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« Reply #450 on: August 04, 2014, 06:36:16 AM »

Aug 4, 1892


Lizzie Borden took an axe...
 


Andrew and Abby Borden, elderly residents of Fall River, Massachusetts, are found bludgeoned to death in their home. Lying in a pool of blood on the living room couch, Andrew's face had been nearly split in two. Abby, Lizzie's stepmother, was found upstairs with her head smashed to pieces.

The Bordens, who were considerably wealthy, lived with their two unmarried daughters, Emma and Lizzie. Since Lizzie was the only other person besides the housekeeper who was present when the bodies were found, suspicion soon fell upon her. Because of the sensational nature of the murders, the trial attracted attention from around the nation.

Despite the fact that fingerprint testing was already becoming commonplace in Europe at the time, the police were wary of its reliability, and refused to test for prints on the murder weapon—a hatchet—found in the Borden's basement. The prosecution tried to prove that Lizzie had burned a dress similar to the one she was wearing on the day of the murders and had purchased a small axe the day before. But Lizzie was a sweet-looking Christian woman and the jury took only 90 minutes to decide that she could never commit such a heinous crime.

Although she was now an orphaned heiress rather than a convicted murderess, the media continued to portray Lizzie as the perpetrator. Her story is still remembered today mostly because of the infamous rhyme:

Lizzie Borden took an axe,
And gave her mother forty whacks;
When she saw what she had done,
She gave her father forty-one.

Ignoring the taunts, Lizzie lived the high life until her death in 1927. She was buried in the family plot next to her parents.

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« Reply #451 on: August 05, 2014, 01:10:20 AM »

Aug 5, 1858


First transatlantic telegraph cable completed
   
 

After several unsuccessful attempts, the first telegraph line across the Atlantic Ocean is completed, a feat accomplished largely through the efforts of American merchant Cyrus West Field.

The telegraph was first developed by Samuel F. B. Morse, an artist-turned-inventor who conceived of the idea of the electric telegraph in 1832. Several European inventors had proposed such a device, but Morse worked independently and by the mid 1830s had built a working telegraph instrument. In the late 1830s, he perfected Morse Code, a set of signals that could represent language in telegraph messages. In May 1844, Morse inaugurated the world's first commercial telegraph line with the message "What hath God wrought," sent from the U.S. Capitol to a railroad station in Baltimore. Within a decade, more than 20,000 miles of telegraph cable crisscrossed the country. The rapid communication it made possible greatly aided American expansion, making railroad travel safer as it provided a boost to business conducted across the great distances of a growing United States.

In 1854, Cyrus West Field conceived the idea of the telegraph cable and secured a charter to lay a well-insulated line across the floor of the Atlantic Ocean. Obtaining the aid of British and American naval ships, he made four unsuccessful attempts, beginning in 1857. In July 1858, four British and American vessels--the Agamemnon, the Valorous, the Niagara, and the Gorgon--met in mid-ocean for the fifth attempt. On July 29, the Niagara and the Gorgon, with their load of cable, departed for Trinity Bay, Newfoundland, while the Agamemnon and the Valorous embarked for Valentia, Ireland. By August 5, the cable had been successfully laid, stretching nearly 2,000 miles across the Atlantic at a depth often of more than two miles. On August 16, President James Buchanan and Queen Victoria exchanged formal introductory and complimentary messages. Unfortunately, the cable proved weak and the current insufficient and by the beginning of September had ceased functioning.

Field later raised new funds and made new arrangements. In 1866, the British ship Great Eastern succeeded in laying the first permanent telegraph line across the Atlantic Ocean. Cyrus West Field was the object of much praise on both sides of the Atlantic for his persistence in accomplishing what many thought to be an impossible undertaking. He later promoted other oceanic cables, including telegraph lines that stretched from Hawaii to Asia and Australia.

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« Reply #452 on: August 06, 2014, 01:29:20 AM »

Aug 6, 1890


First execution by electric chair




At Auburn Prison in New York, the first execution by electrocution in history is carried out against William Kemmler, who had been convicted of murdering his lover, Matilda Ziegler, with an axe.

Electrocution as a humane means of execution was first suggested in 1881 by Dr. Albert Southwick, a dentist. Southwick had witnessed an elderly drunkard "painlessly" killed after touching the terminals of an electrical generator in Buffalo, New York. In the prevalent form of execution at the time--death by hanging--the condemned were known to hang by their broken necks for up to 30 minutes before succumbing to asphyxiation.

In 1889, New York's Electrical Execution Law, the first of its kind in the world, went into effect, and Edwin R. Davis, the Auburn Prison electrician, was commissioned to design an electric chair. Closely resembling the modern device, Davis' chair was fitted with two electrodes, which were composed of metal disks held together with rubber and covered with a damp sponge. The electrodes were to be applied to the criminal's head and back.

