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Church Attacks in Egypt

As violent confrontations erupted between Muslim Brotherhood supporters and the interim Egyptian military government this week, Egypt's Christian community came under renewed siege by Islamist forces. Pictured, flames engulf the Amir Tadros Church in Minya.

Church Attacks in Egypt

Uploaded: Aug. 18, 2013


Mount Tavurvur Erupts
Aug. 30, 2014
The Mount Tavurvur volcano in Papua New Guinea erupted early Friday morning, sending a massive column of ash into the Pacific sky. Here’s a look at the latest eruption, and the life of residents in the aftermath of the massive 1994 eruption.
Mount Tavurvur, a caldera volcano located on the island of New Britain, is known for regular low-level activity, but occasionally sees more serious eruptions. Tavurvue is part of an active chain of three volcanos.
Residents in nearby towns were cautioned to remain indoors to avoid injury and damage from falling ash.
The ash cloud reached as high as 60,000 feet, a potential hazard to airlines travelling in the region.
Quantas Airlines reported it was rerouting several flights around the region due to the height of the ash cloud. (Image: Roberto Lopez via Twitter)
Anxious residents watch the progress of the eruption.
Ash can be seen falling back down from the towering column.
A brave young boy poses for a scenic portrait.
HELL ON EARTH: In 1994, Mount Tavurvur and the nearby Mount Vulcan both erupted simultaneously, destroying the town of Rabaul. The following images were taken by photographer Eric Lafforgue in and around Rabaul in the months before this week’s eruptions.
Despite the massive devastation, the 1994 eruption caused view immediate deaths, thanks to advances in prediction and early-warning systems.
The three nearby volcanos continue a low level of activity, punctuated by eruptions such as the one that occurred this week at Tavurvur.
This field of ash and lava used to be the main airport at Rabaul.
Only a handful of residents remain in Rabaul, eking out an existence among the ash and remains of the massive pyroclastic flows that inundated the area.
Many of the remaining residents make a living by harvesting megapode eggs from the ash fields. The birds bury the eggs up to six feet below the ash.
Covered in volcanic ash, a handful of locals take a break from work.
A young local smiles for the camera.
The former deputy mayor of Tabaul stands by vehicle inundated by pryroclastic flows in the 1994 eruptions.
A barge sits in Kravia Tunnels, left over from the Japanese occupation during WWII.
The remains of an American tank that fought on the island in WWII.
Meme Watch: Obama's Tan Suit
Aug. 29, 2014
President Obama didn’t have much to say in a Thursday press conference about his strategy (or lack thereof) towards Iraq and Ukraine. But the Twitterverse couldn’t stop talking, and snarking, about his new tan suit. Here’s a look at a fashion meme to get you through a very, very slow August news week.
Obama’s tan ensemble was a departure from his normal presidential black or grey, and the the chief executive was barely finished with his remarks — and presumably headed back to the golf course — before Twitter users weighed in. Here’s a look.
The parody account @BarackTanSuit quickly appeared and began commenting on the fashion commentary and popularizing the hashtag #YesWeTan for all things tan. By Friday, @BarackTanSuit issued this ominous challenge: “250 RT’S AND I WILL PETITION THE WHITE HOUSE FOR OBAMA TO WEAR ME EVERYDAY OF THE YEAR!”
