Tuesday, February 28, 2017

History: The Year is 1960

I've uploaded year 1960 to the TSP Wiki...

http://tspwiki.com/index.php?title=1960

As always, Alex Shrugged's opinions are his own. Other people's work are their own. I include them here for the sake of completeness and to provide a second method of access to the material for the TSP history segment.


* The "Angel of Death" is Born -- Contributed by Alex Shrugged

* Coming to America... Broke but not Broken -- Contributed by Alex Shrugged

* The Second Civil Rights Act and the Trap for Minorities -- Contributed by  Alex Shrugged

* Notable Births -- See below.

* This Year in Film -- See below.

* This Year in Music -- See below.

* In Other News -- See below.






============================

The "Angel of Death" is Born

Contributed by Alex Shrugged
Charles Cullen is born this year. He will become the most prolific serial killer in history topping out at an estimated 400 dead. The Navy will discharge him in 1984 after several suicide attempts. His first remembered murder will be committed on June 11, 1988 at St. Barnabas Medical Center when he administers an overdose to Judge John W. Yengo who had an allergic reaction to medication. He will continue murdering patients at that hospital for another 4 years, some directly and some by contaminating intravenous bags with insulin. When the hospital starts an investigation, he leaves, and continues his killing spree at other hospitals. After 20 years, he will be discovered, arrested and plead guilty. But for now, he is just a baby, the youngest of eight children and the son of a bus driver living in New Jersey. [1] [2]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
In the news coverage, Cullen was portrayed as "The Angel of Death", as if he was God's agent ending the suffering of the terminally ill, but most of his victims were not terminally ill. Many of his murders seemed purely random. Cullen was mentally ill, but that does not mean he was mentally incompetent. He appeared reasonably normal. What is astonishing is the lack of monitoring by the medical staff. This case led to tightening up of the monitoring of the day-to-day work at hospitals... more than simply checking for narcotics abuse and theft. The horses may have left the barn, but there will be other horses. Cullen was sentenced to over 100 years in prison, and as of this writing, he is still there.

Coming to America... Broke but not Broken

Contributed by Alex Shrugged
"¿Cu├íntas agujas vamos a meter en Fidel, m'ija?" (How many needles will we put in Fidel, my daughter?)
"Vamos a meter una, dos, tres..." (Let's put one, two, three...)
-- Nursery rhyme taught to Cuban exile, Gigi Anders, by her mother. [3]
Fidel Castro's Cuban Revolution is over, so it is out with the OLD, corrupt regime and in with the NEW, corrupt regime. Men with guns break into the homes of Cubans taking inventory, or just taking. The Castro regime nationalizes, over 25 billion dollars in private property including Pepsi Cola, Coca Cola, International Telephone & Telegraph, Bacardi, Colgate-Palmolive and household silverware. He targets American holdings, so President Eisenhower expands the Cuban financial embargo to prohibit exports to Cuba except medicine and food. The small business owners are now jobless with their finances frozen. Many will make their way to the United States. Little Gigi peddles her tricycle along the tarmac with her mother and father in tow. A Cuban guerrilla forbids her to take her tricycle on the plane. She screams, "NO! IT'S MINE!" The guard relents, but beyond the clothes on her back, Gigi doesn't own much else. Luckily, her parents have skills, an education, and a will to survive. They'll make it, but woe to those they have left behind. [4]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
The best of Cuba got out while the getting was good, and that was generally to the benefit of those countries that took them in. Gigi Anders became a journalist and author. Presidential candidates Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio are children of Cuban exiles. And since we are talking about Cuba, 1960 was also the year that Che Guevara had that iconic photo taken of him. It has been used for years on posters and T-shirts making money for greedy capitalists. I find that ironic, but if one of my kids ever came home wearing one of those shirts, I'd boot them right in the backside. [5] [6]

The Second Civil Rights Act and the Trap for Minorities

Contributed by Alex Shrugged
President Eisenhower (R) has signed into law the second of his Civil Rights Acts. The Republican Party certainly has feet of clay, but the Democrat Party is the mud-slinging home of the die-hard racists. This is especially true of the South, but the North is not immune. It is simply different. LBJ is Senate Majority Leader and he has been delaying, obstructing and otherwise trying to torpedo the bill, but it gets by him and his fellow Democrats. This law is not the all-encompassing, fix-it-all solution that the Democrat leadership will propose after John F. Kennedy takes office. The politics of race has delayed implementation of Civil Rights, but make no mistake, it is Republicans standing four-square for civil rights. There are a few Democrats who genuinely care, but they are thin on the ground. This new law will prohibit consideration of race and color during the voting process. It does not consider place of natural origin. It also sets fines for poll workers who alter the voting records or lose them, and empowers a commission with oversight responsibilities. The commission has a time limit placed on it, and no quotas. That would be crazy. Right? [7]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
During the 1950's the lot of black people had been improving steadily. By that I mean the number of black people with doctorates was increasing, and black people in business. Black people in politics was less encouraging at the time, but overall the trend was up. A few tweaks in the law here and there were in order, but after the sweeping Civil Rights Acts under John F. Kennedy, the upward trend suddenly flattened out. Whatever the original intent of the Civil Rights Acts, the result was to burden minorities. Within a few years, racial quotas became proof of discrimination. Businesses hired minorities to satisfy some metric that kept the business safe from lawsuit. My sister is a good woman with a good mind, but when I looked at her speech as high school valedictorian, I told her it was illiterate. She cried and stubbornly believed the race mongers. The college accepted her application under a special program for minorities, but they eventually expected her to do real work. It was a rude awakening, so she dropped out. She returned years later to become a registered nurse, after repairing the damage done by people who were trying to make their metrics look better. My son won a college scholarship for racial minorities. I asked him firmly if he could do the work. He said he could and he did. He is now a Phd working for the Navy, and earning his pay. [8]

Notable Births

  • Tim Cook: CEO of Apple Inc. [9]
  • Erin Brockovich: Law clerk and who successfully sued Pacific Gas and Electric for contaminating the drinking water. [9]
  • Jeffrey Dahmer (died 1994, age 34): Raped, murdered, dismembered, AND ATE 17 men and boys. [9]
  • Dan F.: Father of Southpaw Ben, born in Delaware, and currently works for DuPont.
  • And in Entertainment...
  • -- Amy Grant: Christian Pop singer. [9]
  • -- Bono: Lead singer of U2 and lends his voice to various causes. (I'm not sure how effective he is.--alexshugged) [9]
  • -- Sean Penn: Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Mystic River, and political activist. [9]
  • -- Jean-Claude Van Damme: Universal Soldier, Timecop, and Kickboxer. [9]

