Name of source: NARA Press Release
Washington, DC… On Friday, November 30, at noon (EST), the National Archives and Records Administration will release records that have been sealed under court order since the 1970s Watergate criminal trial of seven men involved in the Watergate burglary, U.S. v. Liddy, et al. The release includes 36 folders of documents totaling approximately 950 pages (in whole or in part), and is in accordance with the order from Chief Judge Royce Lamberth of the District Court for the District of Columbia.
These records will be available online at www.archives.gov/research/investigations/watergate/us-v-liddy.html on Friday, November 30, 2012, at noon EST....
Friday, November 30, 2012 - 15:50
Name of source: WSJ
Ask Sally Rothemich how her husband’s doing, and you’ll usually get the same reply: “My real husband or my fake husband?”
Her real husband is Don Rothemich, a teacher from Massachusetts who wears sweaters and loafers.
Her fake husband is an American immigrant, originally from England, named Francis Eaton, who wears cassocks and sailed on the Mayflower.
Ms. Rothemich and her fake husband are re-enactors at Plimoth Plantation in Plymouth, Mass. The job makes for a mighty juggle – between work and life, and between past and present....
Friday, November 30, 2012 - 15:15
Name of source: WaPo
RICHMOND, Va. — Donna Gugger’s heart was heavy as she sifted through the scattered debris and devastation left by Superstorm Sandy along the Jersey Shore. Pieces of broken furniture. Shards of metal. Chairs ripped off patios. Blue jeans tossed out of bureaus.
But there was something different about that swath of gray cloth with shiny brass buttons. She stopped to take a second look, leaning down to tug on an edge of the fabric that peeked out from under the sand. At first glance, she thought it was an elaborate Halloween costume — a jacket that reminded her of the Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper.
It was no costume. Gugger had stumbled across an 80-year-old tunic owned by a 1933 graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, a World War II hero described in his West Point yearbook as a soldier with a “heart like a stormy sea.”...
Friday, November 30, 2012 - 15:00
FONTAINEBLEAU, France — The single line of Napoleon’s secret code told Paris of his desperate, last order against the Russians: “At three o’clock in the morning, on the 22nd I am going to blow up the Kremlin.”
By the time Paris received the letter three days later, the Russian czar’s seat of power was in flames and the diminished French army was in retreat. Its elegantly calligraphic ciphers show history’s famed general at one of his weakest moments.
“My cavalry is in tatters, many horses are dying,” dictated Napoleon, the once-feared leader showing the strain of his calamitous Russian invasion, which halved his army....
Friday, November 30, 2012 - 14:59
NEW YORK — An upcoming auction of over 300 historical documents includes rare letters written by Vincent van Gogh, George Washington, John Lennon and other iconic figures.
The property of an anonymous American collector is being offered by Profiles in History in an online and phone auction on Dec. 18.
Among the highlights is a two-page letter from Washington to an Anglican clergyman.
Another top item is a signed van Gogh letter, written in 1890, to Joseph and Marie Ginoux, who were proprietors of the Cafe de la Gare in Arles, France, where the Dutch post-impressionist artist lived for a time....
Thursday, November 29, 2012 - 16:27
Thursday marks 80 years for the Federal Diary, our regular column on and for the Federal workforce. It launched Nov. 29, 1932. A small box at the bottom of that day’s front page announced its arrival.
Federal Diary columnist Joe Davidson described The Diary’s origins in a column in Thursday’s paper:
When the Diary began covering issues involving federal employees — a core segment of The Washington Post audience — president-elect Franklin D. Roosevelt and congressional leaders were discussing legislation to legalize beer....
Thursday, November 29, 2012 - 16:25
It’s sometimes best to fade into history.
That’s especially true if your claim to fame has been an affair with a famous politician who later became president. Case in point: Gennifer Flowers, who sold her sex stories about Bill Clinton to the tabloid “Star” and nearly derailed Clinton’s presidential bid in 1992. She appeared in Penthouse, landed a book deal and wrote the steamy “Gennifer Flowers: Passion & Betrayal” in 1995.
And now she’s back....
Thursday, November 29, 2012 - 16:24
Since 2000, the Japanese government has surveyed public opinion toward a handful of foreign countries, and this year’s results found something surprising and potentially quite significant. The number of respondents who reported they feel “friendly” toward Japan’s two most important neighbors, China and South Korea, have hit record lows.
Those holding negative views of South Korea exceed those with positive views for the first time in the survey’s history, a dramatic and rapid reversal of previous scores. The number of Japanese who lack “affinity” for China now exceed those with positive feelings for the country by a proportion of over four-to-one. Here are the official results (the blue represents “friendly” feelings, the black line negative), and below that some thoughts on why this matters:...
