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[[EDITOR'S NOTE: Unless otherwise noted, historical items appear courtesy of longtime Nevada reporter Dennis Myers' Poor Denny's Almanac. Items highlighted in blue are of particular interest to labor. Copyright © 2006 Dennis Myers.]]

Update: Thursday, May 11, 2006, 1:38 a.m. PDT — ON THIS DATE in 1973, charges against Daniel Ellsberg for his role in the Pentagon Papers case [which revealed wholesale government lying to escalate the Vietnam War] were dismissed by Judge William M. Byrne, who cited government misconduct. [New York Times e-headlines]

On May 11, 1854, Paiute Chief Walkara and Brigham Young met in Juab County, U.S. Territory of Utah, and negotiated a cease fire in the Walker War; in 1903, the reported death of poet Joaquin Miller devastated his family, but he turned up alive; in 1903, a small reservoir on Nevada State University grounds at Ninth and Center streets in Reno came apart, water rushing down the hill into nearby homes; in 1907, the St. Francis Hotel in Wonder, Nevada, burned down (guests escaped in their nightclothes); in 1907, plans were being made for a casino hotel in Bijou at Lake Tahoe that would straddle the state border with the hotel in California and the casino in Nevada; in 1908, the Truckee River General Electric Company was running a power line to the Jumbo mining camp between Washoe Lake and Virginia City; in 1921, what was reportedly the first auto made the trip on the new Walker Lake Highway from Hawthorne to Yerington; in 1923, in London, Earl Russell denied a rumor that his brother Bertrand had died; in 1923, in a legal opinion addressed to Assistant U.S. Attorney Charles Cantwell, Nevada Attorney General Michael Diskin said that the poll tax applied to Native Americans in the state; in 1928, the Nevada Democratic Convention meeting in Reno elected S.M. Pickett over Patrick McCarran for Democratic national committeeman from Nevada and chose to support Al Smith for president, sending a delegation pledged to Smith and bound by the unit rule to the national convention in Houston (the delegation of twelve — each with half a vote — included H.R. Cooke, William Woodburn, and Charles Henderson); in 1931, new figures indicated that, of Nevada's 12 incorporated communities, Elko had the highest tax rate; in 1947, the townsite of Gabbs, including its wartime magnesium oxide plant, was put up for sale by the U.S. War Assets Administration; in 1961, President Kennedy ordered 500 military "advisors" (including 400 Special Forces soldiers) sent to Vietnam, substantially upping the ante in Indochina; in 1964, Capitol released an extended play 45 of four Beatles songs (Please Mr. Postman, This Boy, Roll Over Beethoven and All My Loving) that scarcely made a blip on the record charts and then sank without a trace; in 1970, the Woodstock album was released and quickly went gold, a remarkable achievement for a three-disc album; in 1973, in the Pentagon Papers trial, Judge William Byrne dismissed all charges against Anthony Russo and Daniel Ellsberg on the grounds of "improper government conduct shielded so long from public view" by the Nixon administration that made a fair trial impossible and "offended a sense of justice"; in 1981, Bob Marley died in Miami.

Update: Wednesday, May 10, 2006, 1:56 a.m. PDT — ON THIS DATE in 1869, a golden spike was driven at Promontory, Utah, marking the completion of the first transcontinental railroad in the United States. [New York Times e-headlines]

Heinrich Heine/1830: Where books are burned, human beings are destined to be burned too.

 On May 10, 1877, President Hayes signed an executive order reserving Carlin Farms in Nevada for the Northwestern Shoshone tribe (Hayes revoked the order on January 16 1879); in 1904, the survey for a railroad between Fallon and Massie was completed (Massie was between Hazen and Falais); in 1907, there were predictions of a rush to White Pine County after oil was struck fifty miles south of Ely near the Utah border; in 1920, Mexican President Venustiano Carranza was captured by forces backing General Alvaro Obregon; in 1920, Clarence Burton, office manager for Nevada political boss George Wingfield and director of Reno National Bank, resigned to leave the state and join the New England Guaranty Corporation; in 1928, California Democratic leader Fairfax Cosby said a major southern Democrat had consented to run on a third party line if New York Governor Al Smith won the Democratic presidential nomination; in 1928, Nevada Democrats gathered for their state convention in Reno and Al Smith was believed to be leading among the delegates; in 1933, one of the ugliest benchmarks of the 20th century occurred in Berlin — the Nazi book burning of 25,000 "un-German" books; in 1936, the renowned documentary film The Plow That Broke The Plains, filmed by Pare Lorentz about Depression-era Oklahoma farmers, debuted at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, D.C. (the University of Nevada Press has published Pare Lorentz and the Documentary Film); in 1945, a two day meeting of the target committee of the Manhattan Project began in Robert Oppenheimer's office at Los Alamos and ultimately recommended, in this order, these proposed targets for the first use of the atom bomb: Kyoto, Hiroshima, Yokohama, and Kokura arsenal; in 1954, Rock Around the Clock by Bill Haley and the Comets was released but went nowhere (it became a hit a year later when it was used in the soundtrack of The Blackboard Jungle); in 1956, Clark County fair and recreation board chair George Albright said the planned Las Vegas Convention Center should be completed and hosting its first convention by March 1958; in 1956, several months after announcing he would retire at the January 1957 end of his senate term, Democratic U.S. Senator Alan Bible of Nevada (under pressure from Senate Democratic floor leader Lyndon Johnson) changed his mind and jumped back into the race , fouling up the announced candidates — Republican Cliff Young, who gave up a seat in the House after Bible "retired", and Democrats Harvey Dickerson, Julien Sourwine, and Mahlon Brown; in 1969, The Turtles performed at a Tricia Nixon masked ball at the White House and frontman Mark Volman (vocals, percussion, guitar) kept falling off the stage (reportedly five times); in 1969, the great Get Back by the Beatles debuted; in 1973, Elvis appeared at Lake Tahoe as part of a run at a Nevada casino, and his midnight show appearance on this date ended up on bootlegs.

On May 10, 1988, the second season of the NBC series Crime Story, set in Las Vegas, ended on this date with a cliffhanger that was never resolved because the series was cancelled before the start of the next season.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman, then a lawyer publicly denying the existence of the mob, joked that producer Michael Mann should pay royalties to Goodman's client Tony "The Ant" Spilotro for doing the story of his life. Crime Story was spawned by a killer 10-part 1982 Los Angeles Times series entitled "The Mob Moves West." Years later, Nicholas Pileggi gathered the well-reported facts of Gomorrah South's Spilotro days and compiled them in the book Casino, which became the Martin Scorsese-directed movie of the same name starring Robert DeNiro, Joe Pesci and Sharon Stone. With all due respect to the great Scorsese et al., Crime Story was far better. From Al Kooper's rock 'n' roll soundtrack to the outstanding cast comprised of some of today's stars and superstars: the cop and the crook, Dennis Farina (Law and Order, Saving Private Ryan) Anthony Denison (Melrose Place. The Closer), David Caruso (NYPD Blue, CSI Miami) and Stephen Lang (The Babe). Even the supporting cast continues to entertain us today: Bill Campbell (The Rocketeer, Francis Ford Coppola's Bram Stoker's Dracula), Ted Levine (Silence of the Lambs, Monk), James Gammon (Major League), frequently appearing character actors Bill Smitrovich (Nero Wolf, Independence Day), Steve Ryan (Law and Order) and Paul Butler (State and Main, The Insider) and nowadays Reno resident and theater producer Darlanne Pfluegel.

Oh, yeah — don't forget a teenaged Julia Roberts and a grown-up Melanie Griffith.

Dennison and John Santucci (who may have foreshadowed The Sopranos with a well-publicized pre-acting resume purporting mob activity), were called "the two best villains on television" by a critic. Producer-director Mann reportedly let his mega-hit Miami Vice slide because of his enthusiasm for Crime Story.

All in the Family stands as the greatest TV series. Crime Story ranks in the top 10. Barbwire

Update: Tuesday, May 9, 2006, 5:36 a.m. PDT — ON THIS DATE in 1994, South Africa's newly elected parliament chose Nelson Mandela to be the country's first black president. [New York Times e-headlines]

On May 9, 1859, James Simpson, leader of an exploring party in Nevada, wrote in his journal of the Goshute Tribe: "Children at the breast are perfectly naked and this at a time when overcoasts were required by us. The men wear their hair cut square in front, just above the eyes..."; in 1875, a Nevada news report said that the twenty cent piece (created by legislation sponsored by U.S. Senator John P. Jones of Nevada) would be minted exclusively in the west at the San Francisco mint because the Carson City mint had its hands full with production of trade dollars (actually, 133,290 pieces in 1875 and 10,000 in 1876 were struck at the Carson mint); in 1879, after the Reno town trustees enacted a dog license ordinance ($3 for males, $5 for females), the Nevada State Journal recommended "Kill your dogs."; in 1880, U.S. Representative Rollin Daggett of Nevada was preparing legislation to have all railroad lands surveyed as a step toward making them pay their property taxes; in 1907, the Sells-Floto Circus began two days of performances in Reno; in 1927, Nevada Treasurer Ed Malley, former controller George Cole, and former Carson Valley Bank cashier H.P. Clapp were in the Ormsby County jail recanting confessions and $516,000 was missing from the state treasury; in 1927, a single company mailed 100,000 letters at the Reno post office, the first of an expected two million, the largest load in the Reno post office's history; in 1928, the White Pine county commissioners authorized an air field at East Ely, the Winnemucca chamber of commerce endorsed construction of an airfield there, and Eureka County was being lobbied to join an Elko/Eureka/Ely air route; in 1942, the University of Nevada Regents adopted a regulation that "no further matriculation be permitted of persons of Japanese birth or ancestry, unless born in the State of Nevada"; in 1960, The Food and Drug Administration approved use of The Pill; in 1965, Donovan and the Beatles were in the audience when Bob Dylan performed at the Royal Albert Hall; in 1970, ten days after Nixon attacked Cambodia, six days after the killings at Kent State, one day after antiwar protesters were beaten by construction workers on Wall Street, 100,000 antiwar protesters demonstrated in Washington, D.C.; in 1970, H. James Shea, Jr., a Massachusetts state legislator who sponsored the state law that said no citizen of the state could be forced to fight in an undeclared war and sent the Massachusetts attorney general into court to defend any soldier who refused to serve in Vietnam, killed himself in despair over the widening of the war into Cambodia and the resulting tumult across the U.S.; in 1970, Canadian antiwar activists vandalized the Peace Bridge between Canada and the U.S. in protest against the U.S. attack on Cambodia; in 1974, nine months after the Nixon administration engineered the September 11 overthrow of the democratic government of Chile, Phil Ochs, Pete Seeger, Melanie, Larry Estridge, Bob Dylan, and Dave Van Ronk performed in concert in New York to raise money for victims of the Chilean junta; in 1994, Nelson Mandela became President of South Africa; in 2001, a photograph was taken at a White House gathering that included George Bush and lobbyist Jack Abramoff in the same frame, and in February 2006 it became the first photo of the two men made public (by Kickapoo tribal leader Raul Garza in the New York Times) after the White House spent weeks trying to suppress all such photos.

Nevada State Journal/May 9, 1880:  A painful rumor was extant yesterday that a Reno man had $50 in his pocket. Crowds flocked to try and find him. Success indifferent.

Update: Monday, May 8, 2006, 1:55 a.m. PDT — ON THIS DATE in 1973, militant American Indians who had held the South Dakota hamlet of Wounded Knee for 10 weeks surrendered. [New York Times e-headlines]

On May 8, 1786, Saint John Vianney, patron saint of draft dodgers, was born near Lyon (in 1808 he hid in the mountain community to avoid service with the French Army on the Spanish lines and was able to return to his home town after Napoleon granted amnesty to deserters and others in 1810); in 1885, President Cleveland nominated Dr. John E.W. Thompson to be minister (ambassador) to Hayti and what most newspapers found most newsworthy was that he was an African American; in 1885, Washoe County was preparing to go to court to overturn a new state law regulating the salaries of county officials; in 1897, the abolition of the whipping post in Delaware prompted the Reno Evening Gazette to point out that Nevada still had an old law on the books providing for the use of a whipping post against men "who shall willingly and violently strike, beat, or torture the body of any maiden or woman who is more than sixteen years of age"; in 1929, the bodies of Chicago mobsters Joe Giunta, Albert Anselmi and John Scalisi were found and newspapers called it retribution against Al Capone for the St. Valentine's massacre (actually, Capone ordered the hits); in 1940, Eric Nelson, better known as Ricky, was born; in 1950, President Truman's secretary of state, Dean Acheson, was meeting with the French in Paris about his plans to get the U.S. involved in the Indochina war; in 1950, in Washington D.C., police committed a man to a hospital for observation after they entered his kitchen and found him biting a dog (news reports contained no explanation of what the police were doing in the man's kitchen in the first place); in 1970, more than 250 State Department and foreign service employees signed a letter objecting to the U.S. attack on Cambodia; in 1970, the Let It Be album was released; in 1971, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration said two sites in Nevada (the Fallon Naval Auxiliary Air Station and the Indian Springs Air Base) were among more than 70 locations in 19 states that were under consideration to be the site of a facility where the planned space shuttle would be assembled, tested and launched; in 1973, the Native American occupation of Wounded Knee ended after 71 days; in 1979, Supertramp's Breakfast In America album went platinum; in 2000, Germany removed the name of Wehrmacht Chief of Air Defence Gunther Rudel, a veteran of both world wars, from a military base and renamed it for Sgt. Anton Schmid, who saved more than 250 Jews in the Vilnius ghetto from the Nazis; in 2002, Nevada agriculture Director Paul Iverson died at age 55.

