Veterans Day, 2007

Sunday, November 11, 2007 — On Veterans Day six years ago the remains of the World Trade Center were still smoking, and the war in Afghanistan had just begun. No one, outside the Bush administration, was thinking that much about Iraq. The idea of attacking Iran would have seemed even crazier than it does now. Lower Manhattan is more orderly today. Afghanistan is more of a wreck. Iraq makes Afghanistan look placid. And people who think attacking Iran would be crazy have only to look back a few years to realize that for some people, crazy is no obstacle. On Veterans Day six years ago, …

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Quitting, Croaking, Sinking, and Burning

Saturday, November 10, 2007 — Well, now, we’re got ourselves a brand-new Attorney General. What do you know. Three years to the day since John Ashcroft punched out for the last time. 2004—John Ashcroft, having done enough damage, resigns as Attorney General. His replacement will make him look good. 1982—Leonid Brezhnev, General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party and all-around fun guy, kicks off from a bad ticker. 1975—The Edmund Fitzgerald sinks on Lake Superior, taking with her a crew of 29. 1973—In Drake, North Dakota the school board fires a teacher and burns the book he assigned, Slaughterhouse Five. 1964—In Australia, …

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Strange Justice

Friday, November 9, 2007 — If anyone has Charles Justice’s last words (see 1911), please send them along. 1998—NASDAQ brokerage houses pay bilked customers $1 billion fine for rigging the game. 1989—The Berlin Wall becomes porous. 1979—Due to a computer error, for six minutes the U.S. Air Defense Command mistakenly believes that the U.S.S.R. is attacking the U.S. 1969—78 Indians occupy Alcatraz. 1967—Rolling Stone begins publication. 1966—Due to a failure at a single power plant in Ontario the entire northeast is left in the dark. 1953—Dylan Thomas dies in New York at 39. 1942—The first “Liberty Ship,” the Robert E. Peary, is launched. 1938—German Nazis …

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Philandery, Beer, and Bribes

Thursday, November 8, 2007 — Perhaps the most optimistic thing we can say about this sordid string of items, is that it tends to put today’s horrors in perspective. 1994—Under the leadership of serial philanderer Newt Gingrich, the Republican Party gains control of Congress. 1983—Moscow puts its nuclear forces on high alert and sends flash telegrams to its embassies warning that a nuclear strike on the U.S.S.R. may come at any time. 1974—Richard Bingham, 7th Earl of Lucan, disappears without a trace, leaving a dead nanny behind. 1966—Bonzo the Chimp’s former co-star Ronald Reagan is elected Governor of Calif. 1966—The first black U.S. Senator in …

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War, Lies, and Mayhem

Wednesday, November 7, 2007 — Here we offer further proof — as if any were needed — of Dwight D. Eisenhower’s telling observation, “[t]hings are more like they are now than they ever were before.” 2002—“War is not my first choice,” lies George W. Bush, “it’s my last choice.” 2000—The American people vote for a president. They get George W. Bush, instead. 1972—Richard Nixon kicks George McGovern’s ass. 1962—Richard Nixon, tells the press they won’t have him to kick around any more. (He lies.) 1940—The crew of the San Demetrio reboard their blazing tanker and put out the fire. Nine days later they reach Ireland. …

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Revolting, Exploding, and Mourning

Tuesday, November 6, 2007 — We’ve now established a category for these Page Sixteen posts, and, in the process, re-written their headlines. We do hope that isn’t a violation of netiquette. 1984—It’s mourning in America as Ronald Reagan defeats Walter Mondale. 1977—A dam owned and modified by the Toccoa Falls Bible Institute in Georgia fails, and kills 39 people. 1975—The Sex Pistols perform in public for the first time. 1971—The Atomic Energy Commission explodes a 5-megaton H-bomb—the largest ever exploded in the U.S.—one mile below Amchitka Island in Alaska, about 87 miles from a Soviet naval base in Siberia. 1963—Laura Welch—later Bush—runs a stop sign …

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