Thursday, November 29, 2012 - 16:24
WASHINGTON — Jill Biden and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta joined an effort Wednesday to build an education center at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial to tell the stories of generations of veterans killed in combat, including the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
They gathered with military families for a ceremonial groundbreaking on a site next to the Lincoln Memorial on the National Mall for the $85 million museum. Organizers still must raise $38 million before construction can begin.
The veterans group that built the Vietnam memorial wants to open the center in 2014, in time to welcome the last troops home from Afghanistan....
Thursday, November 29, 2012 - 16:22
WILLEMSTAD, Curacao — Headstones are pockmarked, their inscriptions faded. Stone slabs that have covered tombs for centuries are crumbling. White marble has turned grey, likely from the acrid smoke that spews from a nearby oil refinery.
One of the oldest Jewish cemeteries in the Western Hemisphere, Beth Haim on the island of Curacao, is slowly fading in the Caribbean sun....
Wednesday, November 28, 2012 - 00:04
LONDON — Tyrant or hero? Rightful monarch or child-killer? Despotic hunchback or brave scoliosis sufferer? Now is the winter of our debate over one of England’s most notorious villains: Richard III.
Underneath a drab parking lot 90 miles northwest of London, archaeologists have unearthed what may become one of this nation’s finds of the century — half-a-millennium-old bones thought to be the remains of the long-lost monarch. But if the discovery has touched off a feverish round of DNA tests against his closest living descendants, it has also lurched to the surface a series of burning questions in a country where even arcane points of history are disputed with the gusto of modern-day politics.
What was the true nature of a king famously depicted by William Shakespeare as a twisted soul who locked his young nephews — and rivals to the throne — in the Tower of London, never to be heard from again? Did Shakespeare offer a fair accounting of historical record, or was the Bard the Karl Rove of his day, a spin doctor for the House of Tudor that assumed power after the monarch fell with fateful cries of “Treason!” at the Battle of Bosworth in 1485?...
Wednesday, November 28, 2012 - 00:02
BELLO, Colombia — They were committed evangelicals, devoted to Jesus Christ.
But what some here called a spark, an inescapable pull of their ancestors, led them in a different direction, to Judaism. There were the grandparents who wouldn’t eat pork, the fragments of a Jewish tongue from medieval Spain that spiced up the language, and puzzling family rituals such as the lighting of candles on Friday nights.
So, after a spiritual journey that began a decade ago, dozens of families that had once belonged to a fire-and-brimstone church became Jews, converting with the help of rabbis from Miami and Jerusalem. Though unusual in one of the most Catholic of nations, the small community in Bello joined a worldwide movement in which the descendants of Jews forced from Spain more than 500 years ago are discovering and embracing their Jewish heritage....
Tuesday, November 27, 2012 - 23:59
The 7,000 soldiers buried with Qin Shi Huang in 210 B.C. were made of clay. But the bronze weapons the terra cotta army carried into the enormous tomb complex near Xi’an in western China were the real things: tens of thousands of swords, axes, spears, lances and crossbows, all as capable of spilling blood as anything Qin’s real army wielded when they triumphed, ending centuries of war and uniting China under a single rule for the first time.
What has been a puzzle for scientists is how so many weapons could have been made so skillfully, so uniformly and so quickly. (Qin reigned for only 11 years; construction of his mausoleum complex is thought to have started long before his death.) They now have a likely answer. A new study of 40,000 bronze arrowheads suggests they were produced in self-sufficient, autonomous workshops that produced finished items rather than parts that fed into an assembly line of sorts....
Tuesday, November 27, 2012 - 23:54
WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama is adding an asterisk to his name in the history books.
His inauguration will be only the seventh time that the constitutionally mandated date for a president’s swearing-in — Jan. 20 — has fallen on a Sunday. So, following tradition, the inauguration will be on Monday, Jan. 21.
The adjustment puts Obama in league with President Ronald Reagan, whose second inauguration in 1985 also was changed from Sunday to Monday....
Tuesday, November 27, 2012 - 23:50
Albert Einstein is widely regarded as a genius, but how did he get that way? Many researchers have assumed that it took a very special brain to come up with the theory of relativity and other insights that form the foundation of modern physics.
A study of 14 newly discovered photographs of Einstein’s brain, which was preserved for study after his death, concludes that the brain was indeed highly unusual in many ways. But researchers still don’t know exactly how the brain’s extra folds and convolutions translated into Einstein’s amazing abilities....
Tuesday, November 27, 2012 - 23:41
“The first real Thanksgiving was near here,” said Ailsa Firstenberg, a 16-year-old junior interpreter at Colonial Williamsburg, not far from the James River and the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay in Virginia.