Update: Sunday, May 7, 2006, 4:31 a.m. PDT — ON THIS DATE in 1945, Germany signed an unconditional surrender at Allied headquarters in Rheims, France, to take effect the following day, ending the European conflict of World War II. [New York Times e-headlines]

On May 7, 1634, in star chamber, Puritan William Prynne was convicted of libeling the Queen (his ears were amputated).; in 1860, white men at Williams Station on the Carson River kidnapped Native American girls, provoking an attack by tribal members who burned the station to the ground, whereupon a white force attacked the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe (they were probably attacking the wrong tribe, since the attack on Williams Station was likely made by the Bannocks); in 1896, Reno's Tribune ran a front page picture of H.H. Hughes, the Chicago hotel owner whose establishment was outfitted with secret torture rooms, gas chambers, and cremation facilities and whose activities accounted for the disappearance of dozens of young women in Chicago during the Columbian Exposition; in 1896, jurors decided in favor of the State of Nevada in a tax lawsuit against the Virginia and Truckee Railroad; in 1907, banker Richard Kirman defeated incumbent Reno mayor N.E. Wilson, 704 to 562; in 1915, two years before U.S. entry into World War One, the British passenger ship Lusitania was sunk by the German submarine U-20 (historians now suspect it was carrying 3-inch shells and millions of rounds of ammunition); in 1928, U.S. Representative Burton French of Idaho, who chaired the House Naval Appropriations Subcommittee, urged quick action to fund an ammunition depot in the west, which the Navy Department had recommended be established at Hawthorne, Nevada; in 1930, the United States Senate voted 41 to 39 to reject President Hoover's nomination of racist John Parker to be a justice of the Supreme Court (Nevada's Tasker Oddie voted for Parker, Key Pittman voted against him); in 1945, German Chancellor Karl Doenitz ordered an unconditional surrender to Allied forces, ending the European war.; in 1954, the 55-day empire-versus-colony battle of Dien Bien Phu that captured the attention of the world ended with the Vietnamese victorious over the French (soldiers from another French colony, Algeria, who had been forced to fight for the French, when captured by Vietnam volunteered to fight against the French; their offer was refused and they were told to return home and free their own nation, which they did); in 1959, George Burns began a ten day run at a Lake Tahoe casino, with Bobby Darin as the opening act; in 1966, Del Shannon's The Big Hurt and Simon and Garfunkel's I Am A Rock entered Billboard's top 100; in 1968, ten thousand French students and workers were in possession of the Arc de Triomphe as the police agreed to return protest leader Daniel Cohn Bendit's resident permit; in 1973, George Harrison's Give Me Love was released; in 1975, the victory of the Vietnamese over the United States was celebrated in Ho Chi Minh City; in 1984, seven manufacturers of the Agent Orange defoliant used in Vietnam agreed to pay $180 million to its victims and their families to avoid trial; in 1985, returned Vietnam veterans were given a tardy ticker tape parade in New York City; in 1999, NATO jets bombed the Chinese embassy in Belgrade, killing three people, with President Clinton calling it a "mistake" though later evidence suggested it was deliberate; in 1999, the University of Nevada held opening ceremonies for its fire academy in Carlin (design flaws and groundwater contamination associated with the facility later came to light, prompting the university to default on payments for the construction).

Update: Saturday, May 6, 2006, 3:51 a.m. PDT — ON THIS DATE in 1937, the hydrogen-filled German dirigible Hindenburg burned and crashed in Lakehurst, N.J., killing 36 of the 97 people on board. [New York Times e-headlines]

On May 6, 1880, Storey County's Virginia Evening Chronicle offered Democrats a subscription through the November election for $5, and the newspaper's ad assured prospective subscribers that it "advocates Democratic principles because it believes that the fundamental doctrines of that party for the life and essence of the American system of government, while those of the Republic party aim to the overthrow of popular government"; in 1886, the Central Pacific Railroad was selling off 10,820 acres it owned in the area of the big bend of the Carson River near abandoned Fort Churchill at an asking price of $13,000; in 1889, Reno was digging out from 36 straight hours of snow and rain and sleigh riding was the order of the day in Virginia City; in 1903, searchlights were being removed from a U.S. battleship at Mare Island for use in illuminating the Yosemite Valley during President Roosevelt's visit there; in 1927, a week after levees were dynamited (in the 1926-27 Mississippi River flood that lasted more than a year) to divert flood waters from New Orleans, other parishes were devastated and newspapers reported an astounding 323,837 victims.; in 1933, a Continental Congress for Economic Construction was held in Washington, with delegates cheering speakers U.S. Senator Lynn Frazier of North Dakota ("I have occasional opportunities to speak to what is called the higher branch of Congress, but I am sorry to say they do not represent the people as you do.") and Socialist Party leader Norman Thomas ("There must be no government aid for banks except the government own the banks; no government coordinators to save the railroads save as the workers own the railroads."); in 1933, five gangs of Nazi students went around Berlin gathering books from local libraries for the May 10 book burning; in 1933, Clark County District Attorney Harley Harmon, who was suing Six Companies (the conglomerate formed to build Hoover Dam) to make them pay their state and county taxes, was seriously ill, leading to speculation about whether he could continue his campaign for appointment by the new Roosevelt administration to be a U.S. attorney; in 1940, John Steinbeck received the Pulitzer Prize for The Grapes of Wrath; in 1943, Frank "Pappy" Neal won the Pulitzer Prize for a photograph he took while drifting at sea in a lifeboat after the freighter in which he was fleeing Singapore for Burma was torpedoed (another lifeboat came close to his and he snapped a photo of an Indian pleading for water); in 1943, Congress revived the naval rank of commodore, previously used only from 1862 to 1899, the equivalent of a brigadier general, rating one star; in 1943, a law that could never be repealed in peacetime because of objections from morals cops was finally repealed as a wartime measure when California Governor Earl Warren signed a measure revoking the three day waiting period between application for a marriage license and its issuance after military commanders and chaplains requested the change for soldiers and sailors whose short leaves often did not allow marriages (the change meant a loss of revenue for Nevada counties, most of whose marriage licenses were issued to California couples); in 1952, Reno bookies sued the Nevada Tax Commission to halt proposed state regulation of bookmaking; in 1967, Pope Paul VI was reported to be unlikely to reveal the third message of Fatima; in 1967, U.S. Rep. Walter Baring, D-Nev., announced that the U.S. Economic Development Administration had allocated $40,000 to the Pyramid Lake Indian Tribe for an inventory of potable water sources and a land use plan for the reservation; in 1969, Attorney General John Mitchell met secretly with Chief Justice Earl Warren, offered to drop an investigation of Justice Abe Fortas' relationship with a foundation started by Las Vegas casino figure Louis Wolfson if Fortas would resign, and Warren agreed to help force Fortas off the court (Fortas resigned on May 14); in 1970, reaction to the invasion of Cambodia continued to build, fueled by the killings at Kent State, and classes were boycotted at 300 campuses, another 536 campuses shut down altogether, and faculties, staffs and administrators made common cause with students; in 1971, Tina and Ike Turner received a gold record for Proud Mary; in 1992, Mikhail Gorbachev spoke at Fulton College (where Winston Churchill had made his iron curtain speech in 1946) and faulted both east and west for their pointless adversarial postures and failing to use common sense to end the cold war.

Update: Friday, May 5, 2006, 4:13 a.m. PDT — ON THIS DATE in 1961, astronaut Alan B. Shepard, Jr., became America's first space traveler as he made a 15-minute suborbital flight in a capsule launched from Cape Canaveral, Fla. [New York Times e-headlines]

On May 5, 1821, Napolean Bonaparte died (probably by poisoning) in exile on the Atlantic island named St. Helena; in 1925, John Scopes was arrested in Tennessee for teaching Darwin's theory of evolution. He would probably get busted again today; in 1985, President Reagan laid a wreath at the Bitburg, Germany, military cemetery, resting place of Hitler-era soldiers. And this guy belongs on Mt. Rushmore? (In its almanac, the Associated Press eliminated the Nazi furor, the only reason the item is worth any historical remembrance.) [Barbwire and Associated Press]

On May 5, 1866, the second of three enlargements of Nevada's original territory occurred when 18,325 square miles were detached from the Territory of Utah and added to the State of Nevada; in 1867, reporter Nellie Bly was born; in 1893, a panic on Wall Street set off a crippling depression (three weeks later, operations at the Carson City Mint were halted) that lasted four years; in 1899, the 160 subscribers of the telephone company in the Truckee Meadows necessitated a new switchboard that accommodated 300; in 1905, the African-American newspaper the Chicago Defender began publication, which continues today; in 1925, at a gathering in Fred Robinson's drugstore in Dayton, Tennessee, teacher John Scopes agreed to stand trial for teaching evolution as a publicity stunt to bring tourists, reporters, and revenue into the town; in 1931, Albert Einstein and Heinrich Mann accused the Yugoslav government of assassinating Croatian scholar Milan Sufflay in Zagreb and called for protection for the people of Croatia; in 1941, Emperor Haile Selassie returned to his Ethiopian capital after five years of occupation by Italy; in 1967, San Francisco by Scott McKenzie, the anthem of the flower children, first appeared on the music charts [EDITOR'S NOTE: McKenzie, Big Brother & the Holding Company, the Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane, Quicksilver Messenger Service, the house band — The Charlatans with Dan Hicks (before the Hot Licks) and others honed their acts over the previous two years at Virginia City's fabled Red Dog Saloon, at which radio legend and Sparks Tribune columnist Travus T. Hipp served as proprietor]; in 1969, Creedence Clearwater Revival released Bad Moon Rising; in 1970, Lloyd Willner Jackson, a 22 year-old Native American from Austin, Nevada, died in Thua Thien province, Vietnam (panel 11w line 124 of the Vietnam wall); in 1981, member of Parliament Bobby Sands died in Maze Prison as a result of a hunger strike against British occupation of northern Ireland. [Poor Denny's Almanac/Dennis Myers]

Tin soldiers and Nixon coming, we're finally on our own...*

Update: Thursday, May 4, 2006, 4:46 a.m. PDT — Today is the 36th anniversary of the murder of four Kent State University students by the Ohio National Guard. Nine others were wounded. Two more were killed and 12 wounded at Jackson State in Mississippi on May 14, 1970. More than 460 rounds were fired at the Jackson State dormitory. No ambulances were called until all shell casings had been removed from the crime scene. (Barbwire)

In Memoriam

On May 4, 1626, Peter Minuit purchased Manhattan Island from tribal members for $24 in trade goods (the $24 figure is in 1800's dollars, not 1600's), a transaction often portrayed as a case of white men besting natives — except that Minuit bought the island from natives who were traveling through the area and did not own the land, and he had to purchase it again later from the actual occupants; in 1776, Rhode Island declared independence from England, before the Continental Congress did; in 1885, the United States Supreme Court upheld a ruling by the Nevada Supreme Court in Richmond Mining Company of Nevada vs. Rose and others, a dispute over mining patents; in 1886, President Cleveland reserved additional land to the Western Shoshone, expanding the size of the Duck Valley Indian Reservation astride the Nevada/Idaho border; in 1888, the Nevada Education Association, a teachers group, met in Virginia City's Fourth Ward School, with a welcoming address given by Major F.M. Huffaker; in 1888, in San Francisco, Sutro Tunnel shareholders heard the annual report, including the news that a total of $237,258.33 ($4,869,747.39 in 2005 dollars) in royalties was paid by Comstock mining companies to the tunnel company for the use of the tunnel; in 1934, Manhattan Melodrama with Clark Gable and Myrna Loy was released (it became enduringly famous as the movie John Dillinger saw before exiting the theatre to be shot dead by FBI agents); in 1942, deportation of more than a thousand Jews from Lodz to the Chelmno death camp [commenced]; in 1956, Gene Vincent recorded Be Bop A Lula; in 1970, after U.S. soldiers invading Cambodia at President Nixon's orders looted businesses in the town of Snuol (stealing watches, stereo equipment and other consumer goods), the Associated Press censored Peter Arnett's report to remove descriptions of the looting but United Press International kept Leon Daniels' report of the incident intact; in 1970, four antiwar protesters on the campus of Kent State University in Ohio were shot and killed by National Guard soldiers; in 1973, John Dean freaked out Richard Nixon by revealing he had kept some documents when he left the White House and put them in a safe deposit box, the key to which he turned over to Judge Sirica; in 1988, a fire in a rocket fuel factory in Henderson, Nevada, caused detonation of thousands of pounds of chemicals, demolishing the factory and damaging nearby structures. (EDITOR'S NOTE: Two people died.)

       "How can you run when you know?" — *Ohio by Neil Young

Update: Wednesday, May 3, 2006, 3:26 a.m. PDT — ON THIS DATE in 1971 , anti-war protesters calling themselves the Mayday Tribe began four days of demonstrations in Washington, D.C., aimed at shutting down the nation's capital. [New York Times e-headlines]

[[EDITOR'S NOTE: Unless otherwise noted, historical items appear courtesy of longtime Nevada reporter Dennis Myers' Poor Denny's Almanac. Items highlighted in blue are of particular interest to labor. Copyright © 2006 Dennis Myers.]]

London, Thursday, May 3, 1945 (AP) — Berlin, greatest city of the European Continent, fell yesterday afternoon to the Russians as 70,000 German troops laid down their arms in the surrender that Adolf Hitler had said never would come.

The Soviet triumph, after twelve days of history's deadliest street fighting, was announced last night by Premier Stalin in an Order of the Day and in the Soviet communique broadcast from Moscow this morning...

How many persons died there will never be known with accuracy, but before the war that greatest of continental cites had a population of 4,335,000, and only Monday night the Russians announced that the fanatical Nazi defenders were killing many of the civilians with their fire.

The fury of that defense was everything that Hitler had said it would be, and even Wednesday afternoon his dwindling cohorts had contended over the Hamburg radio that resistance in Berlin was "not yet broken," even while admitting that the garrison had been ripped into isolated pockets.

The finale came in the innermost heart of the city, in the government district that had been Hitler's pride and in the pillboxes and underground fortifications of the once-attractive Tiergarten.

The Russians announced few details of the last day of the German capital, which by one day missed falling on the traditional Soviet May Day holiday.

But during the days of siege and isolation, both they and the Germans had told of a gigantic, never-waning conflict that raged in the air, on the rooftops, in houses and in the streets, and in cellars and the extensive subway tunnels, a conflict that progressed yard by yard as Nazi fanatics shot any person who even mentioned the words "surrender" or "retreat."

Yet surrender they did at last, to Red Army men who had fought across a continent, 1,560 miles from the ruins of Stalingrad, since the Nazi tide reached the flood at that Volga city in January, 1943.


On May 3, 1877, the Delphos (Ohio) Herald reported "The Nevada Legislature has just made a law which empowers Judges at their discretion to sentence men who assault women, to stand a certain time in a public street, placarded in large letters, "Woman Beater"; in 1888, a construction crew holed through the 9,850 foot railroad tunnel under Stampede Pass in the Cascade Mountains, an important component in the Northern Pacific's effort to create a more direct route to Puget Sound that along the winding Columbia River; in 1901, on the same day that the Commercial Advertiser reported that E.H. Harriman had retained control of the Union Pacific in a stock fight, Harriman began another battle against James. J. Hill, this one for control of the Northern Pacific, a fight which would wreak havoc on Wall Street and ultimately bring federal anti-trust action; in 1902, it was reported that Reno businesspeople had invited E.H. Harriman, now president of the Southern Pacific, to visit Reno to "look over our possibilities"; in 1926, the U.S. Marines invaded Nicaragua and stayed there until Franklin Roosevelt became president in 1933; in 1930, plans to ship building materials for the construction of Hoover Dam to the damsite by way of Chloride, Arizona, instead of Las Vegas, were freaking out Nevada's U.S. Senator Tasker Oddie; in 1933, President Roosevelt appointed former Wyoming Governor Nellie Taylor Ross to be director of the United States Mint, beginning an intermittently observed tradition of women in the post (including Nevada's Eva Adams who served from October 1961 to August 1969, and Nevada's Henrietta Holsman Fore who served from August 2001 to August 2005 when she was appointed an undersecretary of state); in 1957, hearts were breaking because Brooklyn Dodgers owner Walter O'Malley agreed to move the team to Los Angeles (Reno Silver Sox bat boy Tommy Myers said, "They'll always be the Brooklyn Dodgers to me"); in 1957, a CBS spokesperson said a $5,500,000 sponsorship deal for Arthur Godfrey, Bing Crosby, Rosemary Clooney and Edward R. Murrow was pending; in 1957, as the Senate wrestled with the awkwardness of holding the traditional memorial ceremony for U.S. Senator Joseph McCarthy in the chamber where it censured him, Senator George Malone of Nevada flew to Wisconsin to attend the McCarthy‚s funeral; in 1957, the Reno Evening Gazette published a photograph by Don Dondero of Mackay Day "queen" Margie Orr of Pioche together with Ron Logar and Richard Bryan; in 1960, The Fantasticks opened (it would become the longest running play in theatre history); in 1978, the MGM Grand Hotel Casino opened in Reno, one of six such properties that opened within weeks, drawing job seekers from around the nation, creating massive traffic, housing, and sewage capacity problems and legitimating slow-growth advocates in city politics; in 1999, The Venetian Hotel Casino opened in Las Vegas.