This Year in Film

  • Spartacus: The film was protested due to it's blacklisted author until JFK crossed the picket line to watch the film. [10] [11]
  • Psycho: At the time considered one of Hitchcock's lesser films, it is now one of his best. [10]
  • The Time Machine: Starring Rod Taylor, and Yvette Mimieux in the H.G. Wells' look into the far future. [10]

This Year in Music

  • Elvis is back from the Army with: It's Now or Never, and Are You Lonesome Tonight? [12]
  • The Twist: Chubby Checker has dancers jumping and twisting. [12]
  • Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polkadot Bikini: Brian Hyland. (Here come the Beach movies!--alexshugged) [13]

In Other News

  • The 1st LASER is built: Without this development your DVD drive would not work. [14] [15]
  • The book ban of Lady Chatterley's Lover in the UK is lifted: Penguin Books wins the lawsuit. [14] [16]
  • The 1st weather satellite, and NAVSAT system are launched into orbit: NAVSAT is an early version of GPS. [14] [17] [18]

This Year in Wikipedia

Year 1960, Wikipedia.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

History: The Year is 1959

I've uploaded year 1959 to the TSP Wiki...

http://tspwiki.com/index.php?title=1959

As always, Alex Shrugged's opinions are his own. Other people's work are their own. I include them here for the sake of completeness and to provide a second method of access to the material for the TSP history segment.


* The Year that Changed Everything -- Contributed by Alex Shrugged

* Khrushchev Comes a Callin' -- Contributed by Alex Shrugged

* Spying for "Science" -- Contributed by Southpaw Ben

* Notable Births -- See below.

* This Year in Film -- See below.

* This Year in Music -- See below.

* In Other News -- See below.




================================

The Year that Changed Everything

Contributed by Alex Shrugged (at the suggestion of a TSP listener)
"1959 was the year when the shockwaves of the new ripped the seams of daily life, when humanity stepped into the cosmos and also commandeered the conception of human life, [...] when the world as we now know it began to take form."
-- Frank Kaplan, from his book "1959: The Year that Changed Everything" [1]
He makes it sound like that's a good thing, and perhaps it is... in some ways. It's like the first cave man being gifted with fire. The potential for good is enormous, but there is potential for destruction as well. At the beginning of this century, the disillusioned generation of World War 1, gave way to the Greatest Generation of World War 2, and now we have the Beat Generation. Economic prosperity has come. The Boeing 707 flies non-stop from New York to Paris after the First Lady breaks a bottle on its nose. The GI Bill allows millions of veterans access to a good education, and a lower interest rate on a home loan. (At this time, GI loans are transferable which incentivizes a private buyer to take over the loan without refinancing, and bail out a GI who is behind on his payments THOUGH THE PRIVATE SECTOR!) Nuclear power provides electricity. Civil Rights for black people is finally taking hold. (It's not much, but it's moving along.) It's a Space Race to the Moon. "Countdown", "A-OK" and "blast off" are part of the common speech. This is the generation that is talking about sex as if they invented it. (Nope, but nylons, Barbie and bikinis are new. Free love is not new. Not even close.) The feminist movement is well under way, and women's independence is made possible (or at least made practical) with the birth control pill. Condoms have been around forever, but their use is controlled by the man. Now a woman can control her biological destiny quietly, personally and without confrontation. Women have a new superpower, and it will change more things in our world than you can imagine... or maybe you can imagine it. [2]

Khrushchev Comes a Callin'

Contributed by Alex Shrugged
People are fleeing the German worker's paradise (otherwise known as the GDR or East Germany) to the West. After World War 2, Germany was divided into East and West, but that left Berlin in the East under Soviet domination... uh... I mean under the people's protection, so Berlin was split separately. Now West Berlin remains an oasis of freedom, compared to the East. It's like holding a prayer vigil for self-denial while the church next door is having a BBQ cookout and sing-a-long. The Soviet Union tried staving them out, but the Berlin Air Lift put the kibosh on that plan. Now Nikita Khrushchev, leader of the Soviet Union, demands that Berlin be made a free city meaning his tanks will insure the freedom of the government to confiscate all their stuff. President Eisenhower does what any red-blooded American champion of freedom would do. He goes golfing at Augusta National. (He is flipping off the Soviets while working behind the scenes.) West Berlin votes "Nyet" on Khrushchev's "freedom city" BS (bad suggestion), so Khrushchev changes tactics. He wants to visit the United States. Eisenhower thinks this is a great idea. (Sure, Wilbur.) With everyone crossing their fingers, the man who threatened to bury the West, comes a callin'. They meet at Camp David privately to clear the air. Eisenhower leaves Khrushchev enough room to back off and he does.... for now. [3] [4] [5] [6]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
During the visit, Khrushchev and Eisenhower discussed military procurement. It reveals Eisenhower's thinking long before warning us of "the military-industrial-complex." [7] EISENHOWER: My military leaders come to me and say, 'Mr. President, we need such and such a sum for such and such a program. If we don't get the funds we need, we'll fall behind the Soviet Union.' [...] That's how they wring money out of me. [...] how is it with you?
KHRUSHCHEV: It's just the same. (They) say, [...] 'If we don't get the money we need and if there's a war, then the enemy will have superiority over us.' So [...], I mull over their request and finally come to the conclusion that the military should be supported with whatever funds they need.
EISENHOWER: You know, we really should come to some sort of an agreement in order to stop this fruitless, really wasteful rivalry. [8]

Spying for "Science"