Since she was 11 years old, Ailsa has put on a colonial costume to volunteer helping kids and their families get a better picture of America’s earliest days. It’s part of visiting historic Williamsburg and Jamestown, the first permanent English colony in what would become the United States, established on May 14, 1607....
Many people think the first Thanksgiving happened in the Plymouth Colony in Massachusetts in 1621 to celebrate a successful harvest. But Williamsburg historian Taylor Stoermer says settler communities in what was then called the New World often had celebrations to give thanks. Records show that Spanish conquistadors had religious Thanksgiving services at San Elizario, Texas, in 1598.
And on Dec. 4, 1619, 38 settlers from England survived a storm to find land on the James River. The settlers were so glad to have survived the storm and at last be in Virginia, that ship’s captain, John Woodleaf, decreed Dec. 4 a day for giving thanks in the New World, Stoermer says....
Tuesday, November 20, 2012 - 19:48
NAIROBI, Kenya — History is repeating itself yet again in eastern Congo. Rebels supported by Rwanda are on the march. Civilians are fleeing. And higher powers appear to be taking sides.
Congo and Rwanda have been at this stage before. First in 1996, then in 1998. Also in 2004 and 2008. The first two conflicts had their roots in Rwanda’s 1994 genocide, but now the fighting is mostly over mineral wealth — including minerals used in the world’s smart phones and laptops....
Rwanda’s 1996 and 1998 incursions into Congo were driven by Rwanda’s troubled ethnic past. Rwanda justified the invasions on the basis that its security was being threatened by a rebel group called the FDLR, a group of ethnic Hutus. Extremist Hutus killed more than 500,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus during the country’s 1994 genocide. But the FDLR today is nowhere near as powerful as it once was, and the Hutu threat is not such a concern to Rwandan President Paul Kagame, a Tutsi....
Tuesday, November 20, 2012 - 19:46
RICHMOND, Va. — The Civil War Trust has teamed up with the state to complete a $3.2 million campaign protecting 285 acres at Gaines’ Mill, where Gen. Robert E. Lee had his first major victory as commander of the Army of Northern Virginia.
The preservation greatly expands the number of protected acres at Gaines’ Mill, the bloodiest chapter in the Seven Days’ Battles, making it a “monumental achievement” in the trust’s history, president James Lighthizer said....
Monday, November 19, 2012 - 15:36
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) said in an interview that he isn’t certain what the age of the earth is, and that parents should be able to teach their kids both scientific and religious attempts to answer the question.
“I’m not a scientist, man. I can tell you what recorded history says, I can tell you what the Bible says, but I think that’s a dispute amongst theologians and I think it has nothing to do with the gross domestic product or economic growth of the United States,” Rubio told GQ. “I think the age of the universe has zero to do with how our economy is going to grow. I’m not a scientist. I don’t think I’m qualified to answer a question like that.”...
Monday, November 19, 2012 - 15:17
Name of source: AP
NEW YORK — Trace Adkins wore an earpiece decorated like the Confederate flag when he performed for the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Lighting but says he meant no offense by it.
Adkins appeared with the earpiece on a nationally televised special for the lighting on Wednesday. Some regard the flag as a racist symbol and criticized Adkins in Twitter postings.
But in a statement released Thursday, the Louisiana native called himself a proud American who objects to any oppression and says the flag represents his Southern heritage....
Friday, November 30, 2012 - 14:59
MRAUK-U, Myanmar — It was dusk in a corner of Myanmar recently shaken by some of the bloodiest sectarian violence in a generation, and a dozen Canadian tourists climbed to the top of a grassy hill, cameras ready to capture the sweeping view.
Moss-covered pagodas rose from foggy hilltops all along the horizon, their bell-shaped silhouettes dark against the blue sky. Birds flitted through lush treetops. A small throng of children played on a dirt road nearby.
From here, it was hard to tell anything was wrong....
Tuesday, November 27, 2012 - 23:47
President John F. Kennedy was supposed to just stop by and wave hello.
Instead a group of eager Latinos persuaded him to come inside and speak to a packed room of Mexican-American civil rights activists. And then he persuaded his wife, first lady Jacqueline Kennedy, to address the crowd in Spanish.
It was Nov. 21, 1963. Hours later, the president was dead, his assassination overshadowing the significance of a speech that can be seen as the birth of the Latino vote, so instrumental in 2012 in helping re-elect the first black president, Barack Obama.
To historians, Kennedy's appearance at the Rice Ballroom in Houston was likely the first time that a president officially acknowledged Latinos as an important voting bloc....
Tuesday, November 27, 2012 - 23:32
MUMBAI, India — Hundreds of thousands of grieving supporters thronged the streets of Mumbai on Sunday for the funeral of Bal Thackeray, a Hindu extremist leader linked to waves of mob violence against Muslims and migrant workers in India.