Update: Tuesday, May 2, 2006, 2:06 a.m. PDT — ON THIS DATE in 1945 , the Soviet Union announced the fall of Berlin and the Allies announced the surrender of Nazi troops in Italy and parts of Austria. [New York Times e-headlines]

Update: Tuesday, May 2, 2006, 1:53 a.m. PDT — ON THIS DATE in 1911, at a sale in New York, J.P. Morgan's librarian purchased Thomas Malory's Morte d'Arthur, published by Caxton in 1485, for $42,000 (the equivalent of $ 831,510.34 in 2005 dollars; the volume still rests in the Morgan library and has been the basis for later facsimile editions); in 1924, President Coolidge endorsed barring Japanese from the United States but told congressional leaders he wanted it done in a way that would not offend Japan; in 1924, George Berry, national president of the International Pressmen and Assistants' Union (and a former Tonopah and Goldfield laborer and Reno Evening Gazette pressman) announced his candidacy for the Democratic vice presidential nomination; in 1924, Columbia University President Nicholas Murray Butler, a leading Republican who was President Taft's second 1912 running mate, said he was going to the Republican National Convention to fight for repeal of alcohol prohibition; in 1924, rumors were flying that J.P. Donnelley, chief of federal alcohol prohibition enforcement in Nevada, was about to be indicted by the same grand jury that a week earlier called for his removal from office; in 1931, the $300,000 Meadows Supper Club opened in Las Vegas; in 1949, the Interstate Commerce Commission began two days of hearings on an application for abandonment of the Virginia and Truckee Railroad; in 1955, a governor's conference on mental health, a response to national news coverage of Nevada's poor mental health services (particularly the Collier's magazine article The Sorry State of Nevada), began in Reno; in 1957, Elvis recorded Jailhouse Rock; in 1960, Dick Clark was accused of accepting $7,000 from American Airlines for plugs on his program.

Robert Ingersoll/May 1, 1881:  One good schoolmaster is worth a thousand priests.

Update: Monday, May 1, 2006, 12:50 a.m. PDT — ON THIS DATE in 1886, a strike in Chicago for an eight hour day was begun, a challenge to economic power that later became the International Workers Day and gave May Day its name, and it took place in a period of economic brutality and robber baronson the same day in 1886, Boston plumbers and carpenters issued a strike treat against the Master Building Association unless an eight hour day was allowed, brewers at a Philadelphia firm struck, a building trades strike was scheduled in the District of Columbia, a labor mass meeting was held in San Francisco, furniture makers and cigar makers unions in San Francisco imposed an eight hour day without bothering to ask employers, the Baltimore Sun agreed to an eight hour day for carpenters it employed, St. Louis carpenters employers agreed to an eight hour day, and business and journalism throughout the country tried to play workers off against each other, particularly against Chinese workers (two days after the first May Day, Chicago police fired into a crowd of strikers, killing four people and wounding many more); in 1888, a smallpox quarantine of residences on the Comstock Divide was lifted; in 1903, there were strikes of launderers in Chicago; of carpenters and horseshoers in Bloomington, Illinois; of teamsters, building trades, hotel and restaurant workers and their sympathizers in Omaha, and strikes of mechanics, laborers, and marine engineers in New York were averted.; in 1905, in a Teamsters strike, something called the Employers Teaming Company in Chicago was importing a thousand teamster strikebreakers from St. Louis and arming them with Winchester rifles and the police commissioner said he would not interfere (the same company also brought James "Strikebreaker" Farley from New York); in 1905, the Washoe County Commission ordered its law firm to continue pursuing its suit against the Floriston Pulp and Paper Company to force the company to stop polluting the Truckee River with pulp wastes; in 1907, the Scheeline Bank and Trust Company opened in Reno; in 1910, famed auto racing champion Barney Oldfield raced his 205 horsepower Benz at the Reno race track; in 1922, the first federal broadcasting license issued to a Nevada station, license 224, was issued to station KOJ at the University of Nevada; in 1926, Frank Garside took control of the Clark County Review, one of the forerunners of the Las Vegas Review-Journal; in 1931, on the eve of the effective date of Nevada's new divorce law (shortening the residency period to six weeks) the Washoe County clerk said he had made preparations for what he believed would be an "avalanche" of divorce suit filings; in 1959, three days after the U.S. Senate approved her appointment as ambassador to Brazil over opposition led by U.S. Senator Wayne Morse, and in the wake of reaction to her comment that her problems began when Morse "was kicked in the head by a horse" in 1951, Clare Booth Luce resigned; in 1959, the leadership of the American Legion chose Denver over Las Vegas for its 1961 convention; in 1965, Mrs. Brown You've Got a Lovely Daughter hit number one in the U.S.; in 1966, the Beatles appeared in concert in Britain for the last time; in 1968, Michael Kenneth Hastings of Las Vegas, Nevada, died in Quang Tri province, Vietnam (panel 42e line 18on the Vietnam wall); in 1971, Ringo's It Don't Come Easy was released; in 2001, 38 years after he bombed a Birmingham church, killing four little girls, Klansman Thomas Blanton, Jr., was convicted of murder, a prosecution that had been obstructed in the 1960s by J. Edgar Hoover; in 2006, immigrant workers and their families and supporters will march in Chicago, birthplace of May Day, against anti-immigrant legislation now being debated in the US House and Senate, a march supported by a surprising array of management leaders, including the Illinois Restaurant Association and meat processing giant Cargill, which will close down today in support of immigrants.

THE ULTIMATE MAYDAY ON MAY DAY: ON THIS DAY in 1960, the Soviet Union shot down an American U-2 reconnaissance plane near Sverdlovsk and captured its pilot, Francis Gary Powers. [New York Times e-headlines]

Update: Sunday, April 30, 2006, 12:21 a.m. PDT — ON THIS DATE in 1975, the South Vietnamese capital of Saigon fell to Communist forces. [New York Times e-headlines] See below.

[[EDITOR'S NOTE: Unless otherwise noted, historical items appear courtesy of longtime Nevada reporter Dennis Myers' Poor Denny's Almanac. Items highlighted in blue are of particular interest to labor. Copyright © 2006 Dennis Myers.]]

Alexander Hamilton/April 30, 1781: A national debt, if it is not excessive, will be to us a national blessing.

On April 30, 1774, in Virginia, colonists murdered the entire nine-member family of Mingo chief Thagahjute (baptized as Logan), precipitating Lord Dunsmore's War and provoking Logan's vengeance killings of more than a dozen settlers (which he explained in a famous letter; see below); in 1871, at an Arivaipa Apache camp, 110 women and children and 8 men were killed and 28 infants kidnapped by 150 Anglo and Mexican Arizonans led by William Oury (some of the attackers were tried and acquitted — Oury, a survivior of the Alamo seige, has a mountain in Texas named for him); in 1880, Charles Stevenson of Gold Hill (who would be elected governor six years later) said that the influential Storey County delegation to the state Republican convention in Austin would be overwhelmingly in favor of James G. Blaine for president over Elihu Washburne and that it would oppose any effort to bind the Nevada delegation to the GOP national convention; in 1889, there were huge celebrations across the nation of the centennial of George Washington's inauguration as president, including San Francisco (a two hour parade in with 10,000 people marching) and New York, where Washington took the oath (New York Episcopal Bishop Henry Potter used the occasion to denounce the anti-clerical Jefferson: "We have exchanged Washington's dignity for Jeffersonian simplicity, which was in truth only another name for Jacksonian vulgarity."), and in Reno "to the extent of a general display of bunting and the ringing of all the church bells of the town."; in 1889, two rail car loads of cats where shipped from Dubuque, Iowa, to Dakota Territory where there was a big demand because of a mice population that was damaging the wheat and corn crops; in 1907, the City of Reno was making a bundle off ladies of the evening — in April it collected $507 ($10,405.45 in 2005 dollars) in five- and ten-dollar fines; in 1926, at a conference on the Walker River, U.S. Represenative Samuel Arentz (who described himself as representing the agricultural water users), called on the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs to reach an agreement that would speed legal settlement of a lawsuit filed by U.S. Attorney George Springmeyer on behalf of the tribe (the tribe apparently was not permitted to represent itself at the conference); in 1952, Arizona started getting electricity from Hoover Dam; in 1957, at a soundtrack recording session for Jailhouse Rock, Jerry Lieber and Mike Stoller finally met the young singer who was making their songs famous; in 1968, David Robert Rogers of Las Vegas died in Quang Tri Province, Vietnam (panel 53e, row 22); in 1971, the Nixon administration, as part of its war on drugs, launched an offensive against marijuana growing in ten states, mostly in the midwest; in 1975, Saigon fell and the war in Vietnam ended with 3 million Vietnamese and 58,200 U.S. dead and 300,000 Vietnamese missing and 2,124 U.S. missing; in 1983, Muddy Waters died at age 68.

Chief Logan, by one account, "was to wander the rest of his life among the remnants of the once-proud tribes of the Eastern frontier. Broken, bitter and always melancholy, he turned to drink to ease the pain of the friendships of his father gone sour."  Part of his letter, from notes by Thomas Jefferson, read: "I appeal to any white man to say, if ever he entered Logan's cabin hungry, and he gave him not meat; if ever he came cold and naked, and he clothed him not. During the course of the last long and bloody war, Logan remained idle in his cabin, an advocate for peace. Such was my love for the whites, that my countrymen pointed as they passed, and said, Logan is the friend of the white men. I have even thought to live with you but for the injuries of one man. Col. Cresap, the last spring, in cold blood, and unprovoked, murdered all the relations of Logan, not sparing even my women and children. There runs not a drop of my blood in the veins of any living creature. This has called on me for revenge. I have sought it: I have killed many: I have fully glutted my vengeance. For my country, I rejoice at the beams of peace. But do not harbour a thought that mine is the joy of fear. Logan never felt fear. He will not turn on his heel to save his life. Who is there to mourn for Logan? Not one."

Update: Saturday, April 29, 2006, 4:12 a.m. PDT — ON THIS DATE in 1992, deadly rioting that claimed 54 lives and caused $1 billion in damage erupted in Los Angeles after a jury in Simi Valley acquitted four Los Angeles police officers of almost all state charges in the videotaped beating of Rodney King. [New York Times e-headlines]

On April 29, 1861, in spite of a secessionist editorial in the Baltimore Sun, the Maryland House of Delegates voted against seceding from the union, eliminating any need for the federal government to abandon the District of Columbia; in 1893, C. C. Powning, as president of the Reno Water Land & Light Company, submitted [to the Nevada board of regents] a proposition for furnishing the arc and incandescent lights at the university grounds and buildings which was accepted and ordered.; in 1899, the Reno Evening Gazette said "The fighting seems about over in the Philippines" (in fact, most of the war of aggression by U.S. forces against Filipino patriot forces was yet to come); in 1899, at Clark's Station in the Truckee River canyon east of Sparks, the bodies of three workers — smothered on April 28 when they were digging a well and they encountered a cave from which sand and water rushed in on them — were recovered and sent to Reno [EDITOR'S NOTE: Deja vu all over again]; in 1906, Acting Reno Mayor N.E. Wilson received a thank you letter from the Santa Rosa earthquake relief committee for food, clothing, and other supplies and a message that supplies were still needed, and a telegram from San Francisco's mayor saying that supplies were still needed there, too; in 1913, U.S. Secretary of State William Jennings Bryan was in Sacramento, trying to convince state legislators not to enact a prohibition on land ownership by non-U.S. citizens, and in Chicago a young Japanese killed himself in protest against the California legislation; in 1933, in Iowa, national guard soldiers enforcing martial law arrested four farmers whom they claimed had pulled a judge off the bench and threatened him with hanging if he approved any more farm foreclosures; in 1933, at an aristocratic mansion on Long Island, federal prohibition agents arrested eight people who were operating an elaborate distillery with 19 giant vats that could produce thousands of gallons a day; in 1933, songwriter/poet Rod McKuen, who spent part of his childhood in Alamo, Nevada, was born in Oakland; in 1960, Dick Clark testified before a congressional committee investigating payola, and its members seemed star struck but later issued a report harshly critical of Clark's behavior (Clark testified that he didn't accept payola, but did pay it, and that he accepted gifts and royalties that he claimed were not payola); in 1971, a day after former Army sergeant Danny Notley gave congressional testimony that he saw William Calley's brigade methodically mow down 30 unresisting women and children a year before the My Lai massacre, former artillery observer Kenneth Campbell testified that he personally directed the destruction of two peaceful Vietnamese villages that resulted in the deaths of at least 20 Vietnamese (and also on this date, Capt. Eugene Kotouc was acquitted of charges arising from his actions in the My Lai massacre); in 1971, a federal treasury official said the feds were ready to install customs and immigration facilities at the Clark County airport in preparation for the start of international flights in July; in 1983, Harold Washington became the first black mayor of Chicago; in 2004, George Bush testified before the commission investigating September 11, but would not appear without Richard Cheney at his side.

Reno Evening Gazette/April 29, 1879: The only remaining child of Mr. And Mrs. Van Meter died this morning after an illness of thirty-seven days. This makes the third child Mr. and Mrs. Van Meter have lost by the dreaded scourge, scarlet fever. The funeral sermon will be preached at the family residence on the Truckee Meadows tomorrow morning at 11 o'clock, after which the little one will be brought to town and laid away with its brother and sister.

Update: Friday, April 28, 2006, 12:10 a.m. PDT — ON THIS DATE in 1947, a six-man expedition sailed from Peru aboard a balsa wood raft named Kon-Tiki on a 101-day journey across the Pacific Ocean to Polynesia. How soon we forget Thor Heyerdahl, Aku Aku and Eiko Eiko. (Apologies to the New York Times, the Dixie Cups and the Grateful Dead.) Now for a little remembrance of a notably failed expedition...

