Tuesday, May 15, 2012


On this day in 1648, the first documents of the Treaty of Westphalia are signed in Osnabrück and Münster, setting in motion the machinations that would bring about the Peace of Westphalia. At the time, this was as huge as huge could be, ending the Thirty Years' War in the Holy Roman Empire, and the Eighty Years' War between Spain and the Dutch Republic, with Spain formally recognizing the independence of the Dutch Republic. Everybody was involved in this. The Holy Roman Emperor, Ferdinand III, of the House of Habsburg, the Kingdom of Spain, the Kingdom of France, the Swedish Empire, the Dutch Republic, the Princes of the Holy Roman Empire, and sovereigns of the free imperial cities. This was truly a world-historic development, and, for the most part, a good one.

On this day in 1817, the first private mental health hospital opens its doors in the United States. It is called the Asylum for the Relief of Persons Deprived of the Use of Their Reason. Such a great name.

On this day in 1829John the Baptist materializes somewhere in the American mid-west and anoints one Mister Joseph Smith, ordaining him to start the Church of Mormon. Of course, this is all according to Joe, himself, so you may want to take it with a grain of salt.

Mickey Mouse made his first appearance on this day in 1928, in a cartoon entitled Plane Crazy... and the character still isn't in the public domain. Most people haven't got a problem with this. Should they? I don't know. All I know is, when you work at Disney, nobody fucks with the mouse.

On this day in 1940McDonald's opens its first restaurant in San Bernardino, California. Today, the Golden Arches are as recognizable as the Nazi Swastika, and the role played by Mickey Dee's in the implementation of a population-controling Genocide Diet cannot be under-estimated or over-stressed.

On this day in 1972, In Laurel, Maryland, Arthur Bremer shoots and paralyzes Alabama Governor George Wallace - called "the most influential loser in American politics" by some - while the latter was campaigning to become the Democratic candidate for President on a segregationist platform. Wallace, after receiving great treatment and loving care form a succession of black nurses, would go on to renounce his racist views before dying in 1998. Bremer served 35 years in jail for his crime, and was released in 2007.

On this day in 1991, while former CIA chief/then-President George Herbert "Poppy" Walker Bush escorts the Queen of England to a Baltimore Orioles game (I kid you not), the Defense Department releases documents showing that Central American dictator Manuel Noriega was, at one time: "The CIA's man in Panama."

On this day in 1988, after more than eight years of fighting, the legendarily hard-ass Soviet Red Army begins its withdrawal from Afghanistan, defeated by a rag-tag assembly of heroic, CIA-funded Mujahideen! ...or, at least, that's what the neo-conservatives used to say is what happened. They don't like to talk about it so much now, after one of those heroic heroes masterminded the September 11 terror attacks. See Adam Curtis' documentary The Power of Nightmares for clarification. Here's Part One to get you started. Seriously, if you haven't already watched this, what the fuck are you waiting for?!

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