“OK now that the suit is off the screen can someone tell us what Obama said” (HuffPost Media, @HuffPostMedia)
“President Obama is wearing a #tansuit this afternoon. That is all.” (Mashable, @mashable)
“He got that suit at Men's White House” (David Wyllie, @journodave)
“BREAKING: Steve Harvey lends President Obama his suit in a pinch.” (Image via Nate Boateng, @nateboateng)
“The Audacity of Taupe” (Jared Keller, @jaredbkeller)
“Something just looks off about the President’s new look, that suit looks like it belongs in a used car lot!” (Image via The Edge Radio, @TheEdgeRadioUSI)
"This is my desert camo suit." (Greg McNeal, @GregoryMcNeal)
“This suit is the boldest thing Obama's done in months. “(Hunter Walker, @hunterw)
“#Obama: ‘What were you guys thinking, sending me out in a tan suit!!!!” (Image via Bakshish, @Bakshish8)
“This is what happens when Obama bypasses Congress to purchase a suit.” (Philip Klein, @philipaklein)
“Imagine if Obama wore a tan suit after Labor Day. That would be grounds for impeachment”. (Garrett Quinn, @GarrettQuinn)
“I don’t care that Obama’s suit is tan. The problem with the suit is that it’s EMPTY.” (Michelle Malkin, @michellemalkin)
“Nothing says to the int’l community that Pres. Obama means business better than a tan suit.” (Image via @mdecambre)
“A Herb Tarlek suit would have been awesome” (Image via Nathan Wurtzel, @NathanWurtzel)
“It’s be cool if Obama announced real action against ISIS. It’d be even more awesome if he took the podium in a robot suit.” (Image via T. Becket Adams, @BecketAdams)
“I have to say, this was a bold fashion choice for the president.” (Image via Michael Deppisch, @deppisch)
“And you may find yourself in a beautiful Oval Office…” (Image via Doktor Zoom, @DoktorZoom)
“#YesYouTan until Labor Day!” (Image via Jennifer Bester, @jbester)
“Look, I have nothing against tan suits” (Image via Jake Tapper, @jaketapper)
“Going for the Obama ‘tan suit’ look at work today. And no, I haven’t got a plan for the Middle East either.” (Image via colin freeman, @colinfreeman99)
“Obama vows to defeat whoever made him wear this suit.” (Josh Barro, @jbarro)
“I see no problem with the suit.” (Image via John Dingell, @john_dingell)
“@VP I got your tan body suit, buddy” (Image via Cuffe, @CuffeyMeh)
“Yes this is @mattyglesias suit please no more suit questions" (Image via darth, @darth)
“#Suitgate sparked by @BarackObama breaking grey and blue rule.” (Image via Nine News Brisbane, @9NewsBrisbane)
“Hillary talked Obama into the tan suit to deflect pantsuit haters’ energy. It’s not the 1st time she’s pulled this” (Image via mjp3md, @mjp3md)
“Wonder what Hillary Clinton thinks of #YesWeTan” (Image via Sam Clench, @SamClench)
“omg wait till you see the suit Obama’s wearing today” (Image via delrayser, @delrayser)
Cartoon of the Day
Aug. 29, 2014
Going Solo, by Michael Ramirez (August 29, 2014)
Burger King Moves to Canada, by Henry Payne (August 28, 2014)
Regional Threat, by Michael Ramirez August 27, 2014)
Ferguson, by Michael Ramirez August 26, 2014)
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JV . . . by Michael Ramirez August 21, 2014)
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Between Iraq and a Hard Place, by Michael Ramirez (August 18, 2014)
Mind if I Play Through? by Michael Ramirez (August 15, 2014)
Fun • ny, by Henry Payne (August 14, 2014)
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Now You Know How We Feel, by Michael Ramirez (May 20, 2014)
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EA-6B Prowler
Aug. 28, 2014
As airstrikes against ISIS forces in Iraq ramp up, a venerable Navy aircraft is taking to the skies in its last scheduled deployment after more than four decades of front-line service. Here’s a look at the EA-6B Prowler.