On April 28, 1967, Gen. William C. "Light at the End of the Tunnel" / "We will not prevail in the classic sense" Westmoreland told Congress that the U.S. "would prevail in Vietnam"; on the same day in 1967, heavyweight boxing champion Muhammed Ali refused induction into the U.S. Army. [Associated Press/Reno Gazette-Journal, Westmoreland nickname quotes added by NevadaLabor.com]

On April 28, 1789, the crew of H.M.S. Bounty, which was on a voyage whose objective was to develop a more cost effective food supply for British slaves in the West Indies, mutinied against Captain William Bligh, who was set adrift with his allies, made it back to England (his comrades mutinied against him en route), and was later appointed governor of Australia (which then also mutinied against his rule); in 1886, Carson City's anti-Chinese faction met to nominate candidates for local office; in 1914, a week after his private army massacred striking miners and their families in Ludlow, Colorado, mining magnate John D. Rockefeller was asked by President Wilson to help settle the mining war in that state and Rockefeller refused; in 1914, snow scientist and James E. Church and a friend, who had been feared lost in the mountains, arrived in Brockaway by motorboat after two weeks on Mount Rose and met a search party that was looking for them but they were unable to contact and turn around a search party headed up Mount Rose; in 1932, a Literary Digest poll put 1,236,660 of those surveyed in support of alcohol prohibition, 3,431,877 opposed; in 1942, in a message to Congress, President Roosevelt outlined a seven-point wartime program to ration scarce goods, curb wages, and devote all available financial resources to the war effort: "And I therefore believe that in time of this grave national danger, when all excess income should go to win the war, no American citizen ought to have a net income, after he has paid his taxes, of more than $25,000 a year" (about $313,698.62 in 2005 dollars); in 1942, two weeks after Secretary of the Navy Frank Knox chose Lake Tahoe as the site of a wartime naval training facility, U.S. Sen. Patrick McCarran, D-Nev., (whose dearest wish was to break up the Pyramid Lake Indian Reservation) convinced Admiral Benjamin Morrell to study Pyramid Lake as the site; in 1965, actor Peter Sellers was filmed presenting two Grammys to the Beatles to be shown at the Grammy ceremony in May (during the ceremony John Lennon started chattering French gibberish, which Sellers and the other Beatles joined until it evolved into the World War One John McCormack song It's A Long Way To Tipperary); in 1967, This Diamond Ring by [former Reno resident] Gary Lewis [son of Jerry] and the Playboys went gold; in 1967,  Hair opened on Broadway after six months off Broadway; in 1987, U.S. engineer Benjamin Linder, working on a small hydroelectric plant to help the Nicaraguan village of San José de Bocay, was executed by U.S.-funded contra troops (the Reagan administration denounced Linder for being "in harm‚s way"); in 1999, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to limit President Clinton's power to commit troops in Yugoslavia and rejected on a tie vote a resolution supporting Clinton's bombing campaign; in 2003, the Nevada Assembly met in the old Assembly hall in the Nevada capitol building for the first time since 1969 and were addressed by Nevada State Archives administrator Guy Louis Rocha; in 2005, Eric W. Morris of Sparks died in Tel Afar, Iraq.

[[EDITOR'S NOTE: Unless otherwise noted, historical items appear courtesy of longtime Nevada reporter Dennis Myers' Poor Denny's Almanac. Items highlighted in blue are of particular interest to labor. Copyright © 2006 Dennis Myers.]]

Update: Thursday, April 27, 2006, 6:03 a.m. PDT — A DAY WITHOUT IMMIGRANTS: Las Vegas Strip casinos and Culinary Union push petition alternative to MayDay walkout. (Las Vegas Review-Journal) Recommended viewing: A Day Without a Mexican, now playing on most premium cable movie channels. MayDay!

Update: Thursday, April 27, 2006, 12:30 a.m. PDT — ON THIS DATE in 1947, "Babe Ruth Day" at Yankee Stadium was held to honor the ailing baseball star. [New York Times e-headlines]

New York Times/April 27, 1947: [Poor Denny's Almanac] "Wherever organized baseball was played yesterday Babe Ruth was honored. Ceremonies at the Yankee Stadium, where the Babe was given the greatest ovation in the history of the national pastime, were broadcast throughout the world, and what Ruth and others had to say was piped to other ball parks...Older, grayer, no longer the robust Babe who wrote diamond history, George Herman Ruth stood before a microphone at home plate. He talked to the crowd, biggest baseball turnout of the year. And what he had to say was extemporaneous. Babe said he did not need to write down things that came from the heart."

ON APRIL 27, 1773, the British Parliament lowered the tea tax, which would later provoke the Boston tea party at which colonists demanded that the tea tax be raised; in 1865, shortly after the end of the Civil War, the steamship Saldana experienced an explosion near Memphis killing 1,700 — most of them Union soldiers freed from Andersonville prison and traveling home — the worst marine disaster in history, with more dead than the Titanic (it has been largely forgotten because it occurred during the still ongoing mourning in the aftermath of the Lincoln assassination); in 1888, 23 years after the end of the Civil War, Nevada officials were surprised by a check from the U.S. government for $23,180.92 (the equivalent of $475,790.35 in 2005 dollars) in partial payment for the money the state spent in outfitting soldiers for the war and for later battles with Native Americans in Elko and White Pine counties; in 1907, records from the Esmeralda County Courthouse were moved from Hawthorne to a temporary courthouse in the new county seat of Goldfield (Hawthorne would become a county seat again in 1911 when Mineral County was created); in 1907, H.C. Dangberg of Gardnerville said he had located and tapped an underground river with an "inexhaustible supply" of water, so he was setting up his own water utility; in 1927, University of Nevada President Walter Clark, after obtaining graduation lists from 22 Nevada high schools, sent letters to all the state's high school seniors asking them to attend the university; in 1937, during the Spanish Civil War, anarchist Mayor Antonio Martin of Puigcerda, Spain, was shot and killed; in 1947, Babe Ruth, who would die the next year, was honored by baseball with a Babe Ruth Day that included the biggest attendance of the year at Yankee Stadium (58,339) [See above]; in 1962, the building committee of the University of Nevada Board of Regents discussed an exterior mural for the new library on the Las Vegas campus; in 1965, Edward R. Murrow died in New York [See below]; in 1966, President Johnson signed legislation to promote recreation development at Pyramid Lake; in 1967, Arthur Davies, Jr., of Reno died in Tay Ninh, Vietnam (panel 18e, row 101); in 1968, Mrs. Robinson was released by Columbia Records (to the sorrow of dedicated Simon and Garfunkel fans, no recording based on the far superior Graduate film score arrangement was ever released, except for a short version on the soundtrack album); in 1975, Saigon was completely encircled, and within three days the Vietnam War would end; in 1998, the Aladdin Hotel in Las Vegas was blown up; in 1999, plans for Park Place Entertainment Corporation to purchase Caesars World Inc. for $3 billion, possibly the biggest casino transaction in Nevada history, was announced; in 2002, the entire town of Laughlin on the Nevada/Arizona border was put under lockdown after a melee by rival motorcycle gangs left three people dead and more than a dozen injured.

Bill Moyers: The last time I saw Murrow, we got into a conversation. He said "What are you going to do when you leave the White House?" And I said "Well, I either want to go run a newspaper or I want to go into your business, broadcasting. He sort of smiled that wry smile of his and he says "Well, I hope you come to broadcasting, but just keep in mind, sooner or later they'll get you." What he meant by that was that in time, if you wanted to be serious in this business, your tether was short, that the clowns and the ringmasters and the barkers, the carnival would take over totally and the journalists would be in jeopardy. I think he felt that very keenly toward the end of his life.

Update: Wednesday, April 26, 2006, 4:08 a.m. PDT — Nevada ranks among the worst in the nation for citizens without access to any health care: Nevada ranks 12th among 50 states and the District of Columbia when it comes to the number of uninsured adults with no access to care, according to a report released today. An estimated 36 percent of uninsured adults in Nevada are unable to get care. Read the entire Reno Gazette-Journal sad story...Speaking of poor health care...

ON THIS DATE in 1986, the world's worst nuclear accident occurred at the Chernobyl plant in the Soviet Union. An explosion and fire in the No. 4 reactor sent radioactivity into the atmosphere; at least 31 Soviets died immediately. [New York Times e-headlines] (See below.)

ON APRIL 26, 121, Marcus Aurelius Antoninus, one of the "five good emperors" of Rome (Nerva, Trajan, Hadrian, Antoninus Pius and Marcus Aurelius), was born in Rome as Marcus Annius Catilius Severus; in 1861, James Fenimore AKA James Finney, who supposedly named Virginia City, Nevada, was injured in an accident on a horse he stole and died the next day; in 1872, William "Buffalo Bill" Cody and three other soldiers killed three Native Americans in an engagement near the Platte River in Nebraska, for which they received the Medal of Honor for "gallantry in action"; in 1877, Reno's Odd Fellows Hall was dedicated; in 1912, U.S. xenophobia got a good workout on two different fronts — news reports suggested that Mexico and Japan were becoming too economically cozy ("Japanese are gaining foothold in Mexico"); in 1912, plans to install an elevator and add a story atop Reno's gorgeous Overland Hotel were announced; in 1924, there were rumors in Reno of a federal investigation of an unnamed Nevada Democratic politician on suspicion of violating the U.S. law against boxing movies (in 1910, after African American boxer Jack Johnson defeated "great white hope" Jim Jeffries in Reno, movies of the bout were released and they sparked white rioting, prompting passage of a federal law banning the interstate transport of fight films); in 1926, construction began on the new Riverside Hotel (the previous Riverside had burned in March 1922) designed by architect Frederick de Longchamps; in 1927, the exposition board and chamber of commerce settled on plans for a tent city to provide a thousand housing units at a cost of $35,000 to accommodate visitors to the Transcontinental Highways Exposition in Reno; in 1937, German Nazi aircraft bombed the Spanish town of Guernica; in 1937, Duane Eddy was born in Corning, New York; in 1942, Bobby Rydell was born in Philadelphia; in 1952, Ormsby County District Attorney Paul Laxalt, who had filed a charge of using public money for unauthorized purposes against former Carson City treasurer L.A. Menzies when city accounts came up $8,000 short, added four more counts after a review of the books revealed another $3,000 missing; in 1967, Robert John Henry of Las Vegas died in Quang Tri Province, Vietnam (panel 18e, row 94 on the Vietnam wall); in 1969, Richard Howard Walker of Sparks was killed in Quang Nam Province, Vietnam (panel 26w, row 58); in 1971, Nevada state legislators raised the pay of subsequent legislators from $2,400 to $3,600 for each legislative session; in 1979, Ringo, a semi-autobiographical television special featuring Ringo Starr playing both parts in The Prince and the Pauper and narrated by George Harrison, was broadcast; in 1984, William (Count) Basie died; in 1986, a "controlled" experiment in the fourth reactor of the Chernobyl Power Plant in the Ukraine went awry, resulting in a core meltdown and two explosions that put clouds of radioactive material into the atmosphere for more than a week, killing 31 people instantly, exposing people in the area of the reactor to radioactivity a hundred times higher than Hiroshima, exposing people downwind to less intense but still dangerous radiation that produced birth defects for years (more than 10,000,000 people can be considered victims of the disaster); in 1992, Russian Orthodox worshipers observed Easter publicly and legally for the first time in 74 years; in 1998, two days after Guatemalan Bishop and human rights leader Juan Gerardi Conedera released a report on atrocities in the country's U.S.-provoked 36-year civil war, he was beaten to death in the garage of the parish house of the San Sebastián Church in Guatemala City; in 2000, in a signing closed to the public and press, Vermont Governor Howard Dean quietly signed legislation creating civil unions for same-gender couples.

Update: Tuesday, April 25, 2006, 2:04 a.m. PDT — ON THIS DATE in 1719, Robinson Crusoe was published; in 1876, the Chicago White Stockings — now the Chicago Cubs — beat Louisville 4-0 in the first National League game (and the first National League shut out); in 1907, U.S. Sen. Francis Newlands of Nevada announced that he had taken over San Francisco's Fairmont Hotel on a $3,000 a week lease; in 1923, the Truckee River Power Company offered stock in Sierra Pacific Electric Company for $80 a share; in 1944, the United Negro College Fund was established; in 1945, United States and Soviet forces linked up on the Elbe River, in central Europe, a meeting that dramatized the collapse of Nazi Germany [New York Times e-headlines]; in 1950, character actor Hobart Cavanaugh, a Virginia City native, died after a career that spanned vaudeville, Broadway (at least 23 plays), and movies (at least 178); in 1952, Tonopah Times Bonanza publisher Robert Crandall revived the Goldfield News; in 1954, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill refused to join the Eisenhower administration in an effort to intervene in Indochina to save the French colonial government from the Vietnamese at Dien Bien Phu; in 1964, the Paul McCartney song World Without Love by Peter and Gordon hit number one; in 1967, the Beatles began recording sessions for Magical Mystery Tour; in 1971, 200,000 people marched on Washington against the Vietnam war; in 1977, in Saginaw Elvis made his last concert recording; in 1996, a rededication ceremony was held at the University of Nevada in Reno for a statue of John Mackay that was originally installed in 1908.

Update: Monday, April 24, 2006, 8:52 p.m. PDT — The Reno Northtowne Wal-Mart has posted notices that read: "Attention WAL-MART Guests Contrary to reports by the local media, the Northtowne store WILL NOT BE CLOSING in January when the new store on Pyramid Highway opens..." (Does that mean they'll close it in February or March?)

      Wal-Mart consistently issues such denials up until the day a closing is announced. Their pattern is to shut down smaller stores as soon as a superstore is within range. Looks like they will now have three (McCarran/7th, Pyramid and north valleys) in the marketing area of the non-grocery Northtowne location next to a huge Winco grocery outlet. More...

Update: Monday, April 24, 2006, 8:36 p.m. PDT — Nevada Cement contract ratified. Threat of regional cement strike ends.

FERNLEY — Union members have voted overwhelmingly to ratify a new five-year contract with Nevada Cement, the major supplier of the region's most critical construction material. The existing contract with Laborers' Union Local 169 and Teamsters Local 533 expired at 12:01 a.m. on March 25 after having been extended several times in attempts to reach agreement.

The workers ratified the new contract with their first vote and decided on pension issues with a second ballot. Both passed by substantial margins.

Pensions were the remaining sticking point when negotiations adjourned earlier this month. The employees voted tonight to reserve the right to allocate part of their wage increase, up to 25 cents per hour, toward pensions beginning in the second year of the new agreement. They will finalize their decision after receipt of additional information. Once the financial data has been analyzed, their decision on whether to allocate and, if so, how much, will become final for years two through five.

The Teamsters and Laborers unions together represent about 90 workers in the joint bargaining unit, all of whom are covered under the contract. Nevada Cement has been signatory to the unions' joint collective bargaining agreement since 1973. Laborers' Local 169 represents about 1,800 workers engaged in northern Nevada skilled construction. Teamsters Local 533 represents about 2,200 employees in many fields in addition to drivers throughout northern Nevada and northeastern California.

Click here for a complete recap of negotiations as they have proceeded.

[[EDITOR'S NOTE: Unless otherwise noted, historical items appear courtesy of longtime Nevada reporter Dennis Myers' Poor Denny's Almanac. Items highlighted in blue are of particular interest to labor. Copyright © 2006 Dennis Myers.]]

Update: Monday, April 24, 2006, 5:12 a.m. PDT — ON THIS DATE in 1898, Spain declared war on the United States after rejecting America's ultimatum to withdraw from Cuba. [New York Times e-headlines]

U.S. Interior Secretary J.A Krug to U.S. House Speaker Sam Rayburn/April 24, 1946: Some lost everything they had; many lost most of what they had. The chief military justification for the removal of those 110,000 persons was the possibility of the existence of a disloyal element in their midst, the critical military situation in the Pacific which increased uneasiness over the possibility of espionage or sabotage, and the lack of time and facilities for individual loyalty screening. The persons evacuated were not individually charged with any crime or with disloyalty, and subsequent experience has clearly demonstrated that the vast majority of them were and are good Americans. This is convincingly indicated by the outstanding record of out 23,000 Japanese-Americans who served in the armed forces in both the European and Pacific theatres, and by the fact that the records of the intelligence agencies show no case of sabotage or espionage by Americans of Japanese ancestry during the entire war.