Nearly 20,000 policemen were on hand because of the violent history of the group. The mourners, however, remained calm and orderly as the body of Thackeray was cremated at Shivaji park where he had made political debut by addressing his first public rally 46 years ago....
Thackeray’s Sena is among the most xenophobic of India’s Hindu right-wing political parties and held power in Mumbai from 1995 to 2000. His supporters often called him Hindu Hriday Samrat or emperor of Hindu hearts.
In 1992, members of Hindu right-wing groups, including the Sena and the Bharatiya Janata Party, were instrumental in destroying a 16th century mosque in north India that they said was the birthplace of the Hindu god Rama, and Thackeray was blamed for the violence and rioting that followed. In Mumbai alone, nearly 1,000 people were killed....
Monday, November 19, 2012 - 15:34
GETTYSBURG, Pa. — Two-time Academy Award winning director Steven Spielberg expressed a sense of humility Monday as he delivered the keynote address during ceremonies to mark the 149th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s “Gettysburg Address.”
“I’ve never stood anyplace on earth where it’s easier to be humbled than here,” said Spielberg, whose biopic about the 16th president is currently in theaters.
His remarks were made at the annual event at the Soldier’s National Cemetery in Gettysburg, near the site where Lincoln gave the famous oration amid the American Civil War in 1863, four months after the battle in which the Union turned back an invasion of the North by Confederate troops under Gen. Robert E. Lee....
HNN Hot Topics: "Lincoln": The Movie
Monday, November 19, 2012 - 15:20
Name of source: NYT
JERUSALEM — The black-and-white photos show masses of people yearning for independence, celebrating a vote recognizing a state in Palestine. It was a day that generations of pupils would be taught to remember with reverence: Nov. 29.
The jubilant revelers were Jews, the year was 1947, and the vote was held in the United Nations General Assembly. The Palestinians rejected the partition plan, which called for Jewish and Arab states to be established after the imminent expiration of the British rule over Palestine. The outraged Arabs soon started a war they eventually lost.
Sixty-five years later to the day, the tables are somewhat reversed: Palestinians have turned to the General Assembly for a second chance — and it is the Israelis who have dismissed the vote, which resoundingly upgraded the Palestinians’ U.N. status, as a symbolic trifle....
Friday, November 30, 2012 - 14:58
ROME — As its corporate sponsors continue to feel the pinch of the financial crisis, the Vatican has taken an unprecedented step and is appealing directly to tourists and collectors to help finance the restoration of Bernini’s 17th-century colonnade in St. Peter’s Square by buying limited edition stamps.
The Vatican’s Philatelic and Numismatic Office is offering a souvenir sheet of two 10-euro stamps that could raise 3 million euros for the project, if all 150,000 are sold.
“Fund-raising wasn’t going very well,” said the office’s director, Mauro Olivieri, who came up with the idea for the stamps this year after officials in various Vatican departments were invited to suggest initiatives to help pay for the colonnade’s restoration. The cleanup began in 2009 and was expected to take four years, but the work began to lag when funds dwindled....
Friday, November 30, 2012 - 14:51
...[M]ost Americans in 2010 paid far less in total taxes — federal, state and local — than they would have paid 30 years ago. According to an analysis by The New York Times, the combination of all income taxes, sales taxes and property taxes took a smaller share of their income than it took from households with the same inflation-adjusted income in 1980.
Households earning more than $200,000 benefited from the largest percentage declines in total taxation as a share of income. Middle-income households benefited, too. More than 85 percent of households with earnings above $25,000 paid less in total taxes than comparable households in 1980.
Lower-income households, however, saved little or nothing. Many pay no federal income taxes, but they do pay a range of other levies, like federal payroll taxes, state sales taxes and local property taxes. Only about half of taxpaying households with incomes below $25,000 paid less in 2010....
Friday, November 30, 2012 - 14:06
The Cyrus Cylinder — one of the most famous objects in the British Museum — will travel from its home in London to five museums in the United States next year.
Often referred to as “the first bill of human rights” because its inscription encourages freedom of worship throughout the Persian Empire, it is a small clay object — not quite nine inches long — bearing an account, in Babylonian cuneiform, by Cyrus, the King of Persia of his conquest of Babylon in 539 B.C. The cylinder was found in what was once Babylon, now Iraq, in 1879 during a British Museum excavation and has been on display at the museum ever since. It is one of the most famous objects to have survived from the ancient world....
Thursday, November 29, 2012 - 18:49
Before 1917, senators could delay final votes on legislation by holding the floor and talking. There was no mechanism to stop them, but such filibusters were rare until the debates surrounding entry into World War I. In 1917, the Senate adopted its first “cloture” rule: two-thirds of the Senate could cut off debate on a bill and force a final vote.
