1999—The $328 million Climate Orbiter crashes on Mars because Lockheed forgot to use the metric system.
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.
1989—Army Rangers and a gang of drug dealers shoot it out for about half an hour across Tacoma’s Ash Street; despite 300 rounds fired, no KIAs.
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—Allen 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 and Clark return.
1779—John Paul Jones takes the British ship Serapis as the Bonhomme Richard sinks under him.