Contributed by Southpaw Ben Under the name "Discoverer", the Corona 4 spy satellite was the first spy satellite that is known to have been launched. By spy satellite, it meant that it contained a camera on board. The rocket it used to go to space was based on the PGM-17 Thor rocket[9], which was an intermediate range ballistic missile that would be in use until 1963. The Discover 4 mission was ultimately a failure, as a malfunction resulted in it not reaching orbit, and the Discoverer program would be plagued with problems until over a year later when the Discoverer 13 became the obeject to be successfully recovered after being sent to orbit, but Discoverer 14 was the first to have it's film successfully recovered. This program was only publicly admitted in 1992 with its picture being declassified in 1995 by an executive order by President Bill Clinton. [10]
My Take by Southpaw Ben
As Jack and Alex have stated in the past, anyone who thinks NASA's only role was to further science needs to set up an appointment with a pshrink. The Discoverer missions are a perfect example, as the US government was able to launch spy satellites without needing to explain what they were doing, simply dismissing it as a mission for science. This also should cast some doubt onto modern day scientists as to whether the science they claim to be doing is actually what they claim, and if they are actually doing it for who and why they claim, such as was done with the MK Ultra experiments. I won't go so far as to speculate on any specific modern day examples, because I'm sure that all modern scientists are completely upstanding and honest individuals. (Please note the heavy does of sarcasm)

Notable Births

  • Sarah, Duchess of York: Known affectionately as "Fergie", the former wife of Prince Andrew. [11]
  • Mike Pence: VP of the United States. [11]
  • Eliot Spitzer: Governor of NY and "Love Client Number 9" in a prostitution investigation. [11] [12]
  • David Koresh (died 1993, age 33): Leader of the Branch Davidians of Waco, Texas when the ATF raided their compound. [11]
  • Brian Williams: NBC News reader, fired after he said his helicopter was hit by an RPG when it wasn't. (That's called lying, Brian.--alexshrugged) [11]
  • -- In Sports: Magic Johnson, John McEnroe and Coach Mike McCarthy. [11]
  • -- In Comedy: Tom Arnold and "Weird Al" Yankovic. [11]
  • -- In Music: Simon Cowell and Marie Osmond. [11]
  • -- Jason Alexander: Pretty Woman, and TV's Seinfeld. [11]
  • -- Linda Blair: The possessed girl in The Exorcist. [11]

This Year in Film

  • Ben Hur: Starring Charlton Heston, it is the story of a rich man, brought low and then redeemed by Jesus. (Great chariot race.--alexshrugged) [13]
  • Journey to the Center of the Earth: Starring James Mason and Pat Boone. (Still good.--alexshrugged) [13]
  • On the Beach: In the aftermath of a nuclear attack those few who survive must... blah, blah, blah. (An important film but a major downer.--alexshrugged) [13]

This Year in Music

  • Venus: Frankie Avalon. "Hey, Venus / Oh, Venus / Make my wish come true..." [14]
  • The Ballad of Mack the Knife: Bobby Darin. "Oh, the shark has pretty teeth, dear, And he shows them pearly white..." [14]
  • (We're Gonna) Rock Around the Clock (Tonight): Bill Haley & His Comets. [14]

In Other News

  • Barbie the fashion doll is released by Mattel: At this time dolls are babies, so an adult-aged doll is a big change. [15]
  • The 1st plain paper copier is released by Xerox: Xerox will soon become a verb just as Jello became a noun. [15]
  • Coal mining dies in northern Pennsylvania along with 12 men: In the Knox Mine disaster, miners tunnel too close to a riverbed and flood the mines. Heads will roll, but it's too late now. [15] [16]

This Year on Wikipedia

Year 1959, Wikipedia.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

History: The Year is 1958

I've uploaded year 1958 to the TSP Wiki...

http://tspwiki.com/index.php?title=1958

As always, Alex Shrugged's opinions are his own. Other people's work are their own. I include them here for the sake of completeness and to provide a second method of access to the material for the TSP history segment.


* A Land to the East: A Shining Pan-Arab Republic -- Contributed by Alex Shrugged

* The U.S. Air Force (Almost) Nukes South Carolina... and Georgia -- Contributed by Alex Shrugged

* The Cod Wars - No, that's not a typo -- Contributed by Southpaw Ben

* Notable Births -- See below.

* This Year in Film -- See below.

* This Year in Music -- See below.

* In Other News -- See below.




==============================

A Land to the East: A Shining Pan-Arab Republic

Contributed by Alex Shrugged
Since the collapse of the Ottoman Empire 36 years ago, the Arabs have been negotiating for a unification of Arab states. This latest effort is prompted by the success of Egypt's President Gamal Abdel Nasser after the Suez Crisis and subsequent Sinai War. Nasser has pulled a diplomatic victory out of the jaws of defeat, so he is a popular guy in some circles... like Syria. The socialist Ba'ath Party is in favor of a merger, so Egypt and Syria become the United Arab Republic. It is a hopeful beginning to a Pan-Arab republic. North Yemen will join later in a confederation called the United Arab States. (FYI, North Yemen eventually merges into a greater Yemen.) Last week the King of Iraq and the King of Jordon formed the Arab Federation. (The kings are cousins.) It collapses a few months later when the King of Iraq is deposed in a military coup backed by the British. Other Pan-Arab republics will come and go. They won't last long probably because the Arabs are made up of several tribes, and to unify them will take a charismatic and strong leader. Nasser won the Sinai War on points, but he needed to win by force-of-arms to make him the credible leader of a Pan-Arab state. No joy this time, so more war is on the way. [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
Bible fans will recognize the "land to the East" as that region promised to Ishmael, the son of Abraham through the concubine Hagar. Traditionally, Arabs draw their linage through Ishmael and the 12 princes who were his sons. Today, Arabs seem to think that the Land of Israel is... (STOP! A long biblical discussion is hereby mercifully deleted by Alex Shrugged.) Secondly, during World War 1 the Arabs were promised the Mashreq or "East" to be divided (or united) as they saw fit, but in a secret agreement called the Sykes–Picot Agreement, Britain and France agreed to split up the Middle East between them (and the Arabs could take a flying leap). This broken promise became the basis of the current mistrust between the Middle East and the West. From their perspective, the State of Israel is another example of how the West mistreats the Arabs. I know it was all long ago, but like the Irish resentment over the British Ulster Plantation, these things take time to heal. The Ulster Plantation was established in 1606, so we have less than 400 years to go. Mark your calendars. [8] [9] [10] FYI: Alex Shrugged is Jewish and supports Israel, but is doing his best to present a balanced picture of these events. Your mileage may vary. [11]