Between 1917 and 1971, no session of Congress had more than 10 such votes in its two years. Still, filibusters were common enough that in 1971, Mr. Byrd, a master of Senate procedure, shifted the rules to allow the Senate to take up other legislation during a filibuster.
That change began an escalation of tactics, in which both delays and attempts at circumventing delays have become more common, with one often leading to more of another. Moves by the minority to obstruct bills elicited responses from the majority worsening the environment.
In the 93rd Senate, which met in 1973 and 1974, the number of cloture motions filed — a rough measure of filibuster threats — jumped to 31, from an average of fewer than two per Congressional term between 1917 and 1970. Throughout much of the next two decades, cloture votes continued to rise, regardless of which party was in the minority, with many such motions filed in anticipation of filibusters.
Wednesday, November 28, 2012 - 01:15
Obelisks that stood upright for generations at Green-Wood Cemetery, perpetuating the memories of the Strong and Hallett and Wallace families, hit the ground at crazy angles. The angel guarding the Lloyd family plot lost its head, an arm and the tip of its wing. The headstone of an 18-year-old boy, overturned by a falling pin oak, rests upside down beside its pedestal. “Thy will be done,” it says.
Hurricane Sandy ran roughly through cemeteries around New York City, but it devastated Green-Wood in Brooklyn, a designated National Historic Landmark. High winds destroyed or badly damaged at least 292 of the mature trees that lend so much beauty to the picturesque grounds — oak, maple, beech, linden, pine, tulip, cherry and Bradford pear.
Because many trees and branches remain where they fell on Oct. 29, cemetery officials have not had the chance to assess how many monuments, headstones and ornamental fences were crushed, shattered or overturned. Certainly, dozens were damaged...
Richard J. Moylan, the president of Green-Wood, said he had never witnessed such destruction in his 40 years at the cemetery. He estimated the clean-up would cost at least $500,000. Much of the clearing work is being performed by the cemetery’s own grounds crews, who are working six-day weeks. Mr. Moylan said he did not know yet how he would pay all the recovery costs.
The storm apparently spared the resting places of Green-Wood’s most famous occupants — Leonard Bernstein, Louis Comfort Tiffany and William M. Tweed among them — though a falling London plane came close to the grave of the artist Jean-Michel Basquiat and a beech fell to earth not far from the grave of William Poole, the 19th-century gang leader better known as Bill the Butcher...
Monday, November 26, 2012 - 14:26
PHNOM PENH, Cambodia — Four decades after American warplanes carpet-bombed this impoverished country, an American president came to visit for the first time. He came not to defend the past, nor to apologize for it. In fact, he made no public mention of it whatsoever.
President Obama’s visit to a country deeply scarred by its involvement with the United States did nothing to purge the ghosts or even address them. Mr. Obama made clear he came only because Cambodia happened to be the site for a summit meeting of Asian leaders, but given the current government’s human rights record, he was intent on avoiding much interaction with the host.
“How are you?” Mr. Obama asked Prime Minister Hun Sen when he showed up, unsmiling, for a meeting made necessary by protocol. “Good to see you.”
Those, as it turned out, were the only words he uttered publicly to or about Cambodia during his two days here. In private, aides said, Mr. Obama pressed Mr. Hun Sen about repression. While they usually characterize even the most hostile meeting in diplomatic terms, in this case they were eager to call the meeting “tense.”...
Saturday, November 24, 2012 - 13:07
LECOMPTON, Kan. — Cloaked in a top hat, frock coat, pleated shirt and cravat, Paul Bahnmaier is on a frenetic campaign to thrust his 625-person hometown into the spotlight by heralding its seismic yet little-known place in antebellum history: The first step towardAbraham Lincoln’s election as president took place here.
Over the past couple of weeks, Mr. Bahnmaier, the earnest president of the Lecompton Historical Society, has contacted every local newspaper and television station in this eastern Kansas market, urging them to publicize this blue-collar bedroom community’s story. He is reaching out to about 10 national media outlets and enlisting his sister in Wisconsin to contact the media there.
Although his passion for his hometown’s history started before he was old enough to drive, Mr. Bahnmaier, 70, deemed this a timely opening for a full-court publicity blitz because of the recent release of the Steven Spielberg movie “Lincoln.”
Friday, November 23, 2012 - 12:14
Name of source: LiveScience
Call it a card player's dream. A complete set of 52 silver playing cards gilded in gold and dating back 400 years has been discovered.
Created in Germany around 1616, the cards were engraved by a man named Michael Frömmer, who created at least one other set of silver cards.
