2004—The GOP tries to ban gay marriage but can’t rise to the occasion.
2003—Robert Novak outs CIA officer Valerie Plame in his column.
2000—A Florida jury orders five tobacco companies to pay $145 billion in damages. An appeals court later lets them off the hook.
1989—Alabama tries twice, 19 minutes apart, to electrocute Horace F. Dunkins, who’s black and developmentally-disabled. The first try fails because the chair is wired wrong.
1981—New Hampshire businessman Max Hugel’s stint as Deputy Director of Operations at the CIA ends after 64 days due to revelations of unseemly stock market shenanigans.
1976—In Traves, France, unknown persons celebrate Bastille Day by burning war criminal Joachim Peiper’s house—with him in it.
1970—R. Nixon approves the Huston plan to burgle and surveil Americans. It’s so bad J. Edgar Hoover nixes it.
1948—Southerners walk out of the Democratic convention to form the pro-segregation States’ Rights Party.
1921—Massachusetts’ show trial of Nicolo Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti ends with a guilty verdict.
1798—The Sedition Act passes, making it a crime to criticize the government—especially President Adams.
1791—In Lausanne, Vevey, and Rolle, Switzerland, citizens celebrate the liberation of the Bastille, shouting “Live free or die.”