On August 6, 1890, William Kemmler became the first person to be sent to the chair. After he was strapped in, a charge of approximately 700 volts was delivered for only 17 seconds before the current failed. Although witnesses reported smelling burnt clothing and charred flesh, Kemmler was far from dead, and a second shock was prepared. The second charge was 1,030 volts and applied for about two minutes, whereupon smoke was observed coming from the head of Kemmler, who was clearly deceased. An autopsy showed that the electrode attached to his back had burned through to the spine.

Dr. Southwick applauded Kemmler's execution with the declaration, "We live in a higher civilization from this day on," while American inventor George Westinghouse, an innovator of the use of electricity, remarked, "They would have done better with an axe."

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« Reply #453 on: August 07, 2014, 01:36:38 AM »

Aug 7, 1869


Astronomer impresses Indians with eclipse
   
 

George Davidson, a prominent astronomer and explorer, impresses Alaskan Native Americans with his ability to predict a total solar eclipse.

A native of Nottingham, England, Davidson immigrated to the United States in 1832. He went to school in Philadelphia, where he proved to be a brilliant student and eventually earned a doctorate in astronomy. In 1845, he joined the U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey, and for two decades, he studied the large-scale geography of California, Oregon, and Washington.

In 1867, Davidson traveled north to the still relatively unexplored territory of Alaska. The United States government was in the midst of concluding negotiations to purchase the area from Russia, and American leaders were eager to learn more about the new territory. Davidson made initial surveys at Sitka, Chilkat, Kodiak, and the Unalaksa Islands. Much work remained to be done, though, and Davidson planned to return to the territory two years later.

In 1869, Davidson began preparations for another scientific trip, to the Chilkat Valley. He was warned, however, that the Chilkat Indians had been angered by some American provocation and might welcome him with guns and spears rather than open arms. Undaunted, Davidson proceeded with his mission. His initial meeting with the Chilkat on August 6 was tense. Davidson explained that he had come for purely scientific reasons, and he meant them no harm. He told the Chilkat that he was especially anxious to observe a total eclipse of the sun that he predicted would occur the following day. The Indians scoffed at Davidson's prediction, but they left the party in peace for the time being.

On this day in 1869, the sky grew dark over the Chilkat Valley as the moon eclipsed the sun, as Davidson had predicted. Apparently dismayed by this frightening display of power--some may have believed Davidson actually caused the eclipse rather than merely predicting it--the Chilkat fled to the woods. Thereafter, they left Davidson and his party alone, leading one historian to speculate that the astronomer's prediction may have saved the entire team from attack.

Davidson continued to be a prominent member of the scientific community until his death in 1911. Several geographic features in Alaska were named in his honor.

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« Reply #454 on: August 08, 2014, 01:25:28 AM »

Aug 8, 1974


Nixon resigns
   
 

On this day in 1974, President Richard M. Nixon resigns in the wake of the Watergate burglary scandal. He was the first president in American history to resign.

In a televised address, Nixon, flanked by his family, announced to the American public that he would step down rather than endure a Senate impeachment trial for obstruction of justice. Since 1972, Nixon had battled increasing vociferous allegations that he knew of, and may have authorized, a botched burglary in which several men were arrested for attempting to bug the offices of the Democratic National Committee, located in the Watergate Hotel in Washington, D.C. Between 1972 and 1974, the press, and later a Senate investigation committee, revealed disturbing details that revealed that Nixon had indeed attempted to cover up the crime committed by key members of his administration and re-election committee. The most damning evidence came from subpoenaed tape recordings of Nixon's White House conversations. Nixon fought the release of the tapes, which led the House of Representatives in 1973 to initiate impeachment charges against the president for obstruction of justice.

During the televised address, Nixon stated that he had never been a "quitter" and that choosing to resign went against his instincts. He refused to confess to committing the alleged high crimes and misdemeanors of which he was accused. He claimed his decision was encouraged by his political base and was in the best interests of the country and said that he hoped it would heal the political and social division caused by the Watergate scandal.

A report by the Washington Post on August 9 revealed the drama that had unfolded in the White House cabinet room an hour before Nixon's resignation speech. After saying goodbye to 46 members of Congress, including his staunchest supporters, the president told them that the "country could not operate with a half-time President," broke into tears and left the room.

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« Reply #455 on: August 08, 2014, 09:41:57 PM »

Aug 9, 378


Romans routed at Adrianople
 


In one of the most decisive battles in history, a large Roman army under Valens, the Roman emperor of the East, is defeated by the Visigoths at the Battle of Adrianople in present-day Turkey. Two-thirds of the Roman army, including Emperor Valens himself, were overrun and slaughtered by the mounted barbarians.

Crowned in 364, Emperor Valens initiated warfare against the semi-civilized Visigoths in 364 and by 369 had defeated them. Visigoths under Fritigern were given permission to settle south of the Danube in the Roman Empire but, subjected to oppressive measures by Roman officials, they soon rose in revolt. In 378, Valens marched a Roman army against Fritigern, and 10 miles from Adrianople the Romans came upon the massed barbarians. As the Visigoth cavalry was off on a forging mission, Valens ordered a hasty attack on August 9. The Romans initially drove the barbarians back, but then the Visigoth cavalry suddenly returned, routing the Romans and forcing them into retreat. The horsemen then rode down and slaughtered the fleeing Roman infantry. Some 20,000 of 30,000 men were killed, including Emperor Valens.