According to a story, backed up by a 19th-century brass plate, the cards were at one point owned by a Portuguese princess who fled the country, cards in hand, after Napoleon's armies invaded in 1807.
At the time they were created in 1616 no standardized cards existed; different parts of Europe had their own card styles. This particular set uses a suit seen in Italy, with swords, coins, batons and cups in values from ace to 10. Each of these suits has three face cards — king, knight (also known as cavalier) and knave. There are no jokers. [See Photos of the Silver Playing Cards]...
Friday, November 30, 2012 - 13:59
Name of source: CBS News
NORFOLK, Va. -- On Saturday, a legendary naval veteran will retire after a half-century of service. The USS Enterprise was the world's first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier and traveled the world in war and in peace.
In five decades as one of the most powerful warships on the sea, the USS Enterprise's moment of greatest peril came one morning in 1969 during a final battle drill before heading to Vietnam....
"On each F-4 Phantom, there were eight five-inch rockets and six 500-pound bombs," says [Michael] Carlin, the author of TRIAL: Ordeal of the USS Enterprise 14 January, 1969.
The exhaust from a service vehicle overheated the fuse on one of those rockets, touching off what one sailor called "the vortex of hell" -- and all of it was recorded in silent horror by a deck camera.
Friday, November 30, 2012 - 00:43
Name of source: Bloomberg News
Central Intelligence Agency employees murdered military scientist Frank Olson in 1953 after he raised concerns about testing chemical and biological weapons on human subjects without their consent, according to a lawsuit brought by his two sons.
Eric and Nils Olson, in a complaint filed against the U.S. yesterday in Washington, said the agency has covered up the cause of their father’s death for 59 years. Frank Olson, who the CIA admitted was given LSD a few days before his death, didn’t jump from a 13th floor window of the Statler Hotel in New York City, but rather was pushed, they claim.
“The circumstances surrounding the death mirrored those detailed in an assassination manual that, upon information and belief, the CIA had drafted that same year,” Scott Gilbert, a lawyer for the Olsons, wrote in the complaint.
Thursday, November 29, 2012 - 18:59
Name of source: LA Times
In "Hyde Park on Hudson," the retelling of the visit of the king and queen of England to President Franklin D. Roosevelt in upstate New York in 1939, there's a particularly remarkable scene: Roosevelt's mother — who owned the house where everyone stayed — had purchased a brand-new toilet seat for the royals. But after they left she returned it to the store where she bought it. The shop owner was delighted, hanging the seat in his front window. That's in the movie — and it happened in real life.
"People will think that was made up," says screenwriter Richard Nelson. "But that's hard to make up, and it's all true."
Writing historically based films — whether in invented worlds or periods of actual history — can be tricky: Truth is often stranger than fiction, yet writers must fictionalize on some level to make the truth both understood by audiences and to stay true to the period. In such films as "Hyde Park," "Argo," "Hitchcock," "Moonrise Kingdom," "Lincoln" and "Not Fade Away," each screenwriter wrestled with different demons to create verisimilitude along with the action, adventure and, well, history....
Thursday, November 29, 2012 - 18:56
Name of source: Religion News Service
...“Today’s secessionist movements are just the latest example of a long parade of breakaway groups (in American history) seeking to restore some lost ideal,” said Peter J. Thuesen, professor of religious studies at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis. “The problem is that the ideal is invariably a mirage.”
Seeking purity through separation has marked American religious history since the Puritans sailed from Holland to establish a holy beacon in the New World. It helps explain why Baptists, Presbyterians and others have splintered into countless subgroups over the years, and why the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina disaffiliated from the Episcopal Church this fall....
Secessionists, such as Russell Longcore of Marietta, Ga., take inspiration from history. He sees secession as pursuit of God-given liberty, such as when American colonies seceded from Britain in 1776, when Southern states left the Union in the 1860s and when the Soviet Union dissolved into 15 separate states two decades ago....
Thursday, November 29, 2012 - 16:19
Name of source: Fox News
Is this [CLICK LINK] a photograph of the iceberg that did the unthinkable: sinking the RMS Titanic?
On April 12, 1912, Captain W. F. Wood aboard the steamer S. S. Etonian photographed a massive iceberg with a distinctive elliptical shape. Wood found the picture remarkable enough to print it out and annotate it with the current latitude and longitude.
Two days later, on April 14, the “unsinkable” Titanic struck an iceberg and sank to bottom of the Atlantic Ocean. That iceberg had the same elliptical shape, according to sketches made on the ship. Wood had captured the remarkable piece of ice, said Craig Sophin, a Titanic expert and consultant to the auctioneers.
Thursday, November 29, 2012 - 16:00
Name of source: Discovery News
An 11th-century book by a revered Baghdad Muslim scholar turns out to be a tongue-in-cheek guide for party crashers, according to the researcher who translated the book into English.