Among the more than 1,500 sorties launched in August against targets in Iraq, most have flown by Navy F/A-18s from the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush, pictured. (Photo: Mass Communication Specialist Third Class Brian Stephens)
Also taking part in air operations over Iraq are EA-6B Prowlers assigned to Electronic Attack Squadron VAQ-134 (the “Garudas”) aboard George H.W. Bush, pictured. (Photo: Mass Communication Specialist Third Class Ryan Seelbach)
The Prowler is the Navy and Marine Corps’ main electronic countermeasure aircraft, tasked with detecting and jamming enemy radar and communications. Pictured, a VAQ-134 Prowler aboard George H.W. Bush. (Photo: Mass Communication Specialist Third Class Brian Stephens)
While ISIS is suspected of having captured some radar-guided missiles, the Prowlers operating over Iraq are likely focused on monitoring and disrupting radio communications. Pictured, a VAQ-134 Prowler arrives on the flight deck. (Photo: Mass Communication Specialist Third Class Joshua Card)
War Is Boring reports that the current deployment of five Prowler aircraft with VAQ-134 aboard George H.W. Bush is the last planned by the Navy, though the Marines may fly a handful for a few more years. (Photo: Mass Communication Specialist Third Class Margaret Keith)
Pictured, August flight ops aboard George H.W. Bush, underway in the Persian Gulf. (Photo: Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Joshua Card)
A VAQ-134 Prowler leaps off the deck of George H.W. Bush. (Photo: Mass Communication Specialist Third Class Joshua Card)
VAQ-134 Prowlers stand on the flight deck of George H.W. Bush. (Photo: Mass Communication Specialist First Class Joseph R. Vincent)
EYE IN THE SKY: Flown by the Navy and Marine Corps since 1971, the EA-6B Prowler’s mission is to locate, disrupt, and jam enemy radar and communications capabilities, providing an umbrella of protection for ground troops and aircraft. (Photo: Mass Communication Specialist Third Class Benjamin Crossley)
The Prowler has been a busy aircraft throughout Operation Enduring Freedom, flying from both carriers and land airbases, and still in the skies over Afghanistan. Pictured, a Prowler with Marine Tactical Electronic Warfare Squadron VMAQ-2 (the "Deathjesters") at Bagram Airfield. (Photo: Captain Raymond Geoffroy)
A Prowler with Marine Tactical Electronic Warfare Squadron VMAQ-3 (the “Moondogs”) taxis at Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar. (Photo: Senior Airman Jared Trimarchi)
The Prowler is being replaced by the EA-18G Growler, a modified F/A-18 Hornet that will combine the Prowler’s electronic warfare chops with the Hornet’s speed, agility, and firepower. Pictured, a Growler with VAQ-130 (the “Zappers”) aboard USS Harry S. Truman. (Photo: Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Blagoj B. Petkovski)
The number of Growlers is expected to grow even as the Navy prepares to transition its F/A-18 Hornets to the new F-35C, the carrier variant of the new Lightning II platform. Pictured, a Growler with VAQ-139 (the “Cougars”) aboard USS Carl Vinson. (Photo: Mass Communication Specialist Second Class George M. Bell)
Past and Future: An EA-68B with VAQ-133 (the “Wizards”) flies alongside two F/A-18s with Strike Fighter Squadron VFA-41 (the “Black Aces”) in the air above USS John C. Stennis. (Photo: Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Jose L. Hernandez)
ELECTRONIC WARRIOR: First introduced into the fleet in July 1971, the Northrop Grumman AE-6B Prowler is a modified version of the A-6 Intruder carrier-based attack aircraft which saw extensive service in the skies over Vietnam. Pictured, an EA-6B Prowler over Afghanistan in 2008.
Prior to the deployment of the Prowler, the Marine Corps had flown modified A-6 Intruders dubbed EA-6A “Electric Intruders” in an interim capacity in the electronic countermeasure role. Pictured, two EA-6B Prowlers with VAQ-137 (the “Rooks”) alongside USS Enterprise. (Photo: Lieutenant Commander Josh Hammond)
The upgraded EA-6B Prowler is a four-seat aircraft with a pilot and three electronic countermeasure officers. Pictured, a Prower with VAQ-134 lands aboard USS Carl Vinson. (Photo: Mass Communication Specialist Second Class James R. Evans)
A Marine with VMAQ-2 signals the pilot of an EA-6B prowler during Forager Fury II exercises at Andersen Air Force Base in Guam. (Photo: Lance Corporal Richard Currier)
The Prowler carries a large array of sensors and jamming systems internally and on wing-mounted pods. Pictured, a Prowler with VAQ-142 takes off during RED FLAG Alaska 14-1 exercises at Eielson Air Force Base in Alaska. (Photo: Senior Airman Peter Reft)
The Improved Capability III upgrade in 2003 refined and extended the Prowler’s electronic- warfare chops. Pictured, a Prowler with VAQ-142 (the “Gray Wolves”) lands on USS Nimitz. (Photo: Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Raul Moreno Jr.)