ON APRIL 24, 1792, the La Marseillaise, the French anthem, was composed by Claude Joseph Rouget de Lisle; in 1877, the Central Pacific Railroad was sending first class cars to Ogden because the rate of emigration from east to west had become so heavy that emigrant class cars were being overwhelmed; in 1884, the Reno Evening Gazette and Winnemucca's Silver State were debating whether Utah should be annexed to Nevada in order to solve the polygamy problem (Nevada was originally a part of Utah Territory); in 1889, plans were being laid for a line of steam wagons to travel up the Lousetown grade from the Truckee River canyon to Virginia City in competition with the Virginia and Truckee Railroad; in 1915, in Turkey, genocide against Armenians began, resulting in two million deaths over seven years; in 1920, Republican U.S. Sen. Arthur Capper of Kansas said the United States had become a "robbers roost" of corporate profiteers and Republican U.S. Sen. Irvine Lenroot of Wisconsin said that if a "single millionaire were sent to Leavenworth under the laws now on the books some of this profiteering would be stopped"; in 1920, with President Wilson's attorney general running amuck arresting and deporting political radicals while the president was bedridden, the Nevada Republican Party adopted a resolution saying that it was "the responsibility of all citizens to respect, preserve, and sustain" the Constitution; in 1936, in Russia, plans were being made to use television on the Volga canal to allow lock operators to see approaching watercraft; in 1936, a water wagon was driving back and forth each day between Carson City and the Lakeview Hill to water 121 trees and 804 shrubs planted along the highway as part of a state highway department beautification project (a similar line of 56 Chinese elms were planted long the road between Dayton and Carson); in 1936, the second Helldorado began in Las Vegas; in 1944, the United States Supreme Court, in an opinion written by Justice Douglas, placed the validity of religious belief beyond the authority of juries (prosecutors had argued that in order to defraud others, an advocate of the "I Am" movement made spiritual claims that he "well knew" were false, thus putting jurors in the position of adjudging the sincerity of his beliefs; see below); in 1946, President Truman's interior secretary J.A. Krug wrote a letter to U.S. House Speaker Sam Rayburn and enclosed draft legislation to provide reparations to U.S. citizens interned during the war (see above); in 1957, Ricky Nelson's first record, I'm Walkin' b/w Teenager's Romance was released, its sales helped by its performance on his parents' television show; in 1958, I Wonder Why b/w Teen Angel by Dion and the Belmonts was released, the first recording of the Laurie label; in 1965, President Johnson signed executive order 11216, designating Vietnam and the waters adjacent thereto as a combat zone for the purposes of section 112 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1954; in 1966, the last edition of the New York Herald Tribune was published; in 1972, John Lennon's Woman Is The Nigger Of The World was released, most radio stations refusing to broadcast it (it still sold well); in 2000, Nevada Assembly speaker pro tempore Jan Evans died.

Justice William O. Douglas/U.S. vs. Ballard/April 24, 1944: Heresy trials are foreign to our Constitution. Men may believe what they cannot prove. They may not be put to the proof of their religious doctrines or beliefs. Religious experiences which are as real as life to some may be incomprehensible to others. Yet the fact that they may be beyond the ken of mortals does not mean that they can be made suspect before the law. Many take their gospel from the New Testament. But it would hardly be supposed that they could be tried before a jury charged with the duty of determining whether those teachings contained false representations. The miracles of the New Testament, the Divinity of Christ, life after death, the power of prayer are deep in the religious convictions of many. If one could be sent to jail because a jury in a hostile environment found those teachings false, little indeed would be left of religious freedom. The Fathers of the Constitution were not unaware of the varied and extreme views of religious sects, of the violence of disagreement among them, and of the lack of any one religious creed on which all men would agree. They fashioned a charter of government which envisaged the widest possible toleration of conflicting views. Man's relation to his God was made no concern of the state. He was granted the right to worship as he pleased and to answer to no man for the verity of his religious views. The religious views espoused by respondents might seem incredible, if not preposterous, to most people. But if those doctrines are subject to trial before a jury charged with finding their truth or falsity, then the same can be done with the religious beliefs of any sect. When the triers of fact undertake that task, they enter a forbidden domain. The First Amendment does not select any one group or any one type of religion for preferred treatment. It puts them all in that position.

Update: Sunday, April 23, 2006, 1:37 a.m. PDT — ON THIS DATE in 1969, Sirhan Sirhan was sentenced to death for assassinating Sen. Robert F. Kennedy, D-New York. The sentence was later reduced to life imprisonment. [New York Times e-headlines]

ON APRIL 23, 1538, John Calvin was expelled from Geneva for withholding communion because he considered the people of the city too evil; 1564, William Shakespeare was born (or so it is traditionally assumed, it being three days before his baptism); 1616, Cervantes and Shakespeare died; 1791, James Buchanan, who signed legislation making Nevada a U.S. territory on his last day in office as president, was born in Pennsylvania; in 1870, African American barber William Bird announced his candidacy for mayor of Virginia City, provoking denunciations from Republicans who felt he would draw votes away from the white GOP candidate; in 1881, Scientific American reported on the annual Fulton Fish Market trout exhibition in New York, saying that certain specimens were "specially worthy of notice: Truckee river trout, a large black spotted fish which grows from six to ten pounds in weight. Lake Tahoe trout, also a black spotted fish, but much larger than the Truckee river trout. It averages about twelve pounds in weight, although they have been caught weighing as high seventeen pounds."; in 1899, when a lynching was advertised ahead of time in Atlanta newspapers, two trainloads of Georgians arrived in Newnan, Georgia, where Sam Hose (accused of killing his employer who reportedly pulled a gun on him in a wage dispute) was lynched by being skinned alive, his ears, genitals, and fingers cut off, and then burned at the stake; in 1909, former U.S. senator (1864-1875 and 1887-1905) William Stewart of Nevada died at Georgetown Hospital outside Washington; in 1912, a Washoe County grand jury investigating liquor sales in Reno's tenderloin returned its first indictment; in 1934, a day after he accused first lady Eleanor Roosevelt of jacking up the prices on pieces manufactured by her furniture factory, U.S. Sen. Thomas Schall of Minnesota promised to meet with her but failed to show up for the meeting, and she then held a news conference to say that her factory sold directly to department stores, she had no control over what those stores did to the prices, and she had never made a cent on the factory in Hyde Park; in 1938, Emma Goldman attended a conference in London on the Spanish Civil War but came away believing the conference was rigged by communists; in 1941, in Washington, the Works Progress Administration approved a $14,121 grant for improvements at the Winnemucca general hospital; in 1946, before Korea was carved up by the large powers, the influential Korean Anarchist Congress met in Anwi, drawing Korean, Chinese, Japanese, and Manchurian radicals who would influence Asian history for a generation; in 1951, Babe Didrikson Zaharias won the LPGA women's open; in 1956, Elvis appeared in Las Vegas for the first time, as an "extra added attraction" advertised as "the atomic powered singer", but bombed with audiences; in 1959, New York police reported that seven men from several organized crime areas (Chicago, Detroit, and Florida) were on their way to the city to kill Cuban Premier Fidel Castro, who was touring the United States (Castro had shut down the mob-run casinos in Cuba); in 1959, Albert Einstein accepted a wager proposed by Nevada Astronomical Society president Pascal Rapier after scientist Edward Teller in Las Vegas suggested a means of testing the theory of relativity (Rapier bet against the theory, Teller said Einstein was right and that the theory could be tested by an atomic explosion in space); in 1959, the National Committee of Radiation Protection doubled its estimate of the amount of Strontium 90 (a radioactive isotope present in the fallout from atomic tests in Nevada) that can be in the human body without exceeding "excessive" levels; in 1961, Judy Garland gave a sensational and acclaimed concert at Carnegie Hall; in 1971, Nevada gambling regulators denied permission for use of electronic casino equipment — a "lucky seven" device manufactured by Baja Electonics that would have been used at Bill and Effie's Boomtown in Verdi and a wheel of fortune device manufactured by Bally Manufacturing that would have been used at Reno's Club Cal Neva; in 1975, Gerald Ford declared an end to the U.S. role in Vietnam, which Congress had already done by rejecting his request to provide funding for the U.S. to re-enter the war; in 1981, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins, and Johnny Cash recorded an album in that country music capitol, Stuttgart; in 1993, César Chávez died too soon; in 2002, Nevada columnist Andrew Barbano was named columnist of the year by the Reno Media Press Club.

Reno Evening Gazette/April 23, 1883: The Latitude Allowed Reporters
The Chinese proprietor, editor and reporter of the Chinese newspaper, Hong Kong, was arrested Wednesday night in a lottery den in San Francisco. He claimed immunity from arrest, as he was in the discharge of his duties, and that the Supreme Court had decided that reporters could go anywhere in pursuit of information. His claim was admitted.

Update: Saturday, April 22, 2006, 2:59 a.m. PDT — ON THIS DATE in 1880, McClelland and Simpson of Reno shipped some Truckee trout to the famed Fulton Fish Market in New York, including both the trout known locally as silver trout and dark or spotted trout, and, as reported by the Chicago Field, "He also sent a number of splendid Truckee trout, which, notwithstanding Mr. Seth Green's assertion, had none of the characteristics of the land locked salmon and were pronounced by other experts genuine Salvilini fontinalis"; in 1926, in Washington, U.S. Senator Key Pittman said that a hundred thousand horsepower of the electric energy expected to be developed on the Colorado River must be reserved for Nevada to provide both for the state's present needs but also its future growth; in 1926, the U.S. Senate irrigation committee approved $175,000 for the construction of a dam in Schurz Canyon on the Walker River in Nevada; in 1927, after the theft of twenty rabbits from the Nevada asylum, Sparks police nabbed three boys who wanted to assure themselves of "plenty of Easter eggs"; in 1931, an autogyro piloted by James Ray landed on the White House lawn; in 1939, in response to two questions asked by German ambassadors, numerous European nations offered assurances that they did not feel threatened by Nazi aggression (the Germans asked the questions after President Roosevelt called for Nazi assurances of nonaggression to 31 nations); in 1939, on its 50th anniversary, the Oklahoma land rush was reenacted [see below]; in 1939, the White Bear Mining Company of Altoona, Pennsylvania, lacking enough capital to operate its Pershing County mine in Nevada, launched a system under which it provided the machinery and lumber and workers provided their food and work, and returns from shipments to the smelter were split evenly between mine and miners; in 1952, an atom bomb was detonated at the Nevada test site, the first test broadcast on television, viewed by reporters (including Bob Considine and Walter Cronkite) from a newly established viewing site ("news nob"); in 1959, Go Johnny Go, a movie filmed in about ten minutes on a budget of about eleven dollars but containing great music by Jimmy Clanton, Chuck Berry, the Cadillacs, Richie Valens, Eddie Cochran, the Flamingos, and Jackie Wilson (and also featuring Alan Freed) premiered; in 1959, with motel owners around Nevada being threatened with prosecution under a new state law banning price advertising on their signs [EDITOR'S NOTE: The statute banning price competition lasted for roughly the next 40 years until the gambling industry ordered it scrapped.], eleven Las Vegas owners went to court to try to obtain an injunction against the law; in 1963, attorney Mike Fondi joined Gov. Grant Sawyer's staff; in 1966, Wild Thing by the Troggs was released; in 1966, Michigan State University President John Hannah denied a Ramparts magazine report that the university provided cover for CIA agents in Vietnam; in 1966, author Marguerite Henry (Brighty of the Grand Canyon, King of the Wind, Misty of Chincoteague) visited Pyramid Lake; in 1970, the first Earth Day, the idea of U.S. Sen. Gaylord Nelson, D-Wisconsin, was held; in 1983, the Nevada Test Site was loaned to Britain for a nuclear bomb test; in 1993, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum opened in Washington, D.C.; in 2000, Elian Gonzales was rescued from Miami and reunited with his father.

ON APRIL 22, 1889, the Oklahoma Land Rush began at noon as thousands of homesteaders staked claims. [New York Times e-headlines]

[[EDITOR'S NOTE: Unless otherwise noted, historical items appear courtesy of longtime Nevada reporter Dennis Myers' Poor Denny's Almanac. Items highlighted in blue are of particular interest to labor. Copyright © 2006 Dennis Myers.]]

Update: Friday, April 21, 2006, 1:08 a.m. PDT — ON THIS DATE in 1142, religious scholar Pierre Abelard, who wrote about the relationship between faith and knowledge and who taught a young woman named Heloise, fell in love with her, married her, was castrated by her uncle, took holy orders along with her, and continued their love platonically through a legendary correspondence, died at Saint Marcel monastery; in 1838, John Muir was born in Dunbar, Scotland; in 1870, construction began on the Nevada capitol; in 1876, Trenton, New Jersey, businessperson Edmund Hill visited the Nevada mining mill exhibit at the centennial exposition in Philadelphia and later recorded the visit in his journal; in 1907, officers and special detectives were searching Reno for former San Francisco police commissioner Alexander O'Grady, who was wanted for questioning by a California grand jury investigating graft; in 1907, a letter written by former U.S. Sen. William Stewart of Nevada, denouncing William Jennings Bryan, was being circulated to newspapers; in 1910, as he had predicted, Samuel Clemens went out with Halley's Comet; in 1920, the Reno Evening Gazette reported rumors of an impending walkout by Tonopah miners which it could not confirm but blamed on a radical agitator; in 1948, members of the Washo tribe in Nevada and California met and agreed to hire attorneys to represent the tribe before the new federal Indian Claims Commission, created by Congress to redress longstanding Native American grievances; in 1949, University of Chicago Chancellor Robert Maynard Hutchins took a rare stance in the postwar red-baiting period — he defended the right of students to be communists before a hearing of an Illinois Legislature seditious activities investigating committee; in 1949, leftist reporter Gregorios Stahtopoulos was convicted of assassinating U.S. reporter George Polk during the Greek civil war (a former OSS officer hired by Walter Lippmann to investigate the Polk murder concluded it was more likely committed by right wing groups); in 1949, Jock Taylor took over ownership of Austin's Reese River Reveille; in 1956, Elvis' first national hit, Heartbreak Hotel, reached number one; in 1959, at Las Vegas' Desert Inn, Jimmy Durante reunited onstage with Eddie Jackson, who had performed with him and Lou Clayton in the Three Sawdust Bums (Damon Runyon: "I doubt if a greater combination ever lived"; Durante: "We was collossial"); in 1959, the Culinary Workers union threw a picket line around the Tip Top Drive Inn in Las Vegas, the only restaurant in the city not to sign a union contract or negotiate one; in 1960, CBS broadcast Biography of a Cancer, produced by Fred Friendly and featuring footage of the actual cancer surgery performed on famed Navy physician Tom Dooley in 1971, in a portentous move, the Washoe County Bar Association recommended that Gov. Mike O'Callaghan appoint Jerry Whitehead to be a Nevada district court judge, though O'Callaghan had requested five names; in 1975, Saigon regime strongman Nguyen Van Thieu "resigned" as his cronies prepared to remove him from power while the north Vietnamese moved closer to Saigon; in 1977, Annie opened on Broadway.