The decisive Visigoth victory at the Battle of Adrianople left the Eastern Roman Empire nearly defenseless and established the supremacy of cavalry over infantry that would last for the next millennium. Emperor Valens was succeeded by Theodosius the Great, who struggled to repel the hordes of Visigoth barbarians plundering the Balkan Peninsula.

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« Reply #456 on: August 10, 2014, 12:57:06 AM »

Aug 10, 2003


Temperatures in UK top 100 F for first time during European heat wave
 


On this day in 2003, the United Kingdom records its first-ever temperature over 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Throughout the month, an intense heat wave scorched the European continent, claiming more than 35,000 lives.

August 2003 was the hottest August ever recorded in the northern hemisphere and broke all previous records for heat-related deaths. France was the worst hit, with almost 15,000 victims, followed by Germany, where approximately 7,000 people died. Thousands also died in Spain and Italy. A majority of the victims were elderly, very young, or chronically ill.

When a person experiences extreme heat, their bodies can struggle to cool themselves—which can prove especially dangerous in the very old, very young or already ill. If a person's internal body temperature reaches 104 degrees Fahrenheit, the organs can began to fail and the person can eventually die. The Washington, D.C.-based Earth Policy Institute estimates that more people die every year from heat than floods, tornadoes and hurricanes combined.

In addition to directly causing deaths, the extreme heat also caused massive fires. In Portugal, 10 percent of the country's forests were destroyed and 18 people were killed in the fires. The heat also caused glacial melt, flash floods and avalanches in Switzerland.

Scientists project that, because of global warming, the earth's average temperature will continue to rise, reaching 42.44 degrees Fahrenheit by the end of the century, a gain of 2.5 degrees. Because of this, the World Meteorological Organization predicts that the number of annual heat-related deaths might double by 2023. Most researchers agree that the only way to stop the slow rise in global temperatures is to reduce levels of the carbon-dioxide emissions that contribute to global warming.

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« Reply #457 on: August 11, 2014, 02:08:03 AM »

Aug 11, 1994


Major leaguers walk off the job
 


On August 11, 1994, the longest work stoppage in major league history begins. Because of the strike, the 1994 World Series was cancelled; it was the first time baseball did not crown a champion in 89 years.


During the negotiation of a new collective bargaining agreement, tensions between owners and players had arisen over the owners’ desire to institute a cap on player salaries. Claiming financial hardship, owners argued that player salaries, which had risen exponentially since the 1970s, had become unsustainable and, if not contained, would bankrupt the teams. The players, led by union head Donald Fehr, refused to agree to a cap; they pointed out that they had been underpaid for most of the sport’s history and called salary caps just the latest form of exploitation by owners.


Until 1975, players were subject to a reserve clause that tied each player to one team for their career, destroying any free market and keeping player salaries artificially low. After the reserve clause was abolished in arbitration, free agency drove salaries up, as owners were forced to bid against one another for players’ services. After the 1985 season, owners agreed in secret not to sign one another’s players, and all 28 major league teams sat idly by during the next three off-seasons. Upon discovering the conspiracy, the players’ union sued and won a $280 million judgment.


When the collective bargaining agreement between Major League Baseball and the Players Association expired in 1994, bad blood remained and negotiations over a new deal soon turned sour. On August 12, the day after the players walked off the job, the owners locked the players out, and cancelled the rest of the 1994 season. Long-suffering fans in Montreal and Yankee fans in New York were especially disappointed, as their teams led the National League and American League, respectively, at the time of the lock-out.


In December 1994, President Clinton met with the lead negotiators of both sides, to no avail. Toward the end of March, on the eve of the new baseball season, 28 of 30 owners voted to field replacement teams, but on March 31, Judge Sonia Sontomayor stepped in, issuing an injunction against the owners. Finally, on April 2, 1995, the players returned to work.


Baseball’s fans were not forgiving. Attendance in 1995 was the lowest in years, dropping from an average 31,000 per game in 1993 to just 25,000. Fans picketed at opening day games, angry at players and owners alike. Thankfully for baseball, "The Iron Man" Cal Ripken broke Lou Gehrig’s streak for consecutive games played on September 6, 1995, which finally broke the ice. Ripken’s incredible work ethic and commitment to the game is said to have saved baseball’s place in the hearts of fans.


The collective bargaining agreement between players and owners was not renewed until 1996. When that agreement expired in 2002, owners and players, having learned the unforgiving nature of their fans in 1995, were quick to ratify a new deal.

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« Reply #458 on: August 12, 2014, 01:00:07 AM »

Aug 12, 2000


Russian sub sinks with 118 onboard
 


A Russian nuclear submarine sinks to the bottom of the Barents Sea on this day in 2000; all 118 crew members are later found dead. The exact cause of the disaster remains unknown.