Though mostly designed to detect and disrupt, the Prowler can also prosecute targets with weapons such as the AGM-88 HARM air-to-surface missile, which homes in on enemy electronic signatures. (Photo: Northrop Grumman)
With a top airspeed above 575 miles per hour, the Prowler can get to where it needs to be quickly. (Photo: Northrop Grumman)
The Prowler’s combat range of more than 1,000-mile operating range can be greatly extended via mid-air refueling. (Photo: Northrop Grumman)
PROWLING THE SKIES: A Prowler with VAQ-140 (the “Patriots”) approaches the flight deck of USS Dwight D. Eisenhower. (Photo: Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Apprentice Kameren Guy)
A Prowler with VAQ-134 hurtles over USS George H.W. Bush. (Photo: Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Joshua Card)
A Prowler with VAQ-142 (the "Gray Wolves") manuevers during a flight demonstration over USS Nimitz. (Photo: Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Apprentice Kelly M. Agee)
Two VAQ-134 Prowlers fly overhead USS Carl Vinson as two F/A-18s circle in the distance. (Photo: Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Apprentice Andrew K. Haller)
A Prowler with VAQ-134 refuels from an F/A-18 Super Hornet with Strike Fighter Squadron VFA-22 in the skies over USS Carl Vinson. (Photo: Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class James R. Evans)
FLIGHT OPS: A Prowler with VAQ-133 (the “Wizards”) aboard USS John C. Stennis. (Photo: Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Benjamin Crossley)
A Prowler with VAQ-136 (the “Gauntlets) on the flight deck of USS George Washington. (Photo: Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Justin E. Yarborough)
Aviation Boatswain's Mate (Handling) Second Class Terrance Wever directs a Prowler with VAQ-133 (the “Wizards”) aboard USS John C. Stennis. (Photo: Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Marco Villasana)
Aviation Boatswain's Mate (Handling) Airman John Shettler directs a Prowler with VAQ-133 (the “Wizards”) aboard USS John C. Stennis. (Photo: Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Marco Villasana)
Air crew monitor a Prowler with VAQ-133 (the “Wizards”) on the flight deck of USS John C. Stennis. (Photo: Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Apprentice Ignacio D. Perez)
A Prowler with VAQ-142 (the “Gray Wolves”) prepares to launch from USS Nimitz. (Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Raul Moreno Jr.)
Aviation Boatswain's Mate (Handling) Third Class Saul Sanchez directs a Prowler with VAQ-133 (the “Wizards”) aboard USS John C. Stennis. (Photo: Mass Communication Specialist Second Class Kenneth Abbate)
GO FOR LAUNCH: Sailors launch a Prowler with VAQ-137 from USS Enterprise. (Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Heath Zeigler)
Lieutenant Commander Daniel Colon gives a Prowler with VAQ-142 the signal to launch on the flight deck of USS Nimitz. (Photo: Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Jess Lewis)
A Prowler with VAQ0131 (the “Lancers”) lifts off from USS Abraham Lincoln. (Photo: Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Mason D. Campbell)
A Prowler with VAQ-131 (the "Lancers") prepares to launch from USS Abraham Lincoln. (Photo: Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Adam Randolph)
Lieutenant Ron Rumfelt signals for the launch of a Prowler from the flight deck of USS John C. Stennis. (Photo: Mass Communication Specialist Second Class Kenneth Abbate)
A Prowler with VAQ140 launch from USS Dwight D. Eisenhower. (Photo: Mass Communication Specialist Second Class Julia A. Casper)
A Prowler with VAQ-134 launches from the flight deck of USS Carl Vinson. (Photo: Seaman Zachary David Bell)
PREPPING PROWLERS: A pair of Prowlers with VAQ-142 (the “Gray Wolves”) sit on the flight deck of USS Nimitz. (Mass Communication Specialist Third Class Chris Bartlett)
Sailors assigned to VAQ-131 (the “Lancers”) prepare an EA-6B Prowler aboard USS Abraham Lincoln. (Photo: Mass Communication Specialist Second Class Jonathan P. Idle)
Sailors assigned to VAQ-140 wipe down the canopy of an EA-6B prowler aboard USS Dwight D. Eisenhower. (Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Andrew Schneider)
Aviation Boatswain's Mate (Handling) Third Class Andrew Cox directs a Prowler with VAQ-133 (the “Wizards”) on the flight deck of USS John C. Stennis. (Photo: Mass Communication Specialist Second Class Kenneth Abbate)
SUNSET AT SEA: Sailors with VAQ-131 (the “Lancers”) perform final checks on a Prowler on the flight deck of USS Abraham Lincoln. (Photo: Mass Communication Specialist Third Class Travis K. Mendoza)
Today in History: First Lightning
Aug. 28, 2014
AUGUST 29, 1949: The Soviet Union detonates its first atomic bomb, a 20-kiloton device dubbed “First Lightning,” becoming the second nuclear nation and raising the stakes in the emerging Cold War. Revelations that espionage had fed the Soviet program, and fearing a loss of nuclear supremacy, President Truman moves ahead with the more powerful hydrogen bomb.
