Category Archives: World News

How The 50th Anniversary Of President Lincoln’s Assassination Was Observed

With The JFK Assassination Anniversary Approaching, A Look At  How The Nation Remembered President Lincoln On The 50th Anniversary Of His Assassination – April 15, 1915

Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper April 29 1865

Leading up to November 22, 2013, there has been an abundance of media recalling the fateful weekend fifty years ago when President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas.

Over the years many parallels and coincidences have been drawn between the assassinations of President’s Lincoln and Kennedy. Several of these are urban legends-  i.e. Lincoln’s secretary was named Kennedy; Kennedy’s secretary was named Lincoln. Kennedy’s secretary was named Lincoln, but there is no evidence Lincoln had a secretary named Kennedy. But some parallels are true: Both presidents were shot on a Friday in the presence of their wives. Both presidents were shot in the head. Both presidents were accompanied by another couple, etc.

Burlington Weekly Free Press April 15, 1915 - click to enlarge

Burlington Weekly Free Press April 15, 1915 – click to enlarge

For the 50th anniversary of Lincoln’s assassination the media coverage was not the front page kind that the Kennedy assassination is receiving now. Obviously in the 21st century we have film, TV radio, magazines, newspapers and of course the internet to propagate thousands of stories about JFK and the assassination.

In 1915 print reigned supreme as the main mass medium, with motion picture newsreels still in their infancy.

Surprisingly, in the days leading up to and after the date of the 50th anniversary of the Lincoln assassination, newspaper and magazine stories were not that widespread.

So how exactly did the nation remember the martyred president on the 50th anniversary of his assassination and what were the stories about?

Many newspapers covered the fact that President Woodrow Wilson issued an executive order that on Thursday April 15, 1915 to mark the 50th anniversary of the death of President Abraham Lincoln, that all the executive offices be closed. The American flag would be placed at half staff on all public buildings, forts, military posts and United States vessels.

New York Governor Charles S. Whitman also issued a proclamation that mirrored part of President Wilson’s executive order by  ordering the lowering of all flags on public buildings.

In the week leading up to the anniversary some newspapers such as The Washington Herald ran a series of long stories surrounding little known facts about Lincoln and his last days in office. The series included profiles of the assassin John Wilkes Booth and other key people, accounts of the assassination itself and the aftermath.

Like the current coverage of Kennedy’s assassination, a lot of the stories in 1915 are about the assassin and the conspiracy rather than about Lincoln. Continue reading

The Strange Origin Of Modern Building Fire Laws In Britain

Why Every Employee Must Be Able To Reach A Fire Exit In Under Two And A Half Minutes

Empire Theatre Fire photo Edinburgh Libraries and Museums and Galleries

Empire Theatre Fire photo Edinburgh Libraries and Museums and Galleries

The Telegraph just featured an interesting interview with Professor of Fire and Structures at Edinburgh University, Luke Bisby.

Professor Bisby does something I also do as well, which is when I enter a building I have never visited, I check how to get out of the building and where the fire exits are. Of course he looks at other factors that the average person wouldn’t take into account such as what is hanging on the walls and what the carpeting is made of.

Among the topics discussed was: why there are such tough safety rules in place in case of a fire in office worker’s buildings in the U.K.. The answer he provides is fascinating:

It may not be a surprise to learn that there are tight regulations surrounding the positioning and width of fire exits, and their location relative to workers’ desks, in a modern office.

But the basis for the stringent rules, which state that every employee must be able to reach a fire exit within two-and-a-half minutes, and that fire doors must be wide enough for all employees to pass through within the same time frame, is scarcely to be believed.

“This two-and-a-half minutes is the fundamental basis on which the built environment can exist,” Prof Bisby said. “You would presume there must be a good reason for it.

“The reason is that two-and-a-half minutes is, I’m told, the mean length of God Save the Queen. The British national anthem, when played in full, by a concert orchestra.”

The stipulation can be traced back to a fire at Edinburgh’s Empire Palace Theatre in 1911 which broke out during a performance by a French illusionist named The Great Lafayette, he explained. Continue reading

Woman Missing For 28 Years Found Buried In False Wall In Her Own Home

Getting Away With Murder

photo Poughkeepsie Journal

photo © Poughkeepsie Journal

It’s cases like this one that leave me scratching my head.

JoAnn Nichols, a 55-year-old elementary school teacher in Poughkeepsie, New York went missing December 20, 1985. Her husband, James I. Nichols Jr. notified the police the next day and gave them a note supposedly from his wife indicating despondency.

