finally says it’s okay for Catholics to be cremated, since the world is running out of land to make into cemeteries.

1968- In Vietnam, after months of brutal fighting in a battle the mainstream media equated with Iwo Jima and Gettysburg, the US Marines were ordered to abandon their firebase at Que Sanh. Many Marines were enraged that they had to give up a place they had lost so many brothers over. But the Pentagon felt it was too vulnerable to enemy artillery. In Marine annals Que Sanh is still counted as a victory. Any blame for the withdrawal put on General Westmoreland, who had just been replaced as overall commander in Vietnam. This frustrating misuse of soldier’s sacrifice typified the Vietnam experience.

1975-Tennis player Arthur Ashe becomes the first African-American to win Wimbledon.

1975- Independence of the Cape Verde Islands.

1989- White House aide Lt. Colonel Oliver North sentenced for his role in the Iran Contra Scandal. North spent his last evenings before testifying shredding incriminating documents. Colonel North appeared in court in his Marine uniform while being interrogated by Hawaii Senator Dan Inouye, a real combat war hero who lost an arm fighting in World War II. Pundits enjoyed the irony of one who could say "I bled for my Country," while the other "I Shred for My Country!" His conviction was later overturned by a conservative judge on a technicality. Oliver North is today a conservative talk show host.

2002- International Professional Women’s Tennis had become dominated by two amazing American sisters, Venus and Serena Williams. This day Serena defeated Venus to win Wimbledon. Of 11 Wimbeldon Women’s singles between 1999 and 2010, the Williams sisters won 9 of them.
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Quiz: Okay, 1960’s pop culture fans, who was Pat Paulsen?

Answer: Pat Paulson was a comedian who was famous for his bumbling yet deadpan delivery. On the infamous Smother’s Brothers Comedy Hour, he was doing deadpan editorials on political issues which developed into a bit where he ran for President. It took off (today, we’d say it "went viral”). He ran every presidential year from the late '60’s through the mid ’90’s. Got some votes, too.


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