On-line Opinion Magazine…OK, it's a blog
Random header image... Refresh for more!

Today’s No Prize Either


  • 1649 – King Charles I of England is beheaded.
  • 1661 – Oliver Cromwell, Lord Protector of the Commonwealth of England is formally executed – after having been dead for two years (it’s never too late for revisionism).
  • 1835 – A mentally ill man named Richard Lawrence attempts to assassinate President Andrew Jackson in the United States Capitol — the first assassination attempt against a President. Both of Lawrence’s pistols misfire, and Jackson proceeds to beat his would-be assassin with his cane.
  • 1889 – Archduke Crown Prince Rudolf of Austria, heir to the Austro-Hungarian crown, was found dead with his mistress Baroness Mary Vetsera in Mayerling. How they died remains a mystery.
  • 1933 – Adolf Hitler is sworn in as Chancellor of Germany.
  • 1948 – Indian pacifist and leader Mohandas Gandhi is assassinated by Nathuram Godse, a Hindu extremist.
  • 1968 – Vietnam War: The Tet Offensive begins when Viet Cong forces launch series of a surprise attacks in South Vietnam.
  • 1969 – The Beatles’ last public performance, on the roof of Apple Records in London. The impromptu concert is broken up by the police.
  • 1972 – Bloody Sunday: United Kingdom British Paratroopers kill fourteen Roman Catholic civil rights /anti internment marchers in Northern Ireland.
  • 2003 – Belgium legally recognizes same-sex marriage.
  • 2005 – Amid violence and threats to boycott the results, Iraq holds an election for its National Assembly, the country’s first free election since 1953.


  • 1882 – Franklin D. Roosevelt, 32nd President of the United States
  • 1912 – Barbara W. Tuchman, American historian
  • 1922 – Dick Martin, American comedian
  • 1930 – Samuel J. Byck, American attempted assassin of Richard Nixon
  • 1941 – Dick Cheney, oil executive
  • 1962 – King Abdullah II of Jordan
  • 1962 – Mary Kay Letourneau, American teacher


1 hipparchia { 01.30.08 at 12:46 am }

cheney and letourneau have the same birthday? that alone made the list worth reading. i found the whole thing fascinating though. thanks for publishing it.

2 Kryten42 { 01.30.08 at 4:18 am }

cheney and letourneau have the same birthday? that alone made the list worth reading.

LOL I thought the same thing! 😀 (After I had to think for a minute to remember who the heck letourneau was! Ex-model turned pedophile teacher! (And I’ll keep my childhood fantasies to myself!) 😉 LOL

Good list Bryan, and interesting! 🙂

I was just reading a fascinating dossier on Milita Norwood! A Russian spy in England for roughly 60 years, codenamed Tina and later Hola. She was only discovered in ’99 at age 87, though it was discovered that British MI had information on her from around ’92 from a former KGB archivist who defected. She received the Order of the Red Banner, the highest award the KGB can bestow. 🙂

If anyones interested in the summary highlights, I’ll post them. Fascinating! She gave Russia MANY of the UK’s Nuclear secrets. So the USA knows who to blame now. 😉 LOL

Cheers. 🙂

3 Bryan { 01.30.08 at 10:36 am }

There were a lot of “true believers” working as moles in most of the Western governments. Well educated people who actually thought that the Soviet model would work and save the world after living through the Great Depression. Graduating from a university is no guarantee that a person can think things through.

4 LadyMin { 01.30.08 at 10:55 am }

Don’t forget this one …

2006 – Exxon Mobil posted record profits for any U.S. company: $10.71 billion for the fourth quarter of 2005 and $36.13 billion for the year.

I always liked the Today in History column. My paper used to print it. But recently they reorganized and dropped it. Along with other things they deemed irrelevant like Dear Abby and my favorite comic strips.

5 Bryan { 01.30.08 at 12:51 pm }

Print journalism is increasingly cost-cutting its way to irrelevancy. They should be playing to their strength, which is local news, but they keep cutting their reporting staff and running the wire service reports that you can read on the ‘Net.

You build circulation by serving a need, but they can’t figure that out.

6 jams o donnell { 01.30.08 at 1:20 pm }

Very true about the degree and thinking things through. Going off at a tangent there was a fascinating programme on tv here a few weeks ago about Operation Able Archer and how it scared the Societs shitless. Two of the people trying but failing to tell the Soviet High Command that this was just an exercise were Gordievsky and Rainer Rupp. I had not heard of Rainer Rupp before

7 jams o donnell { 01.30.08 at 1:23 pm }

Oh btw Cromwell was had comapny at Tyburn. the corpsses of John Bradshaw (the presiding judge at the trial of Charles I) and Henry Ireton (Cromwell’s son in law…

8 Bryan { 01.30.08 at 3:45 pm }

They had wait until they were corpses, they were too scary when alive – it was a trial in ultima absentia.

One of the problems with dealing with the Soviets is that the GRU [military intel] and KGB didn’t communicate very often, and when they did talk they assumed that the other side was lying.

9 andante { 01.30.08 at 5:45 pm }

You can add that on this day in 2008 I finally got home from my “Winter Vacation”.

I’m back.

10 Bryan { 01.30.08 at 5:56 pm }

Just in time for the next storm.

11 Kryten42 { 01.30.08 at 6:53 pm }

Hi Adante! 😀 Welcome back! Hope you had a good break. 🙂

One of the problems with dealing with the Soviets is that the GRU [military intel] and KGB didn’t communicate very often, and when they did talk they assumed that the other side was lying.