The tome was originally authored by al-Khatib al-Baghdadi, a well known scholar of the Prophet Mohammed's teachings.
According to Emily Selove of the University of Manchester, who did the translation, he wrote the book to remind readers "that every serious minded person needs to take a break."...
Wednesday, November 28, 2012 - 12:25
Italian researchers have exhumed the tomb of Giovanni de' Medici, one of the most celebrated condottieri (mercenary soldiers) of the Renaissance, in a bid to understand the life and death of the charismatic 16th century army commander.
Also known as "Giovanni dalle Bande Nere" for the black bands of mourning he wore after the death of Pope Leo X, this member of one of the lesser branches of the wealthy Florentine Medici family is buried in the Medici Chapels in Flo rence with his wife, Maria Salviati.
The couple married in 1516, when she was 17 and he was 18. The marriage produced only one child: Cosimo I, who reigned as the first Grand Duke of Tuscany, creating the Uffizi and the magnificent Boboli Gardens as well as finishing the Pitti Palace....
Monday, November 26, 2012 - 13:42
Name of source: Telegraph (UK)
A lost squadron of Spitfires buried in Burma after the Second World War could be flying again within three years, experts said today.
Archaeologists will begin digging for the historic hoard of at least 36 British fighter planes in January.
A proportion of the aircraft will then be carefully packaged and brought back to the UK next spring, where they will be restored.
David Cundall, a farmer and aviation enthusiast from Scunthorpe, Lincs, has spent 16 years researching the project after being told about the burial by a group of US veterans....
Wednesday, November 28, 2012 - 11:48
If you’re feeling washed out, fed up or downright lousy, World War One is to blame.
New research has shown how the conflict meant that hundreds of words and phrases came into common parlance thanks to the trenches.
Among the list of everyday terms found to have originated or spread from the conflict are cushy, snapshot, bloke, wash out, conk out, blind spot, binge drink and pushing up daisies.
The research has been conducted by Peter Doyle, a military historian, and Julian Walker, an etymologist, who have analysed thousands of documents from the period — including letters from the front, trench newspapers, diaries, books and official military records - to trace how language changed during the four years of the war....
Monday, November 26, 2012 - 13:40
The men on board the 1901-04 Discovery expedition were forced to endure freezing temperatures, 24-hour stretches of darkness and risked cabin fever after becoming stuck in the ice.
They were hailed for their “heroic” dedication to exploration, with the scientific research into the harsh and largely untouched continent launching Robert Falcon Scott and Ernest Shackleton to prominence.
It now appears the inhospitable conditions were made a little easier by the ship’s library, which included two books by children’s author Lewis Carroll.
The 1889 story Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and 1901’s Through the Looking Glass are now known to have nestled among the more serious scientific and navigational tomes on the mess deck....
Monday, November 26, 2012 - 13:39
Name of source: WaPo's Fact Checker
This assertion by creator of the anti-tax pledge caught our attention. Did the 41st president fail to be reelected mainly because he reversed his famous pledge of “Read my lips: No new taxes”?
Bush, of course, had famously promised not to raise taxes in his acceptance speech at the 1988 Republican convention, no matter how much pressure he faced from Congress. But then a soaring budget deficit — and a refusal by the Democratic-led Congress to accept only spending cuts — led him accept a tax hike in late 1990.
The 1992 race was not just between Bill Clinton and Bush, but also businessman Ross Perot, who took 19 percent of the popular vote (but won no electoral votes.) The three-person race was a key reason why Bush won only 38 percent of the vote — and Clinton 43 percent.
Let’s take a stroll down memory lane....
Tuesday, November 27, 2012 - 23:48
Name of source: Noisecreep
Steven Roby is arguably the world's most knowledgeable Hendrix historian. Throughout his career, Roby has been credited for his research in six Hendrix biographies and two Hendrix album reissue packages, plus he also worked for Experience Hendrix, LLC, a Hendrix family-owned company founded by James "Al" Hendrix, the legendary guitarist's father.
Roby recently released Hendrix on Hendrix: Interviews and Encounters with Jimi Hendrix, a collection of some of the best Hendrix interviews, including his final interview given the week before he died.
Noisecreep spoke with Roby to get more insight on the influential guitarist.
First off, how did you gain access to all of these interviews? You must have the world's most extensive Hendrix archive.
I've been a fan and collector since I was 12. I discovered a growing collector's network shortly after Hendrix died, and started assembling my own archives. I've spent the past forty years or so tracking down people that either interviewed Jimi or knew him well. It still amazes me that are some tapes still out there tucked away in people's attics that they just don't know what to do with. I met a guy in Seattle not too long ago who recorded Hendrix in Florida in 1970. It's a tape that a select few have heard. Sometimes it feels like being a detective....