1911: Ishi, the last surviving member of the Yahi Indian tribe, walks out of the foothills near Mount Lassen in California and into the modern world. Ishi would spend five years living in an anthropology museum in San Francisco, where he collaborated with researchers in studying his dialect and Yahi culture. He contracted tuberculosis and died in 1916.
1997: In the fictional timeline described by Sarah Connor in the 1991 film Terminator 2: Judgment Day, the integrated defense network Skynet becomes self-aware and turns on its builders, launching a nuclear war that wipes out human civilization and pave the way for the rule of intelligent machines, some of which take on the terrifying form of the Terminator.
AUGUST 28, 1963: The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, JR. speaks to more than a quarter million civil-rights marchers from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. Departing from his prepared text near the end, King’s personal appeal of hope for an end to racism propels his address to new heights, and is ever after known by the phrase “I Have a Dream.”
1968: The streets outside the Democratic National Convention in Chicago erupt in riots as police wade into some 10,000 anti-war demonstrators demanding action on the party’s political platform. Live coverage of the violence and the aggressive politics tactics used at what became known as the “Battle of Michigan Avenue” shocks many viewers nationwide, widening the political rift over the Vietnam War.
1955: Emmett Till, a young black Chicago teenager visiting relatives in Mississippi, is kidnapped and murdered by local racists who accused him of flirting with a white woman. The acquittal by an all-white jury of his alleged killers — who later boasted of their guilt in a magazine interview— galvanizes the emerging civil rights movement.
AUGUST 27, 1942: The battleship USS Iowa launches, the last lead ship of any American battleship class. Known as “The Big Stick” for her nine 16-inch Mark 7 main guns, Iowa would serve in both the Atlantic and Pacific theaters during WWII and was present at the Japanese surrender. She later in Korea, and came out of retirement in the mid-1980s to counter the growing Soviet naval threat.
1962: NASA launches Mariner 2 probe, which becomes the first man-made spacecraft to rendezvous with another planet when it passes within 22,000 miles of Venus four months later. Mariner 2 did not carry a camera because of Venus’s dense cloud cover, but it did provide the first detailed measurements of the Venutian atmosphere.
1883: A series of massive eruptions obliterate the volcanic island of Krakatoa in Indonesia, creating a sound heard up to 3,000 miles away, a pressure wave that circles the Earth seven times, and disrupting the global climate for years. Huge pyroclastic flows create massive tsunamis that kill more than 36,000 people on nearby coastlines, with some estimates of the toll far higher.
1776: British forces under General William Howe attack the Continental Army under General George Washington at the first and largest battle of the Revolutionary War. Dug in on Manhattan island, Washington found himself surrounded and outnumbered, and after several days of fighting withdrew his Army from the field, allowing the British to take control of New York.
AUGUST 25, 1944: The German garrison in Paris surrenders to allied forces after a six-day final assault, signaling the liberation of the city after five years of occupation. The next day, victorious allied troops stage a massive parade down the Champs Élysées even as German snipers still pose a threat. A long fight against German forces in eastern France still lay ahead.
1916: The National Park Service is formed within the Department of the Interior under director Stephen Mather (pictured) to conserve and manage the growing system of parks and national heritage sites. Nearly a century later the agency administers more than 450 parks and thousands of other sites and landmarks on 84 million acres of public land.
AUGUST 22, 1485: After more than two decades, the bloody War of the Roses culminates at the Battle of Bosworth Field, where Henry Tudor defeats the army of King Richard III, who is killed in the fighting. The victory propels Henry to the throne as Henry VI and establishes the Tudor dynasty that would rule England for more than a century.
1864: The Geneva Convention adopts accords providing for the non-partisan care for sick and wounded soldiers during wartime and honoring the neutrality of medical personnel. The convention also adopts a red cross on white background as the symbol that will identify medics on the battlefield, a nod to Swiss humanitarian Jean-Henri Dunant’s advocacy of the accords.