That was soooo true! LOL I mentioned that when I worked intel in Russel (essentially the Military conclave in Canberra), I built a rapport with a liaison from the Russian Embassy. On a few occasions trying to drink each other under the floor, he would grumble about that (and other internal stupidities, and I would do the same) and the fact that the complete distrust in the former USSR was worse than anything outsiders could do to them. He ended up living here eventually, for *health* reasons. 😀

Hmmmm… Klaus-Rainer Rupp, a name I have not heard for some time. A GDR spy in NATO headquarters if memory serves…

As for Melita Norwood, yes, she was altruistic.Recruited into the NKVD in ’37. She always maintained that she spied because she felt her information was important to maintain global balance. She stated that the information “might be useful in helping Russia keep abreast of Britain, America and Germany.” She further stated, “In general, I do not agree with spying against one’s country.” Apparently, one of the many pieces of information she provided were such things as the process for extracting Uranium 235 circa 1945.

And I certainly do agree that graduating from a university is no guarantee that a person can think things through! The present US Administration certainly proves that sadly.

@ LadyMin: Yeah… They local papers here are slashing columns I like too. Foolish really, many were quite popular.

12 hipparchia { 01.30.08 at 7:23 pm }

i’m glad you made it back, andante. that’s one that we can mark down in the “good ones” column, alongside laugh-in and the new deal.

13 andante { 01.30.08 at 7:50 pm }

As Tom Harkin said back in, what? 1991? When he ran in the Dem primary – he doesn’t want a New Deal….we need a NEW New Deal.

Just a BREAK would be welcome after Clinton-triangulation and the Bush fiasco.

14 hipparchia { 01.30.08 at 8:28 pm }

well, now that all the democrats have dropped out of the race, i may have to write in the name of one from an earlier era.

i’m also going to keep my fingers crossed that this means some kind of gore/edwards entry into the race is in the offing. tiny tiny hope, i know, but still….

sigh… yes, i’d settle for just a BREAK at this point too.

15 Steve Bates { 01.30.08 at 8:59 pm }

Welcome back, andante! We need you, and many more like you. (Yes, I know: there’s no one like you. But I can dream, can’t I?)

As for Letourneau, hey, at least she did something for a student, which is more than one can say about the entire Dept. of Education under MissSpellings…

16 Bryan { 01.30.08 at 9:01 pm }

Most people have no idea how really small the intel world is, Kryten. The number of people who leave their home country to “snoop around” is a smaller subset. Between the Depression and the alliance with the Soviet Union for WWII, the Soviets received a lot of ideological agents in the West. the transformation from noble friend to vicious enemy could have been handled a in a much more logical fashion by the western governments. There was so much positive propaganda about Stalin in the West during the war, that many had cause to wonder what in hell was going on. As Eric Blair [George Orwell] knew all too well, governments put a lot of time and effort in lying about things.

The Party, Security, and the Military were the three horses attached to the sleigh that was the Soviet government. It was amazing that it ever moved.

It sounds like you could use a break and a new deal, Blogmother. Take care of yourself.

17 Kryten42 { 01.31.08 at 4:22 am }

It’s true Bryan. It was a very small World. Then, we had respect and a strange kind of trust between the services. Certain things were expected and accepted. I’ll tell you the truth… we had more discussions with Russia and other nations about the USA than we did about the Red Menace! We could see what was happening there, and none of us liked it. Russia and China warned us about Panama, and we made sure the right people found out. But we also worried about extreme elements in our own and each others countries getting stronger. Putin is far more dangerous than most of the USA imagines. We used to discuss Bush Snr. a lot also, and his friends. The true Capitalists. We were more concerned with that than Communism.

Most of the people I worked with didn’t believe what our own Gov was saying. 🙂 Sometimes a meeting with a Malaysian, or Russian, or Chinese, would go something like:

Them: “So, what do you think about what your Prime Minister said yesterday?”
Us: “Not much.”
Them: “Ah. May I ask what the real plan is?”
Us: “We are curious about what the Israeli/British/Malaysian/etc Minister said the other day.”
Them: “Yes. It’s a worry.”
Us: “There is no plan, for now.”
Them: “Well, I must be going. A pleasure as always.”
Us: “Same here. And always a pleasure. See you next week perhaps?”

That was how things were done. And we all knew the rules, and we all took care of those who broke them. We kept our own houses clean. We understood the balance had to be maintained. The USA broke the rules under Reagan. They loved their little *accidents*. They made the old Belgians seem positively benign! Aircraft crash here… heart attack there… car accident elsewhere, accidental shooting whilst cleaning a gun, suicides were popular…

Certainly, it wasn’t always gentlemanly and polite though! It got dangerous when the trust slipped for some reason. I wouldn’t work in intel now for any reason. I wouldn’t even trust my own people now, let alone anyone outside. If you ask me, the World is headed for a huge crash. The “True Believers!”(tm)… There is nobody on the Planet more dangerous!

God help us all.

18 Bryan { 01.31.08 at 4:22 pm }

After they brought Bill Casey back as DCI everything turned bad. He still thought that he do things with WWII OSS tactics and blew up the trust that had been built. The blow back has been horrific. Of course the entire Plame situation made things even worse – if the US will burn one of their own, how can anyone else trust them.

We didn’t honor our contracts with the Afghani warlords or the Paks. We blew out some of our own networks for political ends. There is no clear policy in place, no steadying influence that can be depended on. It’s a disaster.

Flying we were always worried that some US fighter jock would take out a Soviet recce bird, because we knew there would be retaliation. Staying alive meant everyone played by the same rules and no one cheated [more than was allowed for performance review purposes]. Everyone got something and a minimal number of people got injured.

Volodya is a real piece of work, as crazy as Bush and intelligent. He will continue to rule as prime minister – he likes power too much to give it up. He has created a good-sized cult following, just like Stalin.

No one is looking at the future in a realistic fashion anymore, and McCain will be just as bad.