1999—The $328 million Climate Orbiter crashes on Mars because Lockheed forgot to use the metric system.
1998—The New York Fed bails out broke hedge fund LTCM, establishing a suicidal precedent.
1990—As Dan Quayle speaks at a $2,500-plate fundraiser in Portland, Ore., the Reverse Peristalsis Painters protest by vomiting red, white, and blue mashed potatoes.
1975—Already fired for spying on citizens, ex-CIA counterintelligence chief James Jesus Angleton testifies, “certain individual rights have to be sacrificed for the national security.”
1960—Alan Ginsberg, Peter Orlovsky, and LeRoi Jones meet in Manhattan with Fidel Castro.
1957—Nine Black students enter Little Rock High School, but are escorted out again by police to pacify a howling mob of white segregationists.
1955—A white male jury which believes they’re guilty finds Emmett Till’s murderers “not guilty.”
1952—R. Nixon uses his daughter’s pet dog to deflect corruption charges.
1945—French soldiers who’d been detained in Saigon by the Japanese are released and armed by British General Douglas Gracey. Terrorizing the Vietnamese, they stage a coup d’état.
1806—Lewis, Clark, and nearly all the rest make it back to St. Louis, Mo.
1779—John Paul Jones takes the British ship Serapis as the Bonhomme Richard sinks under him.