The Kursk left port on August 10 to take part in war games with the Russian military. Russian ships, planes and submarines met up in the Barents Sea, which is above the Arctic Circle, to practice military maneuvers. On August 12, the Kursk was scheduled to fire a practice torpedo; at 11:29 a.m., before doing so, two explosions spaced shortly apart occurred in the front hull of the submarine and it plunged toward the bottom of the sea.

The Kursk was 500 feet long and weighed 24,000 tons. It had two nuclear reactors and could reach speeds of 28 knots. It was the largest attack submarine in the world, approximately three times the size of the largest subs in the United States Navy.

With the fate of the 118 Russian soldiers onboard the Kursk unknown, several nations offered to contribute to the rescue effort, but the Russian government refused any assistance. When divers finally reached the Kursk a week later, they found no signs of life. Under a great deal of pressure, Russian President Vladimir Putin agreed to raise the submarine from the sea bottom for an investigation, although no ship or object that size had ever before been recovered from the ocean floor. Furthermore, given that the Barents Sea is frozen for most of the year, the operation had only a small window in which to work.

Using $100 million, the best available technology and an international team of experts, the Kursk was raised on September 26, 2001, about a year after the accident. Unfortunately, however, the team was forced to cut off the front hull from the rest of the sub in order to bring it to the surface, leaving the best evidence of what caused the explosions at the bottom of the sea.

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« Reply #459 on: August 13, 2014, 01:11:15 AM »

Aug 13, 1995


Yankee legend dies
 


Former New York Yankees star Mickey Mantle dies of liver cancer at the age of 63. While "The Mick" patrolled center field and batted clean-up between 1951 and 1968, the Yankees won 12 American League pennants and seven World Series championships.


Mantle was born in Spavinaw, Oklahoma, on October 20, 1931. He grew up in nearby Commerce, and played baseball and football as a youth. With the help of his father, Mutt, and grandfather, Charlie, Mantle developed into a switch-hitter. Mutt pitched to Mantle right-handed and Charlie pitched to him left-handed every day after school. With the family’s tin barn as a backstop, Mantle perfected his swing, which his father helped model so it would be identical from either side of the plate. Mantle had natural speed and athleticism and gained strength working summers with his father in Oklahoma’s lead mines. "The Commerce Comet" eventually won a scholarship to play football for the University of Oklahoma. However, baseball was Mantle’s first love, so when the New York Yankees came calling, Mantle moved to the big city.


Mantle made his debut for the Yankees in 1951 at age 19, playing right field alongside aging center fielder Joe DiMaggio. That year, in Game 2 of the World Series, Willie Mays of the New York Giants hit a pop fly to short center, and Mantle sprinted toward the ball. DiMaggio called him off, and while slowing down, Mantle’s right shoe caught the rubber cover of a sprinkler head. "There was a sound like a tire blowing out, and my right knee collapsed," Mantle remembered in his memoir, All My Octobers. Mantle returned the next season, but by then his blazing speed had begun to deteriorate, and he ran the bases with a limp for the rest of his career.


Still, Mantle dominated the American League for more than a decade. In 1956, he won the Triple Crown, leading his league in batting average, home runs and runs batted in. His output was so great that he led both leagues in 1956, hitting .353 with 52 home runs and 130 runs batted in. He was also voted American League MVP that year, and again in 1957 and 1962. After years of brilliance, Mantle’s career began to decline by 1967, and he was forced to move to first base. The next season would be his last. Mantle was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1974 in his first year of eligibility.


Mantle’s father and son both died in their 30s, the result of Hodgkin’s disease. Mantle was sure the same fate would befall him, and joked he would have taken better care of himself if he knew he would live. In 1994, after years of alcoholism, Mantle was diagnosed with liver cancer, and urged his fans to take care of their health, saying "Don’t be like me." Although he received a liver transplant, by then the cancer had spread to his lungs, and he died at just after 2 a.m. on August 13, 1995, at the Baylor University Cancer Center in Dallas.


At the time of his death Mantle held many of the records for World Series play, including most home runs (18), most RBIs (40) and most runs (42).

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« Reply #460 on: August 14, 2014, 01:30:05 AM »

Aug 14, 1985


Michael Jackson takes control of the Beatles' publishing rights
 


It was during their collaboration on 1983's "Say Say Say" that former Beatle Paul McCartney is said to have advised King of Pop Michael Jackson to invest some of his enormous wealth in music publishing. It was sound financial advice that McCartney may have come to regret giving on this day in 1985, when Michael Jackson purchased the publishing rights to the vast majority of the Beatles' catalog for $47 million, outbidding McCartney himself.

To understand the sound business reasoning behind Jackson's move to take control of the publishing rights to some 251 Beatles' compositions, one must first understand some basic music-industry economics: Every time a copyrighted recording is exploited for commercial purposes—played on the radio, for instance, or used in a movie or television commercial—the party that uses that recording is required to pay a licensing fee. A portion of that fee will be paid out to the record label that issued the recording, and the record label, in turn, will pay a portion of its share to the performer. Separately, a portion of the licensing fee is due to the writer of the song in question. Songwriters—even those who are also performers—tend to enter into agreements with professional music-publishing companies to manage the collection of their songwriting royalties. In a typical arrangement, a publisher might take 50 percent of a songwriter's royalties in exchange for handling collections and for actively promoting the commercial use of his songs.