James I. Nichols Jr. died December 21, 2012, at the age of 82 in the home he shared with his missing wife. There were no relatives to claim his body and the dissolution of the estate fell to Dutchess County.

Neighbors, co-workers and former students never forgot Mrs. Nichols. They wondered where she had gone and what had happened to her. The police never found JoAnn Nichols and it became a cold case.

It took a contractor doing renovations in the home at 720 Vassar Road on June 28, to discover a false wall in the basement that contained a sealed container which held the remains of JoAnn Nichols. The cause of death has been determined to be blunt force trauma to the head. Homicide.

How the police never searched the house thoroughly at the time of the disappearance is perturbing.

It looks as if James I. Nichols Jr. got away with murder.

Your Wasted Presidential Vote

2012 Election Over, Same Problems, No Solutions

Last night I tuned in briefly to watch the Presidential election results knowing full well that my candidate would not win.

Not because I had voted for Mitt Romney.

Gary Johnson

For the eighth consecutive Presidential election I voted for a 3rd party candidate.  In this case, Libertarian, Gary Johnson.

While watching the results come in a friend called me and asked who I had voted for. When I told her Gary Johnson, she thought I was kidding and then realized that I was serious and quite sternly reprimanded me by saying, “why did you waste your vote?”

I replied,  “I believe that of the 120 million who voted, more than half voted not for Barack Obama or Mitt Romney, but against them.”

“Gary Johnson was the candidate who presented the best ideas, that’s why I voted for him. I didn’t waste my vote.”

This logic did not persuade my friend. She insisted my logic was faulty and I had wasted my vote.

What would happen if more people voted for the person they felt would do the best job, instead of voting for a candidate they didn’t really like?

Maybe we’d have more people in government representing “we the people.”

1924 Presidential candidate Robert La Follette Sr.

1980 Presidential candidate John Anderson

1992 & 96 Presidential candidate H. Ross Perot

 

 

 

 

 

Over one million people agreed with my assessment and voted for Gary Johnson. Another 396,000 people voted for Green Party candidate Jill Stein. Over 200,000 votes were cast for others.  One day, hopefully, the United States will have more than two parties. Instead of complaining about sending the same political hacks back to office, maybe people should wake up and do something about changing the status quo.

I didn’t waste my vote. Did you?

The First $2 Billion Bank

Chase Bank Had Two Billion Dollars In Deposits During The Depression

In New York City on June 30, 1930 The Chase National bank announced it had deposits of $2,065,434,000.

It was the first time in history that any bank’s deposits had topped the two billion dollar figure.

Chase achieved this lofty figure by a series of mergers. On June 2, 1930 Chase merged with The Equitable Trust Company and The Interstate Trust Company. Chase had also merged in the past year with National Park bank. These mergers increased Chase’s deposits by over one billion dollars in less than a year.

Eighty years later some banks lose significantly more than that sum in a bad quarter.

According to their annual report as of December 30, 2011, JP Morgan Chase, as the company is now known, has total assets of $2.265 trillion dollars.

Unique Antique Vampire Slaying Kit Up For Auction

Die, Dracula, Die!

On June 22, 2012 at Tennants Auctioneers in Yorkshire, England, a 19th century vampire slaying kit will be auctioned off.

Practically everything you would need to kill a fictional character is included. The kit,  housed in a mahogany box, contains a mallet and stakes, a pistol, a silver bullet mold, glass bottles containing holy water and holy earth, garlic, rosary beads, a bible, a crucifix and a handwritten psalm.  It is believed that the kit was made in earnest in the late 19th century. It is being consigned by a woman who inherited it from her uncle.

Because vampire sightings are on the rise and people are looking for extra security from the living dead, the auction has been attracting wordwide attention. The presale estimate of £1,500-2,000 (US $2,300 – 3,100) is probably on the low side considering the number of Dracula fans and strange goths who file down their teeth into fangs believing they are vampires.

UPDATE 7/25/12 – The final hammer price was £7,500 (US$11,700)!

Foreign Country Pays 11 Americans $350,000 Who Were There Illegally

Has Protecting Illegals Gone Too Far?

Suppose a group of Americans went to China, Mexico or Saudi Arabia and overstayed their welcome by a few months or years. The immigration agents for that country discover their whereabouts, raid the homes where the Americans are living, arrest them and begin proceedings for deportation.

But then the Americans file suit, and the government not only stops the deportation, but eventually agrees to pay the illegal Americans $350,000 in a settlement that allows them to stay indefinitely.