The U.S. Air Force (Almost) Nukes South Carolina... and Georgia

Contributed by Alex Shrugged
"Not too many people can say they've had a nuclear bomb dropped on them."
-- Walter Gregg recalling when a nuclear weapon landed in his backyard. [12]
Luckily, the bomb is unarmed and it contains no fissionable material. (FYI, even without nuclear material inside, a nuclear bomb contains enough explosives to upset Aunt Jenny's Sunday picnic real good. Know what I mean?) Although the Air Force claims that the bomb was released from 15,000 feet, residents say that the B-47 Stratojet sounded like it was right on top of them. A 6-kiloton nuclear package lands in the backyard of Walter Gregg, a railway conductor. He is in his garage with his son making a bench. It is not clear what the Air Force has against railway workers or handmade benches, but clearly... they missed. All joking aside, what happened is that during a military exercise, the co-pilot realized that the bomb was not properly secured, so he hit the button that would secure the bomb. IT WAS THE WRONG BUTTON! Hal opened the pod-bay doors, and all hell broke loose. The bomb left a crater 75 feet wide and about 30 feet deep. People had cuts and bruises, but no one was killed. Gregg and his wife move to Florence. The hole remains. [13]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
Are we done yet? HECK NO! A Mark 15 hydrogen bomb is lost off of Tybee Island near Savannah, Georgia. Yet another B-47 Stratojet is carrying an honest-to-Heavens LIVE nuclear weapon. The Stratojet is involved in a mid-air collision with an F-86 fighter plane. The fighter pilot ejects, and the Stratojet drops 18,000 feet. It can still fly, but no one knows for how long. In order to insure that the B-47 doesn't blow up, killing the crew and everyone within 10 miles of the landing strip, they drop the bomb into the drink. They search for it later, but they can't find it. In a report from 2001 the Air Force concludes that, "it is in the best interest of the public and the environment to leave the bomb in its resting-place". So... the bomb is still out there? Yes, it is. [14] [15]

The Cod Wars - No, that's not a typo

Contributed by Southpaw Ben
This war was between Iceland and the UK, with West Germany also taking sides with the UK. On September 1st 1958, an Icelandic law went into effect that expanded the Icelandic fishery zone from 4 nautical miles to 12 nautical miles. All NATO members were opposed to this new law, most notably the UK, which was most directly affected by this law, as many of it's commercial fishermen had fished these cod rich waters exclusively, supporting thousands of British jobs. From the enactment of this law until March 11th 1961, the UK declared that their fishing trawlers would be under protection by their warships. There were 20 British trawlers being guarded by 4 warships. Between September 1958 until February 1960, the UK spent around half a million pounds on oil on the 53 warships that rotated through the Icelandic fishing areas. On the other had, Iceland only deployed seven patrol vessels and a flying boat, and only one of which could actually take action and arrest and tow a trawler into harbor. In the end, there were no casualties, despite several close calls, and Iceland "won", with the UK eventually agreeing to the terms put forth by Iceland prior to the law taking effect in 1958. [16] [17]
My Take by Southpaw Ben
In the end, between 1958 and 1976 there were three different Cod Wars between Iceland and some combination of UK, West Germany and Belgium. These three conflicts resulted in a grand total of 1 death, 1 wounded, and 21 vessels damaged. Because of the lack of a declaration of war, and how little actual fighting there was, most don't consider the Cod Wars to be actual wars. However, it can be seen as an example of a successful guerrilla action, as Iceland, which had a much smaller navy than the UK was able to leverage the advantages they did have to their advantage. Their biggest leverage was the political leverage they had as a result of having vital US bases they could threaten to close. Due to this, NATO was forced to mediate the conflict and get the UK to agree to Icelandic terms for the resolution of this conflict. Alex Shrugged pointed out to me one other major reason the US was forced to side with Iceland; the 12 mile limit came from a US law, signed by President Truman to stop Japanese from fishing along the cost of Alaska, as well as to claim control of the mineral resources found within the 12 miles, which was based on the size of the continental shelf.

Notable Births

  • Mark Cuban: Owner of the Dallas Mavericks, Landmark Theatres, and member of TV's Shark Tank. [18]
  • Billy Mays (died 2009, age 50): TV pitchman. He died after he offered affordable health insurance. (Pure coincidence, I'm sure.-- alexsshrugged) [18] [19]
  • Tim Kaine: US Senator (D) Virginia and 2016 VP candidate with Hillary Clinton. [18]
  • Neil deGrasse Tyson: Astrophysicist, and host of TV's Cosmos. (Fun guy. Filled with BS... bad science.--alexshrugged) [18]
  • Karen Pence: Wife of VP Mike Pence and Second Lady of the United States. [18]
  • And in Entertainment...
  • -- Directors: Chris Columbus and Tim Burton. [18]
  • -- In Music: Alan Jackson, Ice-T, Madonna, Michael Jackson (died 2009, aged 50) and Prince (died 2016, age 57). [18]
  • -- In Comedy: Ellen DeGeneres, Drew Carey, and Jeff Foxworthy. [18]
  • -- Gary Oldman: The Fifth Element, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, The Space Between Us, and more. [18]
  • -- Alec Baldwin: Beetlejuice, The Hunt for Red October, TV's 30 Rock and President Donald Trump on Saturday Night Live. [18]

This Year in Film

  • Gigi: A young French girl is trained to become a consort. "Thank Heaven for Little Girls!" is the popular song from that film. [20] [21]
  • South Pacific: World War 2 in song. (It doesn't have to make sense. It's a musical.--alexshrugged) [20]
  • No Time for Sergeants: Andy Griffith plays a country boy drafted into the Army. (It is hilarious.--alexshrugged) [20]
  • B-Movie horror films: The Fly, The Blob, Attack of the 50 Foot Woman, Return of the Fly, and Return of Frankenstein (but no return to sanity--alexshrugged). [20]

This Year in Music

  • Volare: An Italian song. The half-English version is sung by Dean Martin. [22] [23] [24] [25]
  • (Hang down your head) Tom Dooley: The Kingston Trio. [22] [26]
  • The Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don't Be Late): David Seville keeps Simon, Theodore and Alvin under control... mostly. [22] [27] [28]
  • Elvis Presley is inducted into the Army: It is a media event. He tries to remain a normal soldier even though he is not. The record company releases unpublished recordings, and Elvis records songs while on leave. This keeps his career going. He will meet Priscilla, his future wife, next year. SHE IS 14-YEARS-OLD! (Elvis, you dog!--alexshrugged) His induction inspires the stage production, movie and song "Bye Bye Birdie". (The song is sung poorly but enthusiastically by a young Ann-Margret.--alexshrugged) [29] [30] [31]