Tuesday, November 27, 2012 - 23:34
Name of source: Huffington Post
MADISON, Wis. — Newly declassified documents show the FBI kept close tabs on Soviet dictator Josef Stalin's only daughter after her high profile defection to the United States in 1967, gathering details from informants about how her arrival was affecting international relations.
The documents were released Monday to The Associated Press under the Freedom of Information Act following Lana Peters' death last year at age 85 in a Wisconsin nursing home. Her defection to the West during the Cold War embarrassed the ruling communists and made her a best-selling author. And her move was a public relations coup for the U.S.
One April 28, 1967, memo details a conversation with a confidential source who said the defection would have a "profound effect" for anyone else thinking of trying to leave the Soviet Union. The source claimed to have discussed the defection with a Czechoslovak journalist covering the United Nations and a member of the Czechoslovakia "Mission staff."...
Tuesday, November 27, 2012 - 23:28
BISHOP, Calif. — Rock carvings that graced a sacred American Indian site in California's Sierra Nevada for thousands of years have fallen prey to modern thieves armed with power saws.
At least four petroglyphs – some 2 feet wide and located 15 feet above the ground – were hacked from lava cliffs in the Eastern Sierra, the Los Angeles Times ( ) reported Sunday. http://lat.ms/Q3YdXQ
Visitors to the area, known as Volcanic Tableland, discovered the theft and reported it to the federal Bureau of Land Management on Oct. 31.
"This was the worst act of vandalism ever seen" on the 750,000 acres of public land administered by the BLM field office in Bishop, BLM archaeologist Greg Haverstock told the newspaper....
Monday, November 26, 2012 - 13:43
Murgan Salem al-Gohary, an Egyptian jihadist who claims he has links to the Taliban, has called for the “destruction of the Sphinx and the Giza Pyramids in Egypt."
Al-Gohary, an Islamist leader and jihadist sentenced twice under President Hosni Mubarak for advocating violence, urged Muslims to "destroy the idols" in Egypt -- specifically the Giza Pyramids and the Great Sphinx -- during a television interview on Saturday on Egypt's Dream TV, according to Al Arabiya News.
“God ordered Prophet Mohammed to destroy idols,” he said, according to Al Arabiya News. “When I was with the Taliban we destroyed the statue of Buddha, something the government failed to do.”...
Monday, November 26, 2012 - 09:48
Name of source: New Yorker
For one party to win a majority of House seats with a minority of votes is a relatively rare occurrence. It has now happened five times in the past hundred years. In 1914 and 1942, the Democrats were the beneficiaries. In 1952, 1996, and this year, it was the Republicans’ turn to get lucky, and their luck is likely to hold for many election cycles to come. Gerrymandering routinely gets blamed for such mismatches, but that’s only part of the story. Far more important than redistricting is just plain districting: because so many Democrats are city folk, large numbers of Democratic votes pile up redundantly in overwhelmingly one-sided districts. Even having district lines drawn by neutral commissions instead of by self-serving politicians wouldn’t do much to alter this built-in structural bias. Of course, the perversities of our peculiar electoral machinery can cut both ways. Before November 6th, there was much speculation that Obama, like Bush in 2000, might lose the popular vote while winning in the electoral college. It didn’t happen, but the speculation was far from idle. If Romney had run more strongly throughout the country, he might have beaten Obama by as many as two million votes and still have lost the Presidency.
Even so, the reëlection of a Republican House was no more a repudiation of, for example, levying modestly higher taxes on the highest incomes than was the reëlection of the President or the strengthening of the Democratic majority in the Senate. “You know what? It won’t kill the country if we raise taxes a little bit on millionaires,” William Kristol, the editor of The Weekly Standard, a kind of Human Events for non-dummies, mused the other day on Fox News, of all places. Similar heresies are beginning to be whispered on Capitol Hill. But, given the track record of the past four years, it would be unwise to bet the farm on the proposition that the G.O.P. will edge away from nihilist obstructionism anytime soon. Stage 5, “Acceptance,” is still a few Republicans shy of a quorum....
Tuesday, November 27, 2012 - 23:20
Name of source: Kansas City Star
Last month, a visitor delivered a small plastic bag containing several tree seeds to the Truman Library in Independence.
The seeds had fallen from trees, still standing, that survived the atomic bombing of Hiroshima in 1945. Clifton Truman Daniel, eldest grandson of former president Harry Truman, had been presented them this summer in Japan.
Library officials hope to plant the seeds in Powell Gardens and -- when saplings are sufficiently mature -- transplant them to the library grounds....
Saturday, November 24, 2012 - 12:07