Sounds crazy, right?

If the scenario described above occurred in any of those countries mentioned, the illegal American aliens would have been jailed,  punished, and deported.

Well of course this didn’t happen in any of those countries. This situation occurred in Connecticut, right here in the good ol’ USA. And obviously the parable does not involve American citizens, but illegal aliens.

As bizarre as it sounds, illegal immigrants successfully sued the U.S. federal government because their rights were violated and they were paid a $350,000 settlement.

The complete story reported here in detail by the Yale Daily News will raise questions about what is and what is not protected under the United States Constitution. It will also undoubtedly anger many Americans.

How could this happen? Continue reading

Life In 1909 – Random News And Advertising

What Was Happening On January 21, 1909

I picked a random day 103 years ago to see what was in the news. I read the entire New York Times newspaper for Thursday, January 21, 1909 to come up with the some interesting stories and unusual items.  The paper was only 18 pages! The major differences compared to current newspapers: few photographs accompany any story and  articles of different types are interspersed on the same page, so the news is not sectioned by category.  I have put the article summary in blue and my comments are in black italics.

Crowds flocked to the Auto Show at Madison Square Garden. Lots of famous people showed up including Colonel John Jacob Astor and Mr. & Mrs. George J. Gould. There was a selection in gasoline powered and electric cars on display.

Not many people realize that in the early days of automobile manufacturing gasoline and electric cars were battling for market share. Steam cars were also an option, but were left unmentioned in the article.  Before 1909 over 600 companies in the United States had at one time started manufacturing automobiles and half of them had already run out of business.  An estimated 200,000 automobiles were in use in the United States according to the  Association of Licensed Automobile Manufacturers. What would our current energy situation be like today had the electric car won the battle for vehicular supremacy over the gasoline powered engine?

An advertisement for Renault showed they led all automobile companies in US imports with 214 in 1907 and 244 in 1908.

The runner-up for sales in each year (by half as much) were in order: Mercedes, Fiat and Panhard?!

The Conference Committee of the Independent Telephone Officers to meet the following week on plans to build a long distance telephone line from Boston to Omaha. The cost: $5,000,000 immediate expenditure and $30,000,000 over the next four years! Continue reading

The Best Presidential Candidate In The 2012 Election

Vermin Supreme – Would Make A Better President Than Obama, Romney, Paul, Huntsman, Gingrich, Perry and Santorum

vermin supremeIf you have never heard of Vermin Supreme or that he is running for President you are not alone. He has not taken out any advertising and the mainstream media ignores him. But through youtube and other web sites, Vermin Supreme is making his candidacy known.

The only Presidential candidate who wears a boot on his head, Vermin Supreme has a simple platform:

  • Dental Hygiene Law
  • Flying Monkey Public Safety Assurance Program
  • Time Travel Research Funding
  • An Energy Program Which Harnesses the Awesome Power of The Zombies
  • Free Pony’s For All Americans

Vermin Supreme really is running for President. The satirist was invited to share the dais with the other Lesser-Known Democratic Candidates Presidential Forum which was held December 19, 2011 and hosted by the New Hampshire Institute of Politics at Saint Anselm College. The forum shows Mr Supreme at his best.

Randall Terry, the notorious anti-abortion activist, is the candidate who gets Mr. Supreme’s attention at the end of the video.

In a previous interview with the Washington Times, Mr. Supreme was asked whether he plans to send troops back into Iraq, Mr. Supreme said he wants to send troops “everywhere.”

“I propose we will invade and we will make that country a state,” he said. “So Iraq would be our 51st state, Afghanistan would be 52nd state. and on and on. Once we change these foreigners to Americans, they will certainly love America and we’ll will be able to tax them and it will be a wonderful unified United States of the Earth. Thank you.”

The United States needs Mr. Supreme if only for relief from all the empty words emanating from our politicians mouths.

Chicago Among Cities Hosting Eleventh Annual “Leave Your Pants At Home Day”

Chicagoan’s Will Participate In Public Underwear Exhibition Tradition

From the ChicacgoNow.com CTA Tattler blog comes this story about not wearing pants in public, this Sunday January 8, 2012.

To participate all you have to do is not wear pants and go ride on your local subway system. This has been occurring for years in New York City, San Francisco, Boston and many other cities. “Leave your pants at home day” during one of the coldest months of the year could be catching on.  So if you see someone without pants on January 8, maybe it would be funny if you didn’t notice they weren’t wearing pants and asked them for change of a dollar.