AUGUST 21, 1858: The first of seven debates between Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Douglas takes place in Ottawa, Ill., as the two vie for the state’s seat in the U.S. Senate. Slavery would dominate the debates, with Douglas favoring a state’s rights approach while Lincoln supported limiting any further expansion. Lincoln loses the election, but the debates fuel his presidential bid two years later.
1863: Captain William Quantrill leads his Quantrill’s Raiders, a Confederate guerrilla force of about 450 — among them future outlaws Frank and Jesse James — in an attack on Lawrence, Kan., in revenge for the city’s support of abolition and militias who raided pro-slavery areas of Missouri. Quantrills’ men massacre more than 150 residents and set fire to 185 buildings.
1831: Nat Turner leads a revolt with seven fellow slaves on a Virginia plantation, murdering more than 60 whites over the next two days. Turner had hoped to rally others to his cause, but the rebellion was quickly put down, and in the aftermath hundreds of blacks were killed or executed; Turner was caught and hanged six weeks later. The rebellion resulted in a rash of new restrictions on slave life.
AUGUST 20, 1998: President Bill Clinton orders cruise missile strikes against Al-Qaeda training camps in Afghanistan and a purported chemical weapons plant in Sudan in retaliation for the bombings of two American embassies. The strikes fail to take out Osama bin Laden, and critics noted the similarity to politically-motivated misdirection portrayed in the film Wag the Dog.
1977: NASA launches the Voyager 2 space probe on a mission to explore the outer solar system. Launched before its sister ship, Voyager 2 remains the only probe to have visited all the outer gas giants: Jupiter (in 1979), Saturn (1981), Uranus (1986), and Neptune (1989). She is currently headed to the Kuiper belt and the outer boundaries of the solar system.
1794: Revolutionary War hero General “Mad” Anthony Wayne wins a decisive victory over a British-backed confederation of Indian tribes at the Battle of Fallen Timbers near present-day Toledo. The victory clears the way for the expansion of settlements into what would become Ohio and the upper midwest territories and puts an end to British influence in the region.
AUGUST 19, 1812: The USS Constitution, one of the original ships of war built by the American Navy to protect the fledgling nation, defeats the British frigate HMS Guerrière in a fierce battle off the coast of Nova Scotia. During the fight, 18-pound British cannonballs were seen bouncing off Constitution’s sturdy 25-inch thick oak hull, lending the ship its nickname “Old Ironsides.”
1914: Speaking before the US. Senate, President Woodrow Wilson argues that the nation must stay neutral in the conflict brewing in Europe. But after Germany violates pledges to restrict submarine warfare and entices Mexico into an alliance against the U.S., Wilson returns to Congress on April 4, 1917, to request a declaration of war on Germany; the House grants it two days later.
AUGUST 18, 1227: Mongol ruler Genghis Khan dies. Khan organized the warring tribes of the harsh Mongolian steppes into a highly disciplined and mobile army and conquered an empire that stretched across Central Asia from China to the Caspian Sea. Khan’s heirs extended their rule across China and Persia and drove as far west as the Danube River, the largest land empire in human history.
1920: Tennessee narrowly ratifies the Nineteenth Amendment to the Constitution, giving it the two-thirds majority needed to become the law of the land. The amendment, which outlawed the restriction of voting rights by sex, was the culminaton of a campaign for women’s suffrage that began more than 70 years earlier.
1587: Virginia Dare is born at the Roanoke Colony, the first child born to English parents in the Americas. The colony was first founded in 1585 by settlers sponsored by Sir Walter Raleigh, but supply problems and Indian attacks drove them back to England. A second colony was begun in 1587, but when governor John White returned with supplies three years later, everyone had vanished.
AUGUST 15, 1969: The Woodstock Music & Art Fair gets underway near Bethel, N.Y., drawing more than 400,000 young people to a three-day gathering that would transform from a concert to become, for good and bad, a defining moment for the Sixties counterculture. More than 30 top acts perform at the event, where free love and copious drug use overcome rainy and poor planning.
1979: Francis Ford Coppola’s Vietnam film Apocalypse Now opens in U.S. theaters. Transplanting the story of Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness from Africa to Southeast Asia, Coppola’s violent and vivid anti-war war film combined documentary detail with a mythic dreamscape of soldiers slowly going mad in the primordial jungle. As Coppola told critics: “It’s not about Vietnam. It is Vietnam.”