In Other News

  • Linus Pauling warns of radioactive Carbon 14 in the atmosphere: He is an activist, but C-14 is increasing, and his findings are published in Science, a peer-reviewed journal. [32] [33] [34]
  • The Patron Saint of... Television?: Saint Clare of Assisi (born Jul, 16 1194, died August 11, 1253, canonized September 26, 1255) is declared the patron saint of television by Pope Pius XII. [35][36]
  • The Baby Boom Ends: 1958 marks the end of post war baby boom and starts a record 11 year decline of birth rate. However it still remains elevated above the pre-war average for several more years. [37]

This Year in Wikipedia

Year 1958, Wikipedia.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

History: The Year is 1957

I've uploaded year 1957 to the TSP Wiki...

http://tspwiki.com/index.php?title=1957

As always, Alex Shrugged's opinions are his own. Other people's work are their own. I include them here for the sake of completeness and to provide a second method of access to the material for the TSP history segment.


* The Mad Bomber Is Caught... BY PROFILING -- Contributed by Alex Shrugged

* The Killer Bees Have Escaped! -- Contributed by Alex Shrugged

* Operation Power Flite: The B-52 flies around the world -- Contributed by Southpaw Ben

* Notable Births -- See below.

* This Year in Film -- See below.

* This Year in Music -- See below.

* In Other News -- See below.



=====================================

The Mad Bomber Is Caught... BY PROFILING

Contributed by Alex Shrugged
No. It's not Bill Ayers. It's George Metesky, a Con-Edison employee who was dismissed after breathing gases during a boiler accident. The doctors said there was nothing wrong with him, so he filed for workman's compensation. The paperwork was late, so his claim was denied. In reaction, he set a pipe bomb at a Con-Edison power plant with a note reading "CON EDISON CROOKS – THIS IS FOR YOU." Thus began 16 years of fear and dread as the Mad Bomber of New York set small bombs in lockers, restrooms, and under movie theater seats to publicize his complaint. After years of no leads, a psychiatrist builds a profile of the bomber. (This is a first.) He is male, older than 35 (and by now over 50). He wears a double-breasted suit (buttoned) and he lives with a female relative. He is unmarried but not a homosexual, and on and on. (Most of the profile is simple logic applied to the data at hand, but if we did this today, people would shout "BUT NOT EVERYONE IS LIKE THAT!" I know. I'm not three-years-old.) The profile is printed in the newspapers, and bingo! A Con-Edison employee matches his description along with several frightening complaint letters on file. George greets the police warmly. Yep. He wears a double-breasted suit (buttoned), and he lives with his two maiden sisters. He is judged nuttier-than-a-fruitcake, and locked up with the criminally insane. In 1973, he will be judged harmless and released. He will remain angry with Con-Edison, but he will keep his vow to bomb no more. He knows how to keep his promises. [1] [2] [3] [4] [5]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
I had a speaking engagement for the Christmas party at the Atascadero State Hospital for the criminally insane. (Would it be wrong to say that they were crazy for me? It would? Oh. Sorry.) I planned to make the drive with my girlfriend, but as the date approached, we broke up. I was rebuilding my car engine, so I could still make it if I assembled the engine in ONE DAY. My boss let me go home early, and that had NEVER happened before, so I thought, "This is God's will." I laid the parts out and realized that the machine shop hadn't returned my camshaft! I thought, "Maybe this is NOT God's will." I swallowed my pride, and asked my ex-girlfriend for a ride. Amazingly, she agreed. I thought, "This is God's will!" But we were soon lost in cow country while taking the scenic route. "This can't be God's will." Hours later, we rolled into the parking lot with minutes to spare. "It's God's will again!" I took the steps two at a time, and identified myself to the nurse. "I'm the speaker for the Christmas Party." She asked, "What?" I repeated, "I'm here for the Christmas Party!" Then it dawned on her, "Oh! That was LAST week." My ex-girlfriend laughed. Apparently, God was having His little joke, and when God laughs it behooves the smart man to laugh too. I learned that I must not mistake my will for God's will, and that His will may include a little ego deflation for my own good. (Honestly, it was a good joke. I really did laugh.) [6] [7] [8]

The Killer Bees Have Escaped!

Contributed by Alex Shrugged
Not the heavy metal band. The bees from Africa. Last year an apiary was set up a 100 miles south of Sao Paulo, Brazil as an experiment in increasing honey production using African honey bees. (An apiary is a bee hive or group of hives.) Unfortunately, this year 26 queens and their swarms escape into the wild and are not recovered. The bees are aggressive, they swarm more quickly than the European variety, and they will chase you a quarter mile before they give up... if then. They also produce queens a little more quickly than European bees, so when a hive produces a queen it is more likely to produce an African queen before the European one has time to mature. Then it is out with the European and in with the African. The bees have been spreading north at about 100 to 200 miles a year. They will reach Texas by 1990 and California by 1995. [9] [10] [11]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
I have now exhausted my bee lore. I leave it to experts to say more, but this parallels the introduction of fire ants to the Caribbean. When you introduce a new species to a region and they are the biggest and baddest bugs on the block, they become a pest in more ways than one.

Operation Power Flite: The B-52 flies around the world

Contributed by Southpaw Ben
Between January 16th and January 18th, five B-52 bombers, two of which were spares in case something went wrong with the three main planes, flew around the world, taking off from Castle Air Force Base in California. Refueling multiple times as they went, on of the bombers failed to refuel, forcing it to abort the mission and land early. On January 18th the three main planes landed having flown for 45 hours and 19 minutes, over twice as fast as the first non-stop circumnavigation performed by the Lucky Lady II in 1949. The purpose of the mission was to demonstrate the Air Force's capability to be able to drop a hydrogen bomb anywhere in the world. All crew members of the flight were awarded Distinguished Flying Crosses. [12]
My Take by Southpaw Ben
With tensions flaring in Europe and the Middle East after the Suez Canal Crisis, the US wanted to show the USSR that it could still wreak havoc on the USSR even though it was half way around the globe from the major population centers. This was one of the biggest benefits and drawbacks of the US's location, it is far away from all of the wars and conflicts occurring in Europe, which gave it protection from being directly invaded by the Red Army, however it also meant that it was harder for the US to directly assert it's military might, as any full scale land battle would require shipping millions of men across an ocean. So the US had to focus on it's Navy and Air Force to better allow the US to project it's power. As a result, to this day, the US has a extremely large Navy and Air Force which it uses to police the world, because its policy hasn't matured since the Cold War era.

