Wednesday, August 23, 2017
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On November 9, 1989, the government of East Germany told its citizens they could once again cross over the Berlin Wall freely and visit friends and relatives in West Germany and West Berlin. The Fall of the Berlin Wall, 1989. The photo shows a part of a public photo documentation wall at Former Check Point Charlie, Berlin. The photo documentation is permanently placed in the public. (Photo credit: Wikipedia) They pried away chunks of the Wall as part of the celebration and the government removed the rest of the Wall in 1990. It had been in place since August 13, 1961. In the summer of 1967, I traveled... (Read More ...)

On October 22, 1962, President John F. Kennedy told the nation we were preparing to go to war with the Soviet Union over missiles in Cuba. Soviet Military Build Up In Cuba, late October 1962. United States Department of Defense graphic in the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston. (Photo credit: Wikipedia) The Cuban Missile Crisis lasted from October 14 – 28, 1962. I was fifteen, in tenth grade, and remember it clearly. In the 1960s, nuclear war was on everyone’s minds. Mutually-assured destruction (MAD) was our safety net. If you launch nuclear missiles, we’ll launch... (Read More ...)

The first televised Presidential debate, between then Vice President Richard M. Nixon and then-Senator John F. Kennedy, was held on September 26, 1960, a little more than a month ahead of the November 8, 1960 election. Senator John F. Kennedy and Vice President Richard M. Nixon during the first televised U.S. presidential debate in 1960. (Photo credit: Wikipedia) Much has been made, then and since, about Nixon’s refusal to use makeup in preparation for the debate, his obvious sweating, and wiping his face during the debate, and Kennedy’s considerable debating skills. Certainly, this was the... (Read More ...)

On August 21, 1959, Hawaii became the 50th and the most recent state to join the United States. Flag of Hawaii Hawai`i: Ka hae Hawaiʻi Like Vermont, Texas and California, it was an independent republic before becoming a state. Hawaii was a Republic for four years, from 1894 to 1898, after American and European businessmen living there overthrew the king. The United States annexed it as a territory in 1898. It was a sovereign monarchy from 1810 to 1893. It was probably populated by Polynesians from the Marquesas in 300 A.D. and possibly from Tahiti in 1000 A.D. British Captain James Cook discovered... (Read More ...)

On August 9, 1974, President Richard Nixon became the first American President to resign. Richard Nixon boarding Army One upon his departure from the White House after resigning the office of President of the United States following the Watergate Scandal in 1974. (Photo credit: Wikipedia) He did not have to resign because, despite campaign promises before he was elected in 1968 and his challenge not to re-elect him if he didn’t, he did not end the war in Vietnam in his first term. He did not have to resign because he directed the FBI to bug the phones of five reporters in 1969 to identify leaks,... (Read More ...)

The question came when I was visiting my granddaughter. Newspaper vendor, Paddington, London, February 2005 (Photo credit: Wikipedia) I took it to mean that why, as opposed to her parents, did I buy and read a print newspaper, instead of getting all my news online? I buy the Boston Globe when I visit her and read The Washington Post every day at home. I like the feel of newspaper in my hands. I like the serendipity of reading news articles I spot as I scan or turn a page, instead of having news flash at me while I’m doing other things on the computer. I like the long form of reading an entire... (Read More ...)

Nelson Mandela was born July 18, 1918. Nelson Mandela, July 4 1993. (Photo credit: Wikipedia) Tomorrow he will be 95 years old. How did he change the world? I remember an editorial cartoon about Nelson Mandela when he was released, after 27 years in prison. It showed an average-size man going into prison and a giant coming out. Mandela was arrested on August 5, 1962 and eventually convicted of inciting workers’ strikes. He was released on February 2, 1990. Though kept in an 8×7-foot cell for 18 years, largely engaged in breaking rocks and working in a lime quarry, he studied for his... (Read More ...)

Act of July 4, 1966, Public Law 89-487, 80 STAT 250, which amended section 3 of the Administrative Procedure Act, chapter 324, of the Act of June 11, 1916, to clarify and protect the right of the public to information., 07/04/1966 (Page 1 of 3) (Photo credit: The U.S. National Archives) The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA, pronounced Foy-ya) was signed into law by President Lyndon Johnson on July 4, 1966. Its intent was to make it possible for citizens to ask the government for documents that they thought they should be able to read. Why did people feel the need to pass a law to ask for papers... (Read More ...)

What Is Title IX? Tiger Stadium (Photo credit: Wikipedia) Title IX (pronounced Title Nine), part of the Education Amendments of 1972, became law on June 23, 1972. Why? When I was in elementary school, there were sports programs for both boys and girls. But, by high school, it was the boys’ sports programs, primarily football and basketball, that got all the support of the school, and, apparently, the money. Girls, except for physical education class, largely dropped out of sports after sixth grade. Title IX said, “Not so fast, schools. Where are your competitive sports teams for girls? And,... (Read More ...)

Great white shark (Carcharodon carcharias), Isla Guadalupe, Mexico (Photo credit: Wikipedia) Jaws, the Steven Spielberg movie, was released on June 20, 1975. I watched it again a few weeks ago. Everyone remembers the distinctive John Williams musical score. It includes the Great White killer shark’s signature ba-dump, ba-dump (played by a tuba), every time it is in the water. This signature musical line is reinforced by looking through the water from the water, as though from the shark’s perspective. I remembered little of the movie, so it was fascinating to watch it again. First off, there... (Read More ...)