1914: After a decade of construction in the unforgiving jungles and mountains, the Panama Canal opens its massive system of locks to commercial traffic, inaugurating a new route from the Atlantic to the Pacific that would redefine international shipping. Handling just 1,000 ships in its first year, a century later annual traffic tops 14,000.
AUGUST 14, 1784: Russian fur trader Grigory Shelikhov founds the first permanent Russian settlement in Alaska. The operations of the Russian American Company would later range as far south as modern-day California, but after the Crimean War bankrupted Russia, they went looking for a buyer, and in 1867 the purchase of Alaska— dubbed “Seward’s Folly” — was closed for $7.2 million.
1997: Militia-movement sympathizer Timothy McVeigh is sentenced to death for his role in the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City on April 19, 1995. The massive explosion killed 167 people and injured more than 600, and remains the worst act of domestic terrorism in U.S. history. McVeigh was executed on June 11, 2001.
1980: Dockworkers seize the Lenin Shipyard in Gdansk, Poland, to demand the right to unionize after the Communist government announces new austerity measures. Among the strikers was labor leader Lech Walesa, who galvanized the workers into a broader labor movement known as Solidarity and a decade later would be elected Poland’s first non-Communist post-war president.
1945: President Harry S. Truman announces the unconditional surrender of the empire of Japan, bringing an end to the Second World War. The next day, Japanese citizens would hear the voice of Emperor Hirohito for the first time as he announced the end of the war. The formal surrender would took place on September 2 aboard USS Missouri (pictured).
AUGUST 13, 1899: Horror-film maestro Alfred Hitchcock is born in London’s East End, growing up amid talk of the then-recent killings by Jack the Ripper. Hitchcock began his storied movie career in England during the silent era before moving to Hollywood in 1939, where he created such scream-cinema masterpieces as Psycho, Rear Window, and Vertigo.
1942: Walt Disney’s classic animated feature film Bambi debuts in theaters. A high-point of the animator’s lush hand-drawn tradition, the film was filled with numerous magical animal characters that enchanted young and old audiences. Though aimed at children, the film did not shy away from portraying the tragic death of Bambi’s mother.
1934: The comic strip Li’l Abner debuts, chronicling the lives of a fictional clan of hillbillies living in the Appalachian town of Dogpatch, Kentucky. Al Capp’s creation used broad caricatures of impoverished Southern society and slang-heavy dialogue to satirize American life and politics. The strip ran for 43 years and gave birth to the Sadie Hawkins Day dance tradition.
AUGUST 12, 1961: East Germany begins construction of what it calls the “Anti-Fascist Protection Rampart,” better known as the Berlin Wall. The barbed-wire and cinderblock barrier was officially meant to keep out Western influence but in reality was an attempt to stem the massive tide of defections. Steadily enlarged in the following years, the wall became a hated symbol of Communist oppression.
2000: Two catastrophic explosions inside the Russian nuclear missile submarine Kursk send the massive boat to the bottom of the Barents Sea with 118 crewmen on board. Russian naval authorities are slow to locate the wreck and begin rescue operations, resulting in unprecedented public rebukes. A later investigation determines the entire crew were dead within eight hours.
1981: Business-computing titan IBM introduces the IBM PC, which will push mainstream acceptance of computer use to new heights and create an industry standard that will dominate the market for more than two decades. The PC’s success proves a kingmaker for Microsoft, which supplied the operating system, and a setback for Apple Computer, which had dominated the industry’s early years.
1944: Navy Lieutenant Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr. — pictured at right with younger brother John Kennedy in 1942 — is killed in the skies over England. Kennedy’s mission was to fly a bomber carrying ten tons of explosives partway to its target in France before arming the weapons and bailing out, with the aircraft continuing via remote control. But the detonator ignited prematurely, destroying his aircraft.
AUGUST 11, 1984: During a sound check prior to his weekly radio address, President Ronald Reagan jokes: “My fellow Americans, I'm pleased to tell you today that I've signed legislation that will outlaw Russia forever. We begin bombing in five minutes.” The comment causes consternation among Reagan’s critics and grist for the Soviet propaganda mill.
1965: The arrest of a young black man in Los Angeles turns violent, sparking a quickly escalating battle between mostly black residents and mostly white police later dubbed the Watts Riots. Over six days of widespread violence and looting, 34 people are killed and more than 1,000 injured as massive fires tear through whole city blocks, causing some $40 million in property damage.