Notable Births

I'm not saying there is something WEIRD about 1957 but... sheeesh!
  • Osama bin Laden (died 2011, age 54): Founder of al-Qaeda, responsible for the 9-11 attacks. [13]
  • Andrew Cuomo: 56th Governor (D) of New York and son of Mario. [13]
  • Cindy Sheehan: Anti-war protestor. [13] [14]
  • And in Entertainment...
  • -- LeVar Burton: Lt. Commander Geordi La Forge in Star Trek, and Kunta Kinte in Roots. [13]
  • -- John Lasseter: Chief Creative Officer of Pixar Animation and director for Toy Story, A Bug's Life, and Cars. [13]
  • -- Nancy Cartwright: The voice of Bart Simpson. [13]
  • -- Dan Castellaneta: The voice of Homer Simpson. [13]
  • -- Scott Adams: The creator of the Dilbert comic strip. [13]

This Year in Film

  • The Bridge on the River Kwai: Starring Alec Guinness as a British POW who builds a bridge for the Japanese war effort. (Great movie winning many history awards, but THERE WAS NO BRIDGE over Kwai. I'm nit-picking.--alexshrugged) [15]
  • The Three Faces of Eve: Starring Joanne Woodward as a woman with multi-personalities, remade as "Sybil" starring a young Sally Fields and Joanne Woodward as her doctor. [15] [16]
  • An Affair to Remember: This movie is reimagined in the movie "Sleepless in Seattle". [15] [17]

This Year in Music

  • (Please Stay... By Me...) Diana: Paul Anka. [18] [19]
  • (I'm) All Shook Up: Elvis Presley . [18] [20]
  • (Goodness, Gracious) Great Balls of Fire: Jerry Lee Lewis. [18] [21]

In Other News

  • Felix Wankel gets his prototype engine running: This is the rotary engine that Mazda will eventually picked up. (It backfires, but it puts Mazda on the map.--alexshrugged)[22]
  • The Soviet Sputnik 1 and 2 orbit the Earth: The USA steps up the Atlas ICBM program.(I mean space program.--alexshrugged) [23] [24]
  • The "Little Rock Nine" are escorted to school by the 101st Airborne: Eisenhower made segregation happen because a judge said it was his constitutional duty. (Eisenhower will be the last Constitutional President for some time, if ever.--alexshrugged) [23]

This Year in Wikipedia

Year 1957, Wikipedia.

Monday, February 20, 2017

History: The Year is 1956

I've uploaded year 1956 to the TSP Wiki...

http://tspwiki.com/index.php?title=1956


As always, Alex Shrugged's opinions are his own. Other people's work are their own. I include them here for the sake of completeness and to provide a second method of access to the material for the TSP history segment.


* The Suez Canal Nuclear Showdown -- Contributed by Alex Shrugged

* U2 Is Not Just an Irish Rock Band -- Contributed by Alex Shrugged

* The death penalty is banned in the UK... Almost. -- Contributed by Southpaw Ben

* Notable Births -- See below.

* This Year in Film -- See below.

* This Year in Music -- See below.

* In Other News -- See below.



=============================

The Suez Canal Nuclear Showdown

Contributed by Alex Shrugged
IN SUMMARY: the Suez Canal in the Middle East significantly, reduces the travel time of naval ships and cargo (particularly oil) by allowing ships to slip through a man-made channel between continents. But the Canal constitutes a single point of failure. If it is blocked, economies fall and wars are lost. The British had built the Canal along with the King of Egypt, but he sold his shares. Now, the Egyptian monarchy has been overthrown and Gamal Abdel Nasser is the 2nd President of Egypt. Naturally, he nationalizes the Canal (which is what "stealing" is called when nations do it). So naturally, Israel invades to take it back. (WHAT?) The British and French are shocked, shocked, I tell you! So they move their troops in. (What nice guys!) But this invasion has been planned from the beginning by Britain using Israel as a stalking horse to provide a plausible excuse for Britain invading. France is along for the ride. Khrushchev of the Soviet Union wants to destroy the West ("We will bury you!") so he threatens to nuke Britain. Mao of communist China tries to undermine Khrushchev, by offering Nasser 250,000 Chinese "volunteers", and a no-pay-back loan of 10 million Swiss francs. Nasser takes the money but not the troops. President Eisenhower saves the day by pressuring Britain, France and Israel to back off. The Soviet Union remains a hero to Egypt even though Britain is not nuked. What? I didn't mention Hungry? Too bad about those guys. [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
Nuclear threats became the Soviet Union's foreign policy after this. Unfortunately the Suez Crisis, left the Hungarian Revolution out to dry. The Hungarians were depending on US MILITARY support, and not just pretty words. But Eisenhower was too busy in the Middle East. The Soviet tanks rolled in, and that was all she wrote. FYI, Alex Shrugged is Jewish, and he supports Israel. He is OK with Israel's part in the Suez Crisis, but not all of Ariel Sharon's part. He always seemed to be around when something bad happened. [8] [9] [10] [11]

U2 Is Not Just an Irish Rock Band

Contributed by Alex Shrugged
President Eisenhower has authorized 10 flights over the Soviet Union using the Lockheed U-2 reconnaissance plane. Up to this point the best pictures the USA has of the Soviet Union are old Nazi photos taken during World War 2. Naturally, the United States is worried about defending itself against Soviet aggression, but to hear it from the defense contractors the Russian are 12 feet tall and eat babies for breakfast. Just recently, Khrushchev of the Soviet Union threatened to "bury" the West and threatened to nuke Great Britain over the Suez Crisis. The threat is real but HOW BIG is the threat? No one really knows. Thus begins a program of picture taking, counting planes, tanks and missiles. The Soviets try to shoot the U-2 down, but so far, no luck, and the pictures are crystal clear. [12]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
Spy plane? What spy plane? It was embarrassing when the Soviet Union finally shot down a U-2 with a Surface-to-Air-Missile and captured Gary Powers in 1960. It was down right frightening when the Russian Sputnik satellite orbited the Earth in 1957. It demonstrated a technical ability that could be used to spy on the USA, and the potential to drop a nuclear bomb anywhere on the Earth because the rocket that launched Sputnik was the R-7... an Inter Continental Ballistic Missile design. If you think the Sputnik was launched in the pursuit of knowledge, you need professional help. [13] [14] [15]

The death penalty is banned in the UK... Almost.