Update: Thursday, April 20, 2006, 6:21 a.m. PDT — ON THIS DATE in 1871, Congress, responding to a message from President Grant detailing the breakdown of law and order in the southern states, enacted the Ku Klux Klan Act to deal with "arson, robbery, whippings, shootings, murders, and other forms of violence and intimidation - often committed in disguise and under cover of night."; in 1883, eagles, which were observed on Sun Mountain/Mount Davidson in Virginia City's early days but then departed, were reported to have returned; in 1888, U.S. Postmaster General Don Dickinson wired a Nevada official that traffic at the Reno post office had increased to such an extent that it was being boosted from a third class to a second class post office; in 1892, Pope Leo XIII condemned Masons as "enemy forces, inspired by the evil spirit...with its poisonous infection it pervades entire communities"; in 1907, at a reception in Winnemucca, U.S. Sen. George Nixon announced he would build an opera house and donate it to the town; in 1910, in the California mining camp of Altair, a woman named Kate Wells, supported by her brother and son, defended a mining claim in a pitched gun battle against an attorney and deputies; in 1914, near a Rockefeller-owned mine in Ludlow, Colorado, a tent city of striking miners and their families who had been evicted from company-owned homes was surrounded by state militia, private detectives, and Rockefeller goons who opened fire with machine guns and set tents afire, killing 20 people, most of them children who smothered in pits under the tents that filled with smoke (the Rockefellers responded by hiring public relations experts and starting a charitable giving; in 1933, a federal bank examiner was scrutinizing the books of the First National Bank of Ely, which had not been permitted to reopen at the end of President Franklin Roosevelt's bank holiday; in 1939, Billie Holliday recorded Abel Meeropol's song Strange Fruit, which was to become one of her signature songs, for Commodore Records after Columbia refused to record it (a panel of songwriters convened by Britain's Mojo magazine named it number seven on a list of the ten best songs written in the 20th century); in 1948, an attempted assassination of Dr. Walter Reuther, president of the United Auto Workers, failed but the shotgun blast fired through his kitchen window still caused serious chest wounds and nearly blew his arm off; in 1959, workers at American Potash and Chemical in Henderson went out on strike; in 1959, John Mowbray was sworn in as Clark County's fourth state district judge; in 1962, the Daughters of the American Revolution called for a congressional investigation of the Kennedy administration's suspension of Major Archibald Roberts, who was suspended after Roberts made a speech to the DAR questioning the loyalty of conservative Los Angeles Mayor Sam Yorty and liberal former Michigan governor Mennen Williams; in 1962, Ferole Drew-Tingley of Reno donated a valuable collection of 2,200 opera and classical recordings to Boston University; in 1966, Cleveland numbers lord Don King, later a famed boxing promoter, stomped and pistol whipped a tuberculosis sufferer named Sam Garrett to death for not paying off on a bet. (Garrett's last words before slipping into unconsciousness: "Don, I'll pay you the money."); in 1969, Berkeley residents built a park on an unused University of California lot, whereupon the dog-in-a-manger university regents tried to reclaim the land, triggering the People's Park battle; in 1979, the New York Times reported that the Yellow Submarine had become an ecumenical religious symbol of both Catholic and Protestant youth; in 1971, the Pentagon released figures documenting the rise in fragging (killing of officers by their own soldiers using fragmentation grenades) in Vietnam, from 96 attempts in 1969 to 209 in 1970 (it was widely suspected that the figures understated the problem, and the figures did not include such killings using other weapons); in 1976, George Harrison joined Monty Python to sing The Lumberjack Song (Harrison later stepped in and funded Monty Python's Life of Brian when EMI Films withdrew its financing for fear of offending church groups; the Python crew performed The Lumberjack Song at the memorial Concert for George on November 29 2003); in 1976, the Rolling Stones released an album with a cover showing a woman tied up and bruised, sparking feminist vandalism of billboards advertising the album; in 1977, Annie Hall opened; in 1977, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that New Hampshire residents are within their rights if they cover the slogan "Live Free Or Die" on the state's license plates (a right which presumably extends to Idahoans and "Famous Potatoes").

Reno Evening Gazette/April 20, 1883: The class of immigrants now coming west are not as thrifty and intelligent as men and women should be to settle up and make prosperous a new country. From 100 to 200 men, women and children pass Reno every night, seeking a home. If one can judge from their conversation, looks and general appearance, they are not a class of people calculated to make a free country freer or a dull place prosperous. Too many of them are from the lower classes of foreign depression: They come here believing that any change is better than no change. They come without any idea of what they are to do or how they will go to work to do it. They are without means of any kind, bringing, in many cases, large families of small children, hanging to the ragged apron strings of an ignorant mother, to be reared and guided by the hand of a father who knows not the value of public schools, the blessings of free institutions or endowed with the common sense to make them good men and women and useful members of society.

ON APRIL 19, 1971, the United States Supreme Court upheld the use of busing to achieve racial desegregation in schools. [New York Times e-headlines]


Update: Wednesday, April 19, 2006, 7:07 p.m. PDT — NEVADALABOR.COM TOMORROW'S NEWS TODAY: The first results of major new research on the effects of secondhand cigarette/cigar smoke will be published this week. The extensive four-year study of northern and southern Nevada casino workers purportedly contains the ultimate smoking gun: evidence that secondhand smoke changes the DNA of non-smokers. Can you say cancer? The study had nothing to do with either the workplace smoke initiative or its weaker gambling industry-funded competitor. The dueling petitions will appear on Nevada's general election ballot this November. Stay tuned. Don't inhale.

BARBWIRE Peerless Prediction: The industry will be ready with a phony contrary study, just like 1996.

Click here for what may prove a preview of the study.

LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL POLL: Both smoking initiatives have strong support. (4-11-2006)

Study could snuff casino smoke — Reno Gazette-Journal 5-15-2006

Update: Wednesday, April 19, 2006, 4:10 a.m. PDT — ON THIS DATE in 1995, a truck bomb exploded outside the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, killing 168 people and injuring 500. Timothy McVeigh was convicted of the bombing and sentenced to death. [New York Times e-headlines]

ON APRIL 19, 1529, at the Diet of Speier, 14 cities formally protested Holy Roman Emperor Charles V's actions against Lutheranism;  in 1775, the American Revolution began; in 1870, the Sacramento Reporter editorialized: "Well, well! We don't wonder that the Bee is so intensely Republican; nor can we doubt that it is so conscientiously, for it don't seem to know what Radicalism has been doing. It is very true that the Fifteenth Amendment 'does not presume to dictate who shall be citizens,' but there is a prior amendment, the Fourteenth, which does... [It] makes every Digger in California and every Pi-ute in Nevada a citizen, beyond all question; and now comes the Fifteenth Amendment and gives them the right to vote. Indian Jim, who goes around our streets in a cast-off uniform, has as much right to vote at the next election as [Bee publisher] James McClatchy.... And that he will vote at the next election, we have not the slightest doubt."; in 1875, the Silver State in Winnemucca reported, "Prince Naches, who does not consider it beneath the dignity of a royal Paiute to peddle fish, is doing a thriving business in that line"; in 1882, President Arthur and his cabinet met to discuss the battles between the Cowboy gang and the Earp faction in Arizona Territory; in 1882, Bob Ford, who is remembered as "That dirty little coward/who shot Frank Howard", and his brother Charles arrived under guard first in St. Joseph and then Kansas City to face trial for the murder of Jesse James and James' cousin Wood Hite, although there were published expectations that the Fords would be pardoned for the James murder (which they were, on April 27 after the guilty verdict was returned);  in 1897, the Boston marathon was held for the first time, from Ashland to Boston; in 1943, a conference was convened in Bermuda at which U.S. and British officials carefully planned how to avoid interfering with Nazi treatment of the Jews; in 1943 Warsaw, the Jewish ghetto uprising against the Nazis began; in 1945, U.S. Secretary of State Edward Stettinius wrote to President Truman that the Philippines would be granted their independence only if they agreed to U.S. military bases on Philippine soil; in 1945, Carousel opened on Broadway; in 1951, Hiroshima survivor Shigeki Tanaka won the Boston marathon; in 1956, the Brooklyn Dodgers started playing games in New Jersey, abandoning Ebbets Field and laying the groundwork for a move to Los Angeles; in 1959, a producer of the television program The Price Is Right was trying to obtain title to the abandoned mining camp of Hamilton, Nevada, first county seat of White Pine County, so that a town could be awarded as a prize on the program; in 1965, Capitol released Ticket To Ride b/w Yes It Is by the Beatles; in 1967, Nancy and Frank Sinatra received a gold record for Something Stupid; in 1971, Dewey Canyon III, a five day protest against the war in Vietnam by Vietnam veterans, began in Washington, D.C.; in 1972, Roberta Flack received a gold record for The First Time (Ever I Saw Your Face); in 1983, students at the University of Mississippi demanded the end of use of the Confederate flag as a university symbol after some students demonstrated with the flag while shouting racial epithets (the next day, the university chancellor ordered an end to the use of the flag by the university); in 1989, author Daphne du Maurier (The Birds) died; in 1993, a local chapter of the Black Panther Party was organized in Las Vegas.

Reno Evening Gazette/April 19, 1882:  This evening there will be a grand show, which Renoites are invited to witness. As it will take place out of doors there will be no charge for admittance. About 9 o'clock V&T time (8:43 astronomical) Jupiter, the lordliest of all the planets, will attempt to hide himself and his satellites behind our punymoon.

Update: Tuesday, April 18, 2006, 12:32 a.m. PDT — ON THIS DATE in 1906, a devastating earthquake struck San Francisco, followed by raging fires. About 700 people died. [New York Times e-headlines]

ON APRIL 18, 1775, Samuel Prescott, Paul Revere and William Dawes rode to warn colonists of the approach of the British army, with only Prescott completing his mission; in 1818, Native American and African American freedom fighters lost to a white force led by Andrew Jackson in the battle of Suwannee, Florida, during the Seminole war; in 1864, after the battle of Poison Spring, Arkansas, prisoners taken by the Confederates from the first Kansas Colored Volunteers were murdered rather than held; in 1906, in San Francisco a massive earthquake caused substantial damage and fires, mostly spread by misguided efforts to combat them (the earthquake registered on a Ewing pendulum seismograph in Carson City, Nevada, 181 miles from the epicenter); in 1906, the earthquake destroyed the Sunset Press building in San Francisco, which contained all the copy, drawings, and other content of the University of Nevada yearbook; in 1906, all the clocks stopped in the Nevada capitol at 5:12 a.m.; in 1906, Nevada mine owner George Wingfield was thrown from his bed in San Francisco's Palace Hotel; in 1907, the anniversary of the earthquake was commemorated by various events around San Francisco, such as a Merchants Association banquet at the Fairmont Hotel, in 1907, Carson City, Nevada, merchant Joseph Platt, a prominent member of the capital city's Jewish community, died (all state and county offices closed during his funeral); in 1908, the Nixon Opera House in Winnemucca, Nevada, opened; in 1912, the National Guard was used to break a strike by West Virginia coal miners; in 1921, in Washington, the Interstate Commerce Commission (to the pleasure of Reno shippers) ordered the transcontinental railroads to appear before them and show cause why they failed to put into effect the rates for shipment of commodities that had been approved almost a year earlier; in 1922, heavyweight champion Jack Johnson obtained patent number 1,413,121 on a wrench he invented; in 1927, the price of gasoline was up to a whopping 23 cents a gallon in Nevada compared to 12.5 cents in California; in 1929, Red Nichols and the Five Pennies recorded Glenn Miller's Indiana; in 1934, the first known laundromat opened, in Fort Worth; in 1936, Gene Autry recorded Back In The Saddle Again; in 1941, the U.S. War Department awarded a $22 million contract for enlargement of the Panama Canal to the Henry Kaiser Corporation (see 1978, below); in 1941, Nevada's three Civilian Conservation Corps camps for Native Americans — at Jack's Valley, Stewart, and the Walker River Reservation — held open houses; in 1942, one year before the start of the Warsaw ghetto uprising, 52 ghetto residents were pulled from their beds in the middle of the night and killed; in 1945, U.S. war reporter Ernie Pyle was killed on the Pacific Island of Ie Shiuma by Japanese gunfire (there is now a marker reading "At this spot the 77th Infantry Division lost a buddy. Ernie Pyle 18 April 1945"); in 1948, a 25-day brownout in western Nevada ended, though daylight saving continued (the casinos celebrated by turning their outdoor neon back on); in 1955, Albert Einstein died; in 1959, the new $36 million Las Vegas convention center was dedicated, with Gov. Grant Sawyer cutting the ribbon; in 1969, Robert Leroy Morgan, Jr., of Reno died in Tay Ninh Province, Vietnam (panel 26w, row 2 of the Vietnam wall); in 1970, William S. Monaham III of Las Vegas died in Quang Nam Province, Vietnam (panel 11w, row 21); in 1974, Judge John Sirica issued a subpoena for 64 White House tapes; in 1978, the U.S. Senate voted to turn the Panama Canal over to the people of Panama (see 1941, above); in 1996, Gov. Robert Miller presided at the dedication of the Nevada Extraterrestrial Highway, aka State Route 375, in a ceremony at Rachel in Lincoln County (one of the guests at the ceremony was the marketing director for 20th Century Fox, which was then producing the movie Independence Day). [EDITOR'S NOTE: Also in attendance were Independence Day actor Brent Spiner, aka Mr. Data in Star Trek: The Next Generation, Assemblyman Bob Price, D-North Las Vegas, dressed as Darth Vader, and his wife, University of Nevada Regent Nancy Price.]; in 1996, Israeli artillery shelled a refugee camp in Qana, Lebanon, killing 100 people; in 2001, Las Vegas oral historian Elizabeth Nelson Patrick died; in 2003, Las Vegas casino show choreographer Charles (Cholly) Atkins died.

[[EDITOR'S NOTE: Unless otherwise noted, historical items appear courtesy of longtime Nevada reporter Dennis Myers' Poor Denny's Almanac. Items highlighted in blue are of particular interest to labor. Copyright © 2006 Dennis Myers.]]