John Lennon and Paul McCartney, the Beatles' primary songwriters, did something slightly more complicated. The publishing agreement they signed was with a company of which they were also part owners. That company, called Northern Songs, Ltd., was formed in 1964 expressly to generate revenues from the growing catalog of Lennon-McCartney compositions. In this way, every sale or other commercial use of the song "Yesterday" earned Lennon and McCartney a songwriting royalty that they split with Northern Songs. And part of Northern Songs' share would then come back to Lennon and McCartney as part owners of the company.

In 1969, the British company Associated TeleVision completed a messy and contentious takeover of Northern Songs, which in turn led Lennon and McCartney to pull out of their contract for future compositions and to sell off their own shares in the company. More than 15 years later, in 1985, as ATV prepared to sell its entire publishing catalog, Paul McCartney anticipated purchasing it himself, only to be thwarted by Michael Jackson, who was then at the peak of his financial power.

In the years afterward, that catalog—now estimated to be worth in excess of $1 billion—allowed Jackson to remain solvent by serving as collateral for several enormous personal loans that funded his extravagant lifestyle through years of low earnings and legal difficulties. In 2008, however, Jackson gave up his remaining interest in the catalog to Sony, one of his primary creditors.

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« Reply #461 on: August 15, 2014, 01:49:48 AM »

Aug 15, 1961


Berlin Wall built
   
 
Two days after sealing off free passage between East and West Berlin with barbed wire, East German authorities begin building a wall--the Berlin Wall--to permanently close off access to the West. For the next 28 years, the heavily fortified Berlin Wall stood as the most tangible symbol of the Cold War--a literal "iron curtain" dividing Europe.

The end of World War II in 1945 saw Germany divided into four Allied occupation zones. Berlin, the German capital, was likewise divided into occupation sectors, even though it was located deep within the Soviet zone. The future of Germany and Berlin was a major sticking point in postwar treaty talks, and tensions grew when the United States, Britain, and France moved in 1948 to unite their occupation zones into a single autonomous entity--the Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany). In response, the USSR launched a land blockade of West Berlin in an effort to force the West to abandon the city. However, a massive airlift by Britain and the United States kept West Berlin supplied with food and fuel, and in May 1949 the Soviets ended the defeated blockade.

By 1961, Cold War tensions over Berlin were running high again. For East Germans dissatisfied with life under the communist system, West Berlin was a gateway to the democratic West. Between 1949 and 1961, some 2.5 million East Germans fled from East to West Germany, most via West Berlin. By August 1961, an average of 2,000 East Germans were crossing into the West every day. Many of the refugees were skilled laborers, professionals, and intellectuals, and their loss was having a devastating effect on the East German economy. To halt the exodus to the West, Soviet leader Nikita Khruschev recommended to East Germany that it close off access between East and West Berlin.

On the night of August 12-13, 1961, East German soldiers laid down more than 30 miles of barbed wire barrier through the heart of Berlin. East Berlin citizens were forbidden to pass into West Berlin, and the number of checkpoints in which Westerners could cross the border was drastically reduced. The West, taken by surprise, threatened a trade embargo against East Germany as a retaliatory measure. The Soviets responded that such an embargo be answered with a new land blockade of West Berlin. When it became evident that the West was not going to take any major action to protest the closing, East German authorities became emboldened, closing off more and more checkpoints between East and West Berlin. On August 15, they began replacing barbed wire with concrete. The wall, East German authorities declared, would protect their citizens from the pernicious influence of decadent capitalist culture.

The first concrete pilings went up on the Bernauer Strasse and at the Potsdamer Platz. Sullen East German workers, a few in tears, constructed the first segments of the Berlin Wall as East German troops stood guarding them with machine guns. With the border closing permanently, escape attempts by East Germans intensified on August 15. Conrad Schumann, a 19-year-old East German soldier, provided the subject for a famous image when he was photographed leaping over the barbed-wire barrier to freedom.

During the rest of 1961, the grim and unsightly Berlin Wall continued to grow in size and scope, eventually consisting of a series of concrete walls up to 15 feet high. These walls were topped with barbed wire and guarded with watchtowers, machine gun emplacements, and mines. By the 1980s, this system of walls and electrified fences extended 28 miles through Berlin and 75 miles around West Berlin, separating it from the rest of East Germany. The East Germans also erected an extensive barrier along most of the 850-mile border between East and West Germany.

In the West, the Berlin Wall was regarded as a major symbol of communist oppression. About 5,000 East Germans managed to escape across the Berlin Wall to the West, but the frequency of successful escapes dwindled as the wall was increasingly fortified. Thousands of East Germans were captured during attempted crossings and 191 were killed.