Contributed by Southpaw Ben
MP Sydney Silverman had long been an opponent of the death penalty in the UK, due to numerous miscarriages of justice. These had resulted in multiple innocent men being executed only for the real perpetrator to be convicted for the crime years later. In 1956 his bill to abolish the UK's death penalty was passed by the British House of Commons. Unfortunately, the House of Lords killed the bill before it could become law. In 1965, he was able to get the The Murder (Abolition of Death Penalty) Act passed through both houses in 1965, however this bill only outlawed the execution of murderers. Only in 1998 was the death penalty completely abolished for all criminal offences.[16]
My Take by Southpaw Ben
It looks like I've found Jack's inspiration for his views on the death penalty! All kidding aside, I tend to agree with this line of thought about the death penalty. Like Jack, I have been all over the place in my thoughts on the death penalty, having been raised in a Republican household, but slowly becoming more libertarian over the years, and would currently consider myself a voluntarist.

Notable Births

  • Leo Laporte : Computer tech radio host on Call for Help and Security Now! with Steve Gibson. (I follow Security Now!--alexshrugged) [17]
  • Paula Zahn: New reader for CNN, Fox News and documentaries. [17]
  • Mark R. Hughes (died 2000, age 44): CEO of Herbalife International. (Died after a 4 day drinking binge.--alexshrugged) [17] [18]
  • And in Entertainment...
  • -- In Music...: Randy Jackson, La Toya Jackson, and Kenny G. [17]
  • -- In Sports...: Larry Bird, Joe Montana, Sugar Ray Leonard [17]
  • -- Bill Maher: Comedian and political commentator. [17]
  • -- Mel Gibson: Lethal Weapon, Braveheart, Passion of the Christ and more. (His personal life turned him into a pariah, but he is making a comeback.--alexshrugged) [17] [19]
  • -- Tom Hanks: Big, A League of Their Own, Sleepless in Seattle, Forrest Gump, Apollo 13, Saving Private Ryan, You've Got Mail, The Da Vinci Code, Toy Story and more and more. [17]
  • -- Carrie Fisher (died 2016, age 60): Princess Leia of Star Wars and assassin in The Blues Brothers. [17]

This Year in Film

  • The Ten Commandments: Starring Charlton Heston and Yul Brynner. [20]
  • The King and I: Starring Deborah Kerr and Yul Brynner. [20]
  • Forbidden Planet: Starring Walter Pidgeon, Anne Francis, Leslie Nielsen, but NOT YUL BRENNER! [20]

This Year in Music

  • Que Sera, Sera (Whatever Will Be, Will Be): Doris Day. [21]
  • Blueberry Hill: Fats Domino. [21]
  • Heartbreak Hotel, Hound Dog and Don't Be Cruel: Elvis Presley. (After 3 years he is an overnight sensation.--alexshrugged) [21]

In Other News

  • Grand Canyon air collision: In the deadliest civilian air collision to day, 2 passenger planes collide killing all 128 people on board. [22]
  • Hard disk drive invented: This creation of Reynold Johnson and his team at IBM is about the size of 2 refrigerators and stores 3.75 megabytes. [23]
  • Norma Jeane Mortenson changes her name: From February 23 onward, she will legally be known as Marilyn Monroe.[24]

This Year in Wikipedia

Year 1956, Wikipedia.

Friday, February 17, 2017

History: The Year is 1955

I've uploaded year 1955 to the TSP Wiki...

http://tspwiki.com/index.php?title=1955

As always, Alex Shrugged's opinions are his own. Other people's work are their own. I include them here for the sake of completeness and to provide a second method of access to the material for the TSP history segment.


* Einstein's Brain is Missing, but Make No Assumptions -- Contributed by Alex Shrugged

* Refusing to Move to the Back of the Bus -- Contributed by Alex Shrugged

* Blowing Up Commercial Airlines: Now Illegal! -- Contributed by Southpaw Ben

* Notable Births -- See below.

* This Year in Film -- See below.

* This Year in Music -- See below.

* In Other News -- See below.




==============================

Einstein's Brain is Missing, but Make No Assumptions

Contributed by Alex Shrugged
"I have finished my task here."
-- Albert Einstein, on his deathbed as he reviews his final calculations. [1]
The great physicist, Albert Einstein, is dead. His friend, Dr. Zimmerman, can't get away, so he calls on his colleague to perform the autopsy. Dr. Harvey walks into the morgue. It looks like a broom closet. In the refrigerator is the body of Albert Einstein. He is a famous man so the autopsy must be done with care. There are flies buzzing around the room as Dr. Harvey begins his incision. The cause of death is a burst blood vessel. At this point the autopsy should be over, but Dr. Harvey continues. It is difficult to know what inspires him to remove Einstein's brain. Perhaps it is professional curiosity or some lesser motivation, but when he leaves the morgue, Einstein's brain is missing. Then in a press conference, Dr. Harvey declares that he is keeping the brain for scientific study. Einstein's son is shocked, so Dr. Harvey calls him to apologize, and ask permission to study his father's brain. It's all for science, you see, and a scientific paper will be written. The son grants permission, but as the years pass, no paper is forthcoming, and there are no legal precedents for recovering a missing brain. [2] [3] [4] [5]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
It is now 1997. A young woman is writing a book, leaving her husband, Michael, at loose ends. He writes magazine articles, and when he meets Dr. Harvey, now 84 years old, he asks about the brain. Dr. Harvey says that he would like to return it to Einstein's granddaughter, Evelyn, before he is too old. In an inspired moment, Michael says, "I could drive you." And thus begins one of the strangest road trips of all time with Einstein's brain bobbing along in a Tupperware® container. The book is called "Driving Mr. Albert" and it is a hoot. I often use the book as an example of how an author will make assumptions about what a reader already knows. On a road trip, the author might mention a stop at a gas station or maybe not. He assumes that everyone knows that cars need gas, but how long will that assumption hold as electric, self-driving cars come online? Writing is permanent, but the meaning of words change. As we modernize, something is always lost in translation.... not just words and context, but skills... like driving. A few of us choose to remember and pass it on, so that when that knowledge is needed, it will still exist. [6] [7]