Update: Monday, April 17, 2006, 2:25 a.m. PDT — ON THIS DATE in 1961, about 1,500 CIA-trained Cuban exiles launched the disastrous Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba in a failed attempt to overthrow the government of Fidel Castro. [New York Times e-headlines]

ON APRIL 17, 1907, Nevada District Judge John Orr fined former Nevada chief justice William Massey $5 (equivalent to about $103 in 2005 dollars) for contempt of court when Massey left a courtroom after Orr explained his reasons for an order (Orr took offense that Massey "stalked" out); 1910, Emma Goldman spoke in Reno's Eagle Hall on "Anarchism and Marriage and Love (free love)"; in 1912, the U.S. Senate formed a special committee to investigate the Titanic disaster, with Francis Newlands of Nevada as vice chair; in 1913, in Japan a mass protest was held in Tokyo against anti-Japanese legislation in the California Legislature, with protesters singing war songs and Japanese newspapers publishing plans for conquest of the Philippines and Hawaii; in 1913, work on Lahontan Dam was halted until the level of the Carson River fell, but work was going ahead on a dozen tunnels into a mountain which would be packed with 24 tons of dynamite and exploded to produce building material for the dam; in 1926, the first mail plane landed in Las Vegas enroute from Salt Lake City to Los Angeles (Nevada Magazine); in 1937, the character of Daffy Duck was introduced in Porky's Duck Hunt; in 1941, Charles Mapes won a primary election in the student body president race at the University of Nevada; in 1943, Hitler spent two days trying to convince Hungarian regent Miklos Horthy to start exporting Hungary's Jews to the death camps (Horthy refused and later served as a prosecution witness at Nuremberg); in 1959, all Clark County radio and television stations were ordered off the air during the annual "Operation Alert," a cold war exercise (in some cities protestors refused to participate in the alert by taking shelter and were arrested); in 1960, Eddie Cochran and Gene Vincent were injured — Cochran mortally — in a car crash in England; in 1961, in violation of international law, the United States sponsored and paid for an invasion of Cuba at the Bay of Pigs; in 1964, Ford introduced the Mustang; in 1965, Help Me Rhonda by the Beach Boys was released; in 1969, when street celebrations erupted in Czechoslovakia over the nation's hockey victory over the Soviet Union, Czech reformer Alexander Dubcek was deposed as communist party secretary on orders from Moscow; in 1970, in an appearance at the White House, Johnny Cash, who had encouraged prison inmate Merle Haggard as a songwriter, refused President Nixon's request that he perform Haggard's meanspirited Okie From Muskogee; in 1971, Hoyt Axton's Joy to the World by Three Dog Night took the number one spot on the Billboard chart; in 1973, President Nixon announced "major developments" from a "new inquiry" of Watergate "which it would be improper" to disclose; in 1973, Nixon told aides that he had arranged favored treatment for political and legal defense contributors (see below); in 1973, Nixon press secretary Ron Ziegler declared all his previous statements about Watergate to be "inoperative"; in 1973, Pink Floyd was awarded a gold record for Dark Side of the Moon, longest selling album in the history of rock and roll; in 1976, President Ford appeared on the Weekend Update segment of Saturday Night Live ("Good evening. I'm Gerald Ford and you're not."); in 1980, Bob Marley and the Wailers performed at independence ceremonies in Zimbabwe; in 2002, Governor Kenny Guinn issued a proclamation in Elko, Nevada commemorating the fifty-millionth troy ounce of gold mined from the Carlin trend (a belt of gold south of Carlin) since its discovery in 1962; in 2004, Israel succeeded in murdering Hamas leader Abdel Aziz Rantisi.

Richard Nixon to H.R. Haldeman and John Ehrlichmann/White House tape/April 17 1973:  Let me ask you this. Legal fees will be substantial but there's a way we can get it to you and, uh, two or three hundred thousand dollars, huh?...No strain. Doesn't come outa me. I didn't — I never intended to use the money at all. As a matter of fact, I told Bebe [Rebozo], basically just be sure that people like uh, who have contributed money over the contributing years are, uh, favored and so forth in general. And he's used it for the purpose of getting things out, paid for in check, and all that sort of thing.

[[EDITOR'S NOTE: Unless otherwise noted, historical items appear courtesy of longtime Nevada reporter Dennis Myers' Poor Denny's Almanac. Items highlighted in blue are of particular interest to labor. Copyright © 2006 Dennis Myers.]]

Update: Sunday, April 16, 2006, 12:43 a.m. PDT — ON THIS DATE in 1947, America's worst harbor explosion occurred in Texas City, Texas, when the French ship Grandcamp, carrying ammonium nitrate fertilizer, caught fire and blew up, devastating the town. Another ship, the Highflyer, exploded the following day. The explosions and resulting fires killed more than 500 people and lft 200 others missing. [New York Times e-headlines]

ON APRIL 16, 1521, Martin Luther, summoned to the Diet of Worms to recant his views, arrived in Worms to be greeted by cheering, enthusiastic crowds; in 1846, escaped slave Dred Scott filed a court petition seeking his freedom after living in a free state for seven years; in 1854, Helen Wiser, who would become Las Vegas community leader Helen Stewart, was born in Springfield, Illinois; in 1877, President Hayes reserved land astride the Nevada/Idaho border (now known as the Duck Valley Reservation) to the Western Shoshones; in 1881, in Dodge City, Bat Masterson drew his gun (without provocation) on three men, a street gunfight that resulted in Masterson paying an $8 fine; in 1884, the Reno Evening Gazette proposed that Nevada should start publicizing its resources and other virtues in order to attract businesses, and suggested that the next world's fair (the 1884 World's Industrial and Cotton Centennial Exposition in New Orleans) would be a good place to start; in 1904, the Sunset Telephone Company had ten phones installed in the new town of East Reno so that it had good communications with Reno; in 1907, Reno's new skating rink was destroyed by fire; in 1916, U.S. Delegate James Wickersham of Alaska and U.S. Senator Key Pittman of Nevada introduced identical bills in the House and Senate to create a Denali National Park in the Mount McKinley region of Alaska; in 1917, Lenin arrived in Petrograd after years in exile from Russia; in 1921, miners in Tonopah struck the mines rather than accept a seventy five cent cut in the daily wage rate; in 1926, the Book of the Month Club sent out its first selection, Lolly Willowes, or the Loving Huntsman by Sylvia Townsend Warner; in 1927, the Nevada Canaries, the University of Nevada's glee club, performed on San Francisco's KPO radio; in 1934, Oklahoma Governor William Murray sent national guard troops into eleven counties to put a stop to county foreclosure auctions of tax delinquent properties; in 1934,  U.S. Secretary of the Interior Harold Ickes said he would oppose Senator Patrick McCarran's, D-Nev., legislation to forgive $500,000 owed by the Newlands Reclamation Project to the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation; in 1943, Swiss chemist Albert Hoffman accidentally consumed a compound he had created years earlier and discovered the hallucinogenic qualities of that compound, LSD (in 1966 amid hysterical news reports of LSD-caused deformed babies — which never materialized — a special session of the Nevada Legislature outlawed LSD); in 1959, Cuban Prime Minister Fidel Castro encountered wildly cheering crowds and less friendly protesters on the first day of his 11-day tour of the United States; in 1962, Walter Cronkite replaced Douglas Edwards as anchor of the CBS Evening News; in 1991, Nevada Assemblymember Dawn Gibbons, R-Reno, who had served in her husband Jim's place in the Nevada Legislature while he served in the first anti-Iraq war, resigned when he returned to Nevada; in 1993, Paul McCartney returned to the Hollywood Bowl, where he had performed in 1965 as a Beatle, for an Earth Day concert; in 1994, Ralph Ellison died in New York at age 80; in 1996, Oprah Winfrey made some slighting comments about hamburger that provoked cattlemen who filed legal charges against her under a Texas law that protects perishable food products from libel; in 1997, the Nevada Assembly approved a resolution recognizing the achievements of African American mountain man James Beckwourth and urging school districts to teach students about him.

Update: Saturday, April 15, 2006, 3:32 a.m. PDT — ON THIS DATE in 1912, the British luxury liner Titanic sank in the North Atlantic off Newfoundland, less than three hours after striking an iceberg. About 1,500 people died. [New York Times e-headlines]

ON APRIL 15, 73, the Masada zealots may have committed mass suicide (there are doubts among archeologists that the incident occurred; it is not mentioned in the Talmud and only [the historian] Josephus recorded it); in 1884, Samuel Tilden, who was elected president in 1876 only to see Congress appoint Rutherford B. Hayes instead, and who later declined to run again in 1880, once again took himself out of the running; in 1884, the dime novel Deadwood Dick Sentenced; or, The Terrible Vendetta. A Nevada Tale. by Edward L. Wheeler (Deadwood Dick story No. 28, set in Camp "Nowhere," Nevada) was published by Beadle's Half Dime Library; in 1907, Chilpancingo and Chilapa, Mexico, were destroyed again, by an earthquake, eighteen years after being destroyed in a hurricane [Carson City News, April 16, 1907]; in 1908, the first trainload of ore arrived for processing at the new McGill, Nevada, smelter; in 1912, the Reno Evening Gazette headlined "LINER TITANIC GOES DOWN — PASSENGERS ARE SAFE/Twenty Boat Loads of Passengers Transferred to Cunarder — No One Lost"; in 1913, the Reno Evening Gazette reported on the first tourists of the year to pass through town on coast to coast auto trips (still a new idea at the time) and named all three of them; in 1921, miners in Tonopah rejected a seventy-five cent cut in the daily wage scale, with a strike scheduled to start at midnight; in 1921, in Portland, Oregon, 16 year-old Homer Ross and his 17 year-old wife Lucille were getting a divorce after he had an affair with a married woman, 17 year-old Thelma Ford; in 1921, a meeting in Washington between U.S. Senator Charles McNary of Oregon, U.S. Representative Louis Cramton of Missouri, and U.S. Senator Tasker Oddie of Nevada was reported to have reached an agreement on legislation to authorize turning the Spanish Springs Valley north of Sparks into a reservoir; in 1927, local police officials in Washoe County were warning people to use extra care with their cars and homes because the Transcontinental Highways Exposition in Reno would probably bring "ne'er do wells, petty thieves, hop-heads, and wanderers"; in 1936, Chicago newspaper publisher Frank Knox defeated U.S. Senator William Borah of Idaho in the Illinois presidential primary election; in 1936, Price Johnson, serving time in an Arizona prison for polygamy (technically "open and notorious cohabitation") told the Associated Press that his cult was making plans for a polygamous community at Short Creek on the Arizona/Utah border (the community — now Hildale, Utah, and Colorado City, Arizona — still exists and is a reclusive community in chronic conflict with officialdom, most recently yesterday; in 1936, President Roosevelt signed legislation for a moratorium on debts owed by reclamation farmers and Native American irrigation projects to the federal government; in 1965, the Nevada Gambling Control Board began an effort to strip extortionist Ruby Kolod of his interests in the Desert Inn and Stardust in Las Vegas; in 1971, 25 year-old Cathy Barker of Reno was working as a secretary to White House counsel John Dean; in 1972, ground was broken for construction of the MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas; in 1973, federal investigators learned for the first time that Nixon agents had broken into Daniel Ellsberg's psychiatrist's office in 1971; in 1979, the Liberace Museum in Las Vegas was founded; in 1998, the Nevada Test Site Historical Foundation was incorporated; in 2004, citing health concerns, Nevada Chief Justice Deborah Agosti announced her retirement from public life.

[[EDITOR'S NOTE: Unless otherwise noted, historical items appear courtesy of longtime Nevada reporter Dennis Myers' Poor Denny's Almanac. Items highlighted in blue are of particular interest to labor. Copyright © 2006 Dennis Myers.]]

BAD NEWS ON GOOD FRIDAY: Fired Harrah's-Reno bartender Darlene Jespersen denied her day in court — Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals rules for Harrah's 7-4, validating her termination for refusal to wear makeup.


THE BARBWIRE of October 8, 2000, has grown into the web's most extensive compendium of the Darlene Jespersen case. Whenever news of this legal action breaks, NevadaLabor.com sets new traffic records. This one comes in what was already tracking as a record month in the 11-year history of this site. Monitor this website for updates. Onward, Christian soldiers.

Be well. Raise hell.


Update: Friday, April 14, 2006, 5:41 p.m. PDT — FROM JUDGE ALEX KOZINSKI'S DISSENT: "I agree with Judge Pregerson and join his dissent—subject to one caveat: I believe that Jespersen also presented a triable issue of fact on the question of disparate burden....Finally, I note with dismay the employer’s decision to let go a valued, experienced employee who had gained accolades from her customers, over what, in the end, is a trivial matter. Quality employees are difficult to find in any industry and I would think an employer would long hesitate before forcing a loyal, long-time employee to quit over an honest and heartfelt difference of opinion about a matter of personal significance to her. Having won the legal battle, I hope that Harrah’s will now do the generous and decent thing by offering Jespersen her job back, and letting her give it her personal best— without the makeup." (Download the entire decision in Adobe Acrobat Reader .pdf format. If you don't have Acrobat Reader, you may download it free from Adobe.com.)

POSTMORTEM ANALYSIS OF THE WORLD-FAMOUS JESPERSEN V. HARRAH'S LIPSTICK LAWSUIT: Barbwire by Barbano: Humpty Dumpty justice, plus commentary by Jespersen attorney Jenny Pizer.
As always, monitor NevadaLabor.com for the latest updates.

Update: Friday, April 14, 2006, 12:24 a.m. PDT — ON THIS DATE in 1865, President Lincoln was shot and mortally wounded by John Wilkes Booth while attending the comedy Our American Cousin at Ford's Theater in Washington, D.C. He died the next day. [New York Times e-headlines]

On April 14, 1775, Quakers in Philadelphia founded the first anti-slavery organization, the Pennsylvania Society for the Relief of Free Negroes Unlawfully Held in Bondage, with Benjamin Rush and Benjamin Franklin as co-presidents; in 1828, Noah Webster's An American Dictionary of the English Language was copyrighted; in 1877, the Sierra Nevada Coal Company began mining a coal mine in Verdi; in 1881, Hawthorne was established as a rail stop for the Carson & Colorado RR (Nevada Magazine); in 1898, California Governor James Budd made known his unhappiness with the decision of Nevada Governor Reinhold Sadler to continue a quarantine of cattle entering the state unless they were traveling through by rail; in 1925, Fallon farmers said that after a year of experimenting with new breeds, they would drop the "Heart of Gold" cantaloupe in favor of a strain called the "H.B." cantaloupe that had shown it would ship better (half the 1924 harvest of "Hearts of Gold" had been discarded because of this problem); in 1925, Nicholas Dandolos AKA "Nick the Greek" was barred from all Pacific Coast League games; in 1927, in Reno, Nevada, the Granada Theatre began three days of performances of Ben Hur; in 1931, the Spanish Republic was proclaimed; in 1934, the Reno Evening Gazette reported that a nudist club would open on Spanish Spring Flat on April 28; in 1939, The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck was published; in 1955, Ain't That A Shame by Fats Domino was released; in 1956, Ampex demonstrated the first videotape recorder (the company, believing the technology would be of interest only to broadcasters, avoided getting involved in development of home video and lost the home market); in 1959, Governor Grant Sawyer appointed the first Nevada Gaming Control Board — Milton Keefer, James Hotchkiss, Pete Walters, Norman Brown, and Miles Pike as chair; in 1969, the Beatles' The Ballad of John and Yoko was recorded at Abbey Road; in 2003, a large crowd gathered in front of the Nevada Capitol demanding higher taxes; in 2004, University of Nevada-Reno art professor Howard Rosenberg presented a program on antiques collecting at the Nevada Historical Society as part of the society's centennial celebration.

Bartolomeo Vanzetti/April 14, 1923: It is incredible the insult made to the liberty, to the life, to the dignity of the human beings, by other human beings. And it is humiliating, for he who feels the common humanity that ties together all the men, good and bad, to think that all the committed infamies have not produced in the crowd an adequate sense of rebellion, of horrors, of disgust. It is humiliating to human beings, the possibility of such ferocity, of such cowardness.