In 1989, East Germany's communist regime was overwhelmed by the democratization sweeping across Eastern Europe. On the evening of November 9, 1989, East Germany announced an easing of travel restrictions to the West, and thousands demanded passage though the Berlin Wall. Faced with growing demonstrations, East German border guards opened the borders. Jubilant Berliners climbed on top of the Berlin Wall, painted graffiti on it, and removed fragments as souvenirs. The next day, East German troops began dismantling the wall. In 1990, East and West Germany were formally reunited.

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« Reply #462 on: August 15, 2014, 10:46:21 PM »

Madonna is born bitches!!!! Even this Getbigger has her greatest hits collection, A true Icon.

Aug 16, 1958


Madonna born
 

On this day in 1958, Madonna Louise Ciccone, the entertainment icon later known around the world by her first name only, is born near Detroit, Michigan. After rising to stardom as a pop singer and dancer in the 1980s, Madonna added acting to her resume, with roles in such films as Desperately Seeking Susan, Dick Tracy, A League of Their Own and Evita. The provocative performer, who often tackled sexual and religious themes in her work, also became famous for her ever-changing hairstyles and fashion sense as well as her personal life, which remains an ongoing source of fascination to the tabloid media.

Madonna was raised in a Catholic family in the suburbs of Detroit. After dropping out of the University of Michigan in 1978, the future “Material Girl” moved to New York City to become a dancer. She burst onto the music scene in 1982 with her dance single “Everybody,” which was followed by her self-titled debut album in 1983. She performed the title track of her second album, Like a Virgin, at the first MTV Video Music Awards in 1984, wearing her trademark “Boy Toy” belt. Like a Virgin, Madonna’s first album to reach the No. 1 spot on the music charts, was followed by True Blue (1986) and Like a Prayer (1989), both of which also reached the top of the charts and helped establish her as one of the best-selling artists of the 1980s. Other albums have included Bedtime Stories (1994), Ray of Light (1998), Music (2000), American Life (2003), Confessions on a Dance Floor (2005) and Hard Candy (2008). In March 2008, the chameleonic hitmaker was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Madonna made her acting debut in Desperately Seeking Susan (1985), which was followed by Shanghai Surprise (1986), co-starring her first husband, Sean Penn, and Who’s That Girl (1987). In Dick Tracy (1990), Madonna acted opposite Warren Beatty, with whom she became romantically involved during filming. In 1991, she starred in Madonna: Truth or Dare?, a behind-the-scenes documentary about her “Blonde Ambition” tour. In 1992, Madonna caused a scandal with her Erotica album as well as a controversial, adult-themed book of photos titled Sex. Also that year, she appeared on the big-screen in A League of Their Own, a well-received movie about an all-female baseball league, co-starring Tom Hanks, Geena Davis and Rosie O’Donnell.

In 1996, Madonna took on her most ambitious role yet, playing Eva Peron, the celebrated former first lady of Argentina, in the film adaptation of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical Evita. She received a Golden Globe for Best Actress for the performance. In 2000, Madonna appeared in the critically derided The Next Best Thing, playing a woman who has a child with her gay best friend (Rupert Everett). In 2002, she starred in another bomb, Swept Away, directed by her second husband, Guy Ritchie (Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, Snatch).

In addition to her acting credits, Madonna’s music has been included on numerous movie soundtracks, including Die Another Day (2002) and Get Smart (2008). She made her directorial debut in 2008 with a film titled Filth and Wisdom.

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« Reply #463 on: August 17, 2014, 12:12:28 AM »

Aug 17, 1984

http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history

A serial rapist strikes in England
    
 

The serial burglar and rapist known as "the Fox" breaks into a house and physically assaults a girl, her boyfriend and the girl's brother near the village of Brampton, England. After raping the woman, the attacker proceeded to remove any traces of evidence from both his victim's body and the surrounding area.The attack turned out to be a part of a crime spree had had begun in the spring of 1984 when a hooded burglar broke into several houses in an area north of London. A few months later, the thief turned to rape.

Despite the attacker's efforts, detectives called to the scene near Brampton found fresh tire tracks in a field next to the victim's home and a tiny flake of yellow paint on a nearby tree. A shotgun that the Fox had stolen from a previous victim was also found, hidden under some leaves. Police staked out the site, hoping that the Fox might return for the gun, but he never did. Fortunately, the paint flake turned out to be an essential clue; apparently, the color had been used only on a single model of a particular car manufacturer, Leyland, and that the car was produced in 1973 and 1974.

The victims also reported that the Fox had a northern accent. When investigators checked their records, they found more than 3,000 known burglars who were from northern England but had moved south. Detectives sent to investigate each of these men found a man washing a yellow Leyland in front of his house on September 11. Upon closer inspection, they noticed that a bit of paint was missing from the back of the car.

Malcolm Fairley confessed to the crimes after his arrest and received six life sentences in 1985.

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« Reply #464 on: August 17, 2014, 11:39:58 PM »

Aug 18, 1992

http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/larry-bird-hangs-it-up


Larry Bird hangs it up
 


On August 18, 1992, celebrated Boston Celtics forward Larry Bird retires.