Refusing to Move to the Back of the Bus

Contributed by Alex Shrugged
It is March 2nd. As the bus driver approaches the next stop he sees several white people waiting. The white and Negro sections of his bus are full. The center section is a spillover area where several black women are seated. He tells them to move, but two of them stare off into the distance, unhearing. The bus driver hails a policeman. A black man gives up his seat to one of the girls, but everyone else remain seated. High school student Claudette Colvin is madder than a wet hen as the police drag her off to jail. This could be a test case... a way to take segregation back to the Supreme Court. Clifford Durr is good-old-boy insider and a lawyer. He quit his position as FCC Commissioner to fight Truman's loyalty oath hearings. (By Executive Order, federal employees were required to take a loyalty oath.) He talks Fred Gray, a negro lawyer, into taking Colvin's case. He loses and Colvin is convicted. Perfect. But in appeals the judge dismisses the charge of violation of the segregation laws, and gives Colvin a small fine. Momentum is lost. They will have to try again, and they won't have long to wait. Mary Louise Smith is next. [8] [9] [10] [11]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
Wait a second! What happened to Rosa Parks? That was in December. Rosa Parks' defiance of the segregation orders sparked the Montgomery Bus Boycott. She deserves that credit, but she was not the first. She wasn't even the third, but she was the secretary of the local chapter of the NAACP... the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. She was also the one who typed out the acceptance letter when Dr. Martin Luther King applied for membership, and she was the seamstress for the Durr family, the lawyer looking for a test case to take to the Supreme Court. She knew everyone. She was good-looking, mild in manner and they charged her with violating the segregation laws and nothing else. Although her case eventually got bogged down in court, she became the rallying point for Bus Boycott. The question is... was it all MADE to happen? Maybe. She got on the bus driven by a man she had said she would never ride with again, but it was still real. [12] [13] [14] [15]

Blowing Up Commercial Airlines: Now Illegal!

Contributed by Southpaw Ben
On November 1st 1955, a flight was going from Denver Colorado to Portland Oregon. Around 7:03 pm United Airlines Flight 629 exploded over Longmont, Colorado,[16]killing the 39 passengers and 5 crew members on board. Later investigation revealed that Jack Gilbert Grahamwas responsible for the bombing. His motive was to kill his mother to get revenge for his childhood, and to get a large payout from her life insurance policy. He had also blown up one of his mother's restaurants and collected on the property insurance from it. Bomb making materials identical to those found in the wreckage were found in Graham's possession. As the title suggests, at this time there were no laws on the book making the bombing of a commercial airline illegal. As a result, Graham was only charged with the premeditated murder of his mother, despite the 43 other deaths. He was found guilty and was executed on January 11, 1957.
My Take by Southpaw Ben
In response to this bombing, on July 14th, 1956 President Dwight Eisenhower signed a bill that made the intentional bombing of a commercial airline illegal. [17]As much as this law makes sense at first glance, I would argue it's not, and is part of the reason why we have so many laws on the books. If we only had a few broad laws, they would be much easier to enforce and harder for one to get away on a technicality. Instead of saying it's illegal to blow up an airline, simply having it be illegal to kill someone and it's illegal to destroy property that you lack permission to destroy would be enough. And it was in this case, as justice was served with simply having it be illegal to murder someone.


Notable Births

  • John Roberts: 17th Chief Justice of the US Supreme Court. [18]
  • Mike Huckabee: Gov. of Arkansas, Fox News talk show host and presidential candidate. [18]
  • Bill Gates: Co-founder of Microsoft and one of the wealthiest people in the world. [18]
  • Eric Schmidt: CEO of Novell, CEO of Google and Exec. Chairman of Alphabet Inc, a conglomerate that holds various Google companies. [18]
  • Steve Jobs (died 2011 , age 56): Co-founder and CEO of Apple, and CEO of Pixar. [18]
  • And in Entertainment...
  • -- In Music: Eddie Val Halen, Billy Idol, and Reba McEntire. [18]
  • -- Kate Mulgrew: Captain Janeway of the Star Trek: Voyager series. [18]
  • -- Penn Jillette: From the magical team of Penn & Teller. (If you must have a favorite atheist, he is your man.--alexshrugged) [18]
  • -- Bruce Willis: TV's Moonlighting, Die Hard, The Fifth Element, Armageddon, The Sixth Sense and more. [18]
  • -- Whoopi Goldberg: Actress in The Color Purple, Ghost, Sister Act, comedian and co-host of The View. [18]

This Year in Film

  • Mister Roberts: Starring Henry Fonda as an XO who protects his crew from a vain and petty captain. (Still worth watching--alexshrugged). [19]
  • Guys and Dolls: A musical starring Marlon Brando and Frank Sinatra. (Still worth watching--alexshrugged) [19]
  • The Seven Year Itch: Marilyn Monroe stands on a subway grate as her dress lifts up. (No drooling, gentlemen.--alexshrugged) [19]

This Year in Music

  • Sixteen Tons: Tennessee Ernie Ford. "You load 16 tons, whadda ya get? Another day older and deeper in debt." [20] [21]
  • Cry Me a River: Julie London. "I cried a river over you" [20] [22]
  • Maybellene (Why Can't You Be True?): Chuck Barry. [20] [23]

In Other News

  • Electric power is produced from atomic energy: Arco, Idaho is where it starts. It is also the site of the first fatal reactor accident. (and the only one for the USA) [24] [25]
  • The Hovercraft is invented using a vacuum cleaner and two tin cans. It is then classified as a government secret, killing further development. [26]
  • The Disneyland theme park and Disneyland Hotel open for business: Also the Mickey Mouse Club makes its debut. [27]
  • And events even more important than the above: (They cannot all get a mention, so something has to give.--alexshrugged)

This Year in Wikipedia

Year 1955, Wikipedia.