Update: Thursday, April 13, 2006, 4:50 p.m. PDT — OPRAH RULES! Tomorrow, April 14, TV talk and bookselling phenomenon Oprah Winfrey focuses on families trying to survive at minimum wage. In southern Nevada, tune in KLAS TV-8 at 9:00 a.m. In northern Nevada, Oprah kicks butt on KOLO TV-8 at 4:00 p.m. Recent polls show Nevadans overwhelmingly approve a Nevada State AFL-CIO ballot question to raise the state minimum wage and index it for inflation. Earlier this week, 2004 Democratic vice-presidential nominee John Edwards was the guest of honor at an organized labor fundraiser for the campaign. The proposed wage hike will not benefit union members, as few, if any, union members make such low pay. For more information on the minimum wage campaign, contact Misti Pena at (702) 459-1414. UPDATE: Las Vegas Review-Journal — Coverage of Edwards speech. Las Vegas Sun — Edwards addresses United Mine Workers convention in LV, decries $5.15 per hour. How'd we end up this way? Read it and weep at NevadaLabor.com's Right to Work for Less page.

[[EDITOR'S NOTE: Unless otherwise noted, historical items appear courtesy of longtime Nevada reporter Dennis Myers' Poor Denny's Almanac. Items highlighted in blue are of particular interest to labor.]]

Update: Thursday, April 13, 2006, 12:58 a.m. PDT — ON THIS DATE in 1970, Apollo 13, four-fifths of the way to the moon, was crippled when a tank containing liquid oxygen burst. (The astronauts managed to return safely.) [New York Times e-headlines]

ON APRIL 13, 1743, Thomas Jefferson was born in Albermarle County, Virginia; in 1876, trout were unable to migrate from Reno to Truckee because of lumber milling in the river and dams with fish ladders out of repair, impeding the spawn and provoking legal action at the U.S. Court of Appeals in San Francisco; in 1909, the City of Reno, which was seeking grade crossings at east Second Street and at the approach to the new Second and Scott streets bridge but had been refused by the Virginia and Truckee Railroad, agreed to drop its lawsuit against the railroad when the V&T agreed to the crossings (for which the city paid $4,875); in 1912, a woman known as Spanish Lil left Reno's red light district and entered a saloon downtown, pulling a gun on a man she said had threatened her; in 1921, U.S. Senator Philander Knox of Pennsylvania introduced another measure to try to end the formal state of war between the U.S. and Germany (Woodrow Wilson had vetoed the first measure Congress approved in 1920); in 1921, a group of 200 prominent citizens signed a letter calling for amnesty for imprisoned victims of the Wilson administration's political use of the Espionage Act, and a group that included Booth Tarkington and Norman Thomas met with President Harding to urge amnesty (Harding told the group he would wait until Congress ended the war, and he later amnestied many political prisoners and invited one of them, Eugene Debs, to the White House to shake his hand); in 1934, Beacon Rock, a striking monolithic formation that shoots up out of the ground on the north shore of the Columbia River and was mentioned in the Lewis and Clark journals, was offered to the United States government as a national monument (it was declined and is now a Washington state park); in 1943, President Franklin Roosevelt presided over the dedication of the Jefferson Memorial; in 1954, Robert Oppenheimer, the architect of the Manhattan project, was blocked from access to government data, suspended from an advisory panel, and told he would face charges because of his leftist associations, and he immediately demanded a hearing; in 1954, Harry Orchard, convicted of the assassination of the governor of Idaho 40 years earlier during management/labor mining wars, died in prison; in 1959, at a Congress of Flight in Las Vegas, Air Force General Curtis LeMay [EDITOR'S NOTE: The late Gen. LeMay's daughter is a longtime Reno resident.] said sonic booms were getting so loud they were causing property damage and were heard a hundred miles wide, and he asked that the public get used to it; in 1961, Native American leaders representing tribes in Utah, California, and Reno met with Kennedy administration officials at Reno's state building on proposals for reform of the Bureau of Indian Affairs; in 1964, Sidney Poitier won the best actor Oscar for Lilies of the Field, the first Academy Award earned by an African American for the lead role in a movie; in 1964, after rigging the selection process to exclude women and overlooking African American Air Force pilot Ed Dwight, the U.S. named its astronauts for the first two person (Gemini) mission — both white males; in 1964, in Phoenix the Bureau of Indian Affairs announced plans for repair of the Wild Horse Dam in northern Elko County, Nevada; in 1971, two weeks after the Bangladesh declaration of independence, the Associated Press was still calling the nation East Pakistan and was reporting that the war of liberation was about to collapse; in 1971, the Nevada Senate approved legislation already approved by the Assembly creating Nevada's first fair housing law and sent it back to the Assembly for concurrence in technical changes; in 1990, the Soviet Union admitted responsibility for the Katyn massacre; in 2003, massive street protests restored Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez to office after a momentarily successful Bush administration-supported coup; in 2005, archivists from around the west, members of three professional organizations, gathered in Las Vegas at the Alexis Park hotel for a professional conference.

Update: Wednesday, April 12, 2006, 1:23 a.m. PDT — ON THIS DATE in 1945, Franklin D. Roosevelt, the 32nd president of the United States, died of a cerebral hemorrhage in Warm Springs, Ga., at age 63. Vice President Harry S Truman became president. (New York Times e-headlines)

ON APRIL 12, 1204, Christian soldiers of the Fourth Crusade attacked Constantinople, destroying any prospect of reunifying eastern and western Christians; in 1557, in Smithfield, England, five Christians (three men and two women) were burned to death for officially disapproved religious opinion; in 1861, the U.S. Civil War began; in 1885, an article by Nevada journalist Dan De Quille, Knights of the Whip, was published in the Alta California; in 1893, Millie Sophia Chalmers, age one year, four months, died in Reno and was buried at Hillside Cemetary; in 1907, an official of the Southern Pacific Railroad announced that the road would build a new two story depot in Reno and that it would sell off 14,000 acres of irrigated land in Fallon and establish an agricultural experiment station there; in 1919, amateur radio broadcasting at the University of Nevada, suspended during World War One, resumed; in 1935, machinist's mate Al Patten went aboard the USS Nevada where he served until December 7 1941; in 1939, President Franklin Roosevelt revoked one 1932 executive order issued by President Hoover and partially revoked a second one, both of which withdrew public land in Nevada and California from public use; in 1954, Bill Haley and the Comets recorded Rock Around the Clock, which would become one of the most enduring and popular of rock classics; in 1961, Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin became the first man to travel in space; in 1965, the Franklin D. Roosevelt memorial in the nation's capital — a simple and unembellished desk-size marble block at Ninth Street and Pennsylvania Avenue in front of the National Archives building, just as he had wanted — was dedicated on the twentieth anniversary of his death, also as he had asked; in 1971, Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young's album Four Way Street went gold literally within hours of its release; in 1983, Harold Washington was elected the first African American mayor of Chicago; in 1989, Abbie Hoffman died believing the sixties had imposed military restraint on U.S. government officials (see below); in 1999, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints announced plans to build an LDS temple in Reno, Nevada; in 2001, U.S. Sens. Clinton and Reid heard testimony at Fallon, Nevada, on leukemia cases in the town; in 2002, after nine months of feigning a pregnancy in an effort to save her failing marriage, a woman stole a ten hour-old infant from Washoe Medical Center (the child was recovered and the woman arrested when she took the baby to St. Mary's Hospital).

ABBIE HOFFMAN/Vanderbilt University/April, 1989: . . . in the nineteen-sixties, apartheid was driven out of America. Legal segregation — Jim Crow — ended. We didn't end racism, but we ended legal segregation. We ended the idea that you can send a million soldiers ten thousand miles away to fight in a war that people do not support. We ended the idea that women are second-class citizens. Now, it doesn't matter who sits in the Oval Office. But the big battles that were won in that period of civil war and strife you cannot reverse. We were young, we were reckless, arrogant, silly, headstrong — and we were right. I regret nothing.

[[EDITOR'S NOTE: Unless otherwise noted, historical items appear courtesy of longtime Nevada reporter Dennis Myers' Poor Denny's Almanac. Items highlighted in blue are of particular interest to labor.]]

Update: Tuesday, April 11, 2006, 2:02 a.m. PDT — ON THIS DATE in 1951, President Truman relieved Gen. Douglas MacArthur of his commands in the Far East. (New York Times e-headlines)

ON THIS DATE in 1079, after he excommunicated Polish King Boleslaw II — sometimes known as Bolesaw the CruelBishop Stanislaus of Krakow was murdered (accounts conflict on whether Boleslaw did the deed himself or had his guards do it) and was subsequently declared a Christian martyr and saint; in 1506, work began on the foundation for St. Peter's Basilica in Rome (now in Vatican City); in 1811, Samuel Austin, minister at the First Congregational Church in Worcester, Massachusetts, preached a sermon complaining about the secular nature of the United States Constitution: "However sagaciously devised and balanced our National Constitution of government may be, in a mere political view, it has one capital defect which will issue inevitably in its destruction. It is entirely disconnected from Christianity. It is not founded on the Christian religion. Not a single word respecting God or religion is to be found in the original Constitution, save that an oath or affirmation is required of officers of government." (A movement was launched under the American Reform Association to put the name of Jesus into the Constitution, and at times it came close to succeeding, but in the end the document's secularism was preserved); in 1860, after a vacation in Virginia City, San Francisco tobacco merchant Adolph Sutro wrote in the Alta California of the need for a tunnel to drain the Comstock mines and a railroad from Virginia City to the Carson River; in 1863, reporter Samuel Clemens wrote a letter from Virginia City, Nevada (see below); in 1907, Frank Drake of Inyo County, California, was leading a campaign to have Inyo become a part of Nevada; in 1907, a posse was in pursuit of two masked men after saloon owner Thomas Coleman was robbed of $900 about a mile from Rhyolite; in 1927, Conley Dabney of Frankfort, Kentucky, imprisoned three years earlier for the murder of 14 year-old Mary Vickery (one newspaper, the Harlan American, said the testimony against him was "of the most revolting nature") was pardoned by Governor William Fields when Vickery showed up alive (the case is the subject of the folk song Mary Vickery And Connelly Donnelly); in 1927, in keeping with a town ordinance, Sparks officials ordered all slot machines in town put out of business and moved out of the establishments in which they had been operating; in 1940, Soviet troops completed the four-day massacre of 26,000 Polish soldiers in the Katyn Forest; in 1945, U.S. soldiers liberated Nazi camps at Nordhausen and Buchenwald and the SS removed inmates from the Ascherleben camp to the Theresienstadt camp; in 1956, James Brown went on record charts for the first time with Please Please Please; in 1959, University of Nevada President Charles Armstrong announced that Carl Sandburg would speak at the June 7 graduation; in 1965, U.S. Justice Department organized crime section chief William Hundley called the extortion convictions of Las Vegas figures Ruby Kolod, Willie Alderman, and Felix Alderisio a "major breakthrough" against the mob; in 1965, Las Vegas Review-Journal columnist Jude Wanniski received an award for best local column of the year (Reporter's Notebook) from the Nevada Press Association; in 1966, Emmett Ashford umpired a game between the Cleveland Indians and Washington Senators, beginning his career as the first major league African American umpire; in 1966, Hullaballoo appeared on the air for the last time, featuring Lesley Gore, Paul Anka and Peter and Gordon; in 1969, the Beatles' incredible Get Back (b/w Don't Let Me Down) was released in Britain on the Apple label; in 1974, on a 33 to three vote, the U.S. House Judiciary Committee subpoenaed from President Nixon's recordings of 42 conversations; in 1981, hearts were breaking: Valerie Bertinelli and Eddie Van Halen married; in 1996,  a seven year-old named Jessica Dubroff was killed with her father and flight instructor while piloting a plane at Cheyenne, generating debate about the practice of letting small children learn to fly; in 1997, the Museum of African American History opened in Detroit; in 2001, in a snow storm, Governor Kenny Guinn cut the ribbon to open the door of the new north annex (a former bank building) of the Nevada State Museum in Carson City.

To Mrs. Jane Clemens and Mrs. Moffett, in St. Louis:

VIRGINIA, April 11, 1863.

MY DEAR MOTHER AND SISTER, — It is very late at night, and I am writing in my room, which is not quite as large or as nice as the one I had at home. My board, washing and lodging cost me seventy-five dollars a month.

I have just received your letter, Ma, from Carson [this probably means the letter was mailed to him in care of his brother Orion in Carson City, and then sent on to him in Virginia from Carson] — the one in which you doubt my veracity about the statements I made in a letter to you. That's right. I don't recollect what the statements were, but I suppose they were mining statistics. I have just finished writing up my report for the morning paper, and giving the Unreliable [a reference to a pal who was also a rival reporter] a column of advice about how to conduct himself in church, and now I will tell you a few more lies, while my hand is in. For instance, some of the boys made me a present of fifty feet in the East India G. and S. M. Company ten days ago [that is, a portion of the East India mine]. I was offered ninety-five dollars a foot for it, yesterday, in gold. I refused it — not because I think the claim is worth a cent for I don't but because I had a curiosity to see how high it would go, before people find out how worthless it is. Besides, what if one mining claim does fool me? I have got plenty more. I am not in a particular hurry to get rich. I suppose I couldn't well help getting rich here some time or other, whether I wanted to or not. You folks do not believe in Nevada, and I am glad you don't. Just keep on thinking so.

I was at the Gould and Curry mine, the other day, and they had two or three tons of choice rock piled up, which was valued at $20,000 a ton. I gathered up a hat-full of chunks, on account of their beauty as specimens — they don't let everybody supply themselves so liberally. I send Mr. Moffett a little specimen of it for his cabinet. If you don't know what the white stuff on it is, I must inform you that it is purer silver than the minted coin. There is about as much gold in it as there is silver, but it is not visible. I will explain to you some day how to detect it.

Pamela, you wouldn't do for a local reporter — because you don't appreciate the interest that attaches to names. An item is of no use unless it speaks of some person, and not then, unless that person's name is distinctly mentioned. The most interesting letter one can write, to an absent friend, is one that treats of persons he has been acquainted with rather than the public events of the day. Now you speak of a young lady who wrote to Hollie Benson that she had seen me; and you didn't mention her name. It was just a mere chance that I ever guessed who she was — but I did, finally, though I don't remember her name, now.  I was introduced to her in San Francisco by Hon. A. B. Paul, and saw her afterwards in Gold Hill. They were a very pleasant lot of girls — she and her sisters.

P. S. I have just heard five pistol shots down street — as such things are in my line, I will go and see about it.

P. S. No 2 — 5 A.M. — The pistol did its work well — one man — a Jackson County Missourian, shot two of my friends, (police officers,) through the heart — both died within three minutes. Murderer's name is John Campbell.


U-News Breaking News/Bulletins/Almanac May 24-July 31, 2006

U-News Breaking News/Bulletins/Almanac May 12-May 23, 2006

U-News Breaking News/Bulletins/Almanac January 1-April 10, 2006

U-News Breaking News/Bulletins 1999-2005 Archive
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