Bird was a high school basketball star in his native Indiana. After graduation, he received a scholarship to play for legendary coach Bobby Knight at Indiana University, one of the finest teams in the country. However, Bird was homesick and uncomfortable in the spotlight in Bloomington and left the school after one month. He returned to French Lick, his hometown, and eventually enrolled at the smaller Indiana State, far from a basketball powerhouse. There, Bird was a one-man offense, averaging 30 points per game as a sophomore, junior and senior. He led the Sycamores to an undefeated record in his senior season (1978-79) before losing to Earvin "Magic" Johnson's Michigan State Spartans in the most viewed NCAA title game ever.

Bird entered the NBA in 1979 and had an immediate impact on the league, winning Rookie of the Year after leading the Celtics to a 61-21 record and first place in the Atlantic Division just one year after they went 29-53 and finished in last place. In his second season, Bird, playing alongside fellow future Hall of Famers Kevin McHale at forward and Robert Parrish at center, led the Celtics to an NBA title. They would win the championship again in 1984 and 1986, with Bird winning the Finals MVP each of those two years. He was the NBA regular season MVP three years in a row, from 1984 to 1986, and a first-team NBA All-Star nine times. In the process, he won legions of loyal fans in Boston and throughout the country. Bird was also recognized for his versatility on the court: He could pass, rebound, shoot from the outside and play tough defense. As his career progressed, though, Bird began to suffer from chronic back pain that, by the 1990s, limited both his playing time and his effectiveness.

The final triumph of Bird's career came at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics, his first Olympics and the first in which professional players were allowed to participate. The much-hyped U.S. "Dream Team," which also included his good friend and rival Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan and Charles Barkley among other NBA greats, may have been the best basketball team ever assembled. They wowed the world with their amazing play, easily brought home the gold and appeared to have a spectacularly good time in the process.

In 1992, at the age of 35, Bird's back condition finally rendered him unable to play. At an emotional press conference in Boston to announce his retirement, Bird explained, "The last couple of years have been very tough on me, on my back and on my body. It was very hard to deal with, day in and day out." NBA commissioner David Stern released a statement that read in part "Quite simply, Larry Bird has helped to define the way a generation of basketball fans has come to view and appreciate the N.B.A. In the future, great players will be judged against the standards he has set, but there will never be another Larry Bird."

Bird did not disappear from the NBA after his retirement from the court. He remained in Boston, working as a special assistant in the Celtics' front office until 1997, when he was hired as head coach of the Indiana Pacers. In 1998–the same year he was elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame–he led the Pacers to a 58-24 record, the best in team history, and was named NBA Coach of the Year. Bird later became the team's president of basketball operations.

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« Reply #465 on: August 19, 2014, 01:22:56 AM »

Aug 19, 1991

http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/a-jewish-youth-is-killed-by-a-mob


A Jewish youth is killed by a mob
 


Yankel Rosenbaum, a visiting student from Australia, is stabbed to death by an angry mob in the Crown Heights section of Brooklyn, New York. The crowd, consisting of young black men, had been intent on seeking revenge against Jewish people for the death of seven-year-old Gavin Cato, who had been struck by a car driven by a Hasidic Jew three hours earlier. Following Rosenbaum's murder, rioting continued against Jews for four days in Crown Heights, while many complained that the response by police and Mayor David Dinkins was inadequate.

In October, 16-year-old Lemrick Nelson was charged with the murder of Rosenbaum but was acquitted after a racially charged trial the following year. But the case did not end there. Due in part to lobbying by the victim's brother, Norman Rosenbaum, the federal government charged Nelson with violating Rosenbaum's civil rights in 1994. In the meantime, a state report criticized Mayor Dinkins and the police for their lack of action during the riots—a claim that helped Rudolph Giuliani defeat Dinkins in the next mayoral election.

In 1996, a videotape of the Crown Heights incident came to light, showing Charles Price inciting a mob to assault Jews in retaliation for Cato's death. He shouted, "Kill the Jews!" and, "An eye for an eye!" In February 1997, a jury convicted both Nelson and Price for their roles in Rosenbaum's murder. Nelson was sentenced to 19 years in prison, while Price received 21 years, despite his claim that he had been exercising his right to freedom of speech.

Later, Mayor Giuliani apologized and blamed his predecessor for the city's lack of action and offered a $1.1 million settlement from the City of New York to Jews who claimed they were unprotected during the riots. Norman Rosenbaum continued to push Attorney General Janet Reno to reopen the case and go after the others in the mob, but no further arrests were made.

The driver of the car that killed Gavin Cato was cleared of any wrongdoing, and he returned to Israel.

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« Reply #466 on: August 20, 2014, 01:44:51 AM »

Aug 20, 1989

http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/the-menendez-brothers-murder-their-parents


The Menendez brothers murder their parents
   
 

Lyle and Erik Menendez shoot their parents, Jose and Kitty, to death in the den of the family's Beverly Hills, California, home. They then drove up to Mulholland Drive, where they dumped their shotguns before continuing to a local movie theater to buy tickets as an alibi. When the pair returned home, Lyle called 911 and cried, "Somebody killed my parents!" The Menendez murders became a national sensation when the new television network, Court TV, broadcast the trial in 1993.

Although the Menendez brothers were not immediately suspected, Erik couldn't take the guilt and confessed his involvement to his psychotherapist, Dr. L. Jerome Oziel. Ignoring his own ethical responsibilities, Dr. Oziel taped the sessions with his new patient in an apparent attempt to impress his mistress. But the woman ended up going to the police with her information and, in March 1990, Lyle, 22, and Erik, 19, were arrested.

For the next three years, a legal battle was fought over the admissibility of Dr. Oziel's tapes. Finally, the California Supreme Court ruled that the tapes could be played. When the trial began in the summer of 1993, the Menendez brothers put on a spirited defense. In compelling testimony lasting over a month, they emotionally described years of sexual abuse by Jose and Kitty Menendez. They insisted that they had shot their parents in self-defense because they believed that Jose would kill them rather than have the abuse be exposed.

The first two juries (one for each brother) deadlocked, and a mistrial had to be called. For the most part, the lack of a conviction was considered a travesty. At the retrial, which began in October 1995, the judge was much more restrictive in allowing the defense attorneys to focus on the alleged sexual abuse. In March 1996, both Lyle and Erik were convicted and sentenced to life in prison.

Lyle Menendez married his pen-pal girlfriend, Anna Eriksson, in a telephone conference call from jail on July 2, 1996, the day he was sentenced, but the marriage didn't last; Eriksson found out that Menendez began corresponding with another woman. A few years later, Erik married Tammi Ruth Saccoman.
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« Reply #467 on: August 21, 2014, 01:14:38 AM »

Aug 21, 1911

http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/theft-of-mona-lisa-is-discovered


Theft of Mona Lisa is discovered
   
 

An amateur painter sets up his easel near Leonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa at the Louvre in Paris, only to discover that the masterpiece is missing. The day before, in perhaps the most brazen art theft of all time, Vincenzo Perugia had walked into the Louvre, removed the famed painting from the wall, hid it beneath his clothes, and escaped. While the entire nation of France was stunned, theories abounded as to what could have happened to the invaluable artwork. Most believed that professional thieves could not have been involved because they would have realized that it would be too dangerous to try to sell the world's most famous painting. A popular rumor in Paris was that the Germans had stolen it to humiliate the French.

Investigators and detectives searched for the painting for more than two years without finding any decent leads. Then, in November 1913, Italian art dealer Alfredo Geri received a letter from a man calling himself Leonardo. It indicated that the Mona Lisa was in Florence and would be returned for a hefty ransom. When Perugia attempted to receive the ransom, he was captured. The painting was unharmed.

Perugia, a former employee of the Louvre, claimed that he had acted out of a patriotic duty to avenge Italy on behalf of Napoleon. But prior robbery convictions and a diary with a list of art collectors led most to think that he had acted solely out of greed. Perugia served seven months of a one-year sentence and later served in the Italian army during the First World War. The Mona Lisa is back in the Louvre, where improved security measures are now in place to protect it.

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« Reply #468 on: Today at 01:48:37 PM »

Aug 22, 1898

http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/hired-killer-jim-miller-joins-texas-rangers


Hired killer Jim Miller joins Texas Rangers
 


The hired assassin Jim Miller briefly joins the Texas Rangers, demonstrating how thin the line between outlaw and lawmen often was in the West.

Many lawmen in the Old West had never been on the wrong side of the law themselves, but more than a few moved easily between the worlds of lawbreaker and law enforcer. James Brown Miller was one of the latter. During his 47 years, Miller worked as a deputy sheriff, a city marshal, and Texas Ranger. He was also a gambler, a swindler, and one of the deadliest professional killers in Texas.

As a young man, Miller was accused of committing several murders-including the double killing of his own grandparents-but the charges never stuck. By age 27, he was living in Alpine, Texas, where he reportedly offered to kill a local judge for $200. That offer was apparently rejected, but thereafter he became a professional killer, charging between $50 to $2,000, depending on the victim and the client's ability to pay. By his own account, he committed more than 50 murders.

Although Miller was arrested on several occasions, he proved hard to convict. The wealthier clients who hired him often provided expert legal counsel, and he was a careful killer who took pains to cover his tracks. Law enforcement agencies also found men like Miller useful, and they often were willing to overlook his checkered past if they needed help in capturing or killing a dangerous outlaw. The famous Texas Rangers even hired Miller, temporarily appointing him a Special Ranger on this day in 1898.

Miller's luck eventually ran out. In 1909, two Ada, Oklahoma, ranchers paid Miller $2,000 to kill August Bobbitt, with the promise of an additional $3,000 to pay for his defense in the event Miller was arrested. Miller killed Bobbitt with a shotgun, his favored weapon for assassinations. This time, however, Miller's victim was a well-liked man who left a widow with four children. Local citizens were outraged by the cold-blooded murder and demanded action. Miller and his two clients were quickly arrested and jailed, but none of them had a chance to mount a legal defense. A mob of Ada vigilantes stormed the jail, extracted the men, and lynched them in a nearby barn. Miller was 47 years old.

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