AUGUST 8, 1974: In a televised address to the nation Richard Nixon announces he will resign the office of president. Facing three articles of impeachment in the House, Nixon had just two days earlier been forced to release White House audio tapes that implicated him in obstruction of justice in the Watergate investigation. The next day he departed Washington for California.
1863: A month after the disastrous defeat at the Battle of Gettysburg — where nearly a third of the Southern Army had been lost — Confederate General Robert E. Lee sends a letter of resignation to President Jefferson Davis. Lee questioned his own leadership skills and admitted to a profound fatigue after two years of war. But Davis would refuse, and Lee would stay in command for two more years.
AUGUST 7, 1782: General George Washington creates the Badge of Military Merit to honor the heroism of soldiers fighting in his Continental Army, though he would only present the decoration to three soldiers during the Revolutionary War. The badge’s embroidered heart design would later influence its official successor, the Purple Heart, which bears Washington’s profile on its face.
1964: Congress passes the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution granting President Lyndon Johnson wide-ranging power to combat communist aggression in Southeast Asia. Johnson received near-unanimous support for the resolution and quickly began prosecuting the war in Vietnam, but later revelations cast doubt on the facts surrounding the incident that precipitated it.
1959: Explorer 6 transmits the first photographic image of the Earth taken from orbit, inaugurating a new era in satellite observation and reconnaissance. The spacecraft’s photocell scanner snapped the crude image during a relatively short operational life in orbit and took nearly 40 minutes to transmit it down to scientists at Cape Canaveral.
AUGUST 6, 1945: The B-29 bomber Enola Gay drops the first atomic bomb on an enemy target, incinerating the port city of Hiroshima, Japan, at 8:15 a.m local time. The “Little Boy” device detonates 1,900 feet over the ground with an explosive force of 16 kilotons, killing between 70,000 and 80,000 people in the initial blast and igniting fires across a more than four square-mile area.
1965: President Lyndon Johnson signs the Voting Rights Act, outlawing restrictions on voter access to any local, state, or federal election on the basis of race and attacking a key institution of segregation, as civil-rights icons Dr. Martin Luther King and Rosa Parks look on. Voting turnout in black communities rises significantly in the following years.
1890: Convicted murderer William Kemmler becomes the first person executed by electrocution when the sentence is carried out at Auburn prison in New York. Electrocution was meant to be a humane alternative to hanging, the dominant form of capital punishment at that time, but the grisly duration of Kemmler’s death proved the means was far from ideal.
AUGUST 5, 1962: Actress Marilyn Monroe is found dead at her home in Los Angeles in a tragic end to a storybook career that saw her become one of Hollywood’s brightest lights. First noticed in 1950’s The Asphalt Jungle, Monroe quickly rose to superstardom with roles in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes and Some Like It Hot, and was linked romantically with President John Kennedy.
1981: President Ronald Reagan begins laying off air-traffic controllers two days after some 13,000 had gone on strike over working conditions. The action slowed air traffic for months, but the FAA quickly began hiring new workers and on October 22 controllers’ union, PATCO, was decertified.
1861: The first federal income tax is instituted to help pay for the men and materials needed to fight the Civil War, with the Revenue Act mandating a 3% charge on nearly any income over $800. Congress would repeal the tax in 1871, but in 1909 the 16th Amendment established the basis of the federal income-tax system that survives to this day.
AUGUST 4, 1944: Ann Frank and her family are discovered in the secret Amsterdam hiding place where they had evaded the Nazi occupation for two years. Anne and her sister Margot were later sent to the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp, where they both died in March 1945. Frank’s story would gain worldwide attention after the posthumous publication of the diary she kept while in hiding.
1987: The Federal Communication Commission rescinds the “Fairness Doctrine” that had required radio and television stations using public airwaves to devote time to public-interest topics and allot balanced time to opposing views. But the perceived need for diverse viewpoints was increasingly being met by proliferating cable channels. One result of the rescission was the rise of talk radio.
AUGUST 1, 1988: Rush Limbaugh debuts his daily radio broadcast to a nationwide audience, quickly attracting a large segment of listeners — later dubbed “Dittoheads” — who flock to his conservative political commentary and analysis. As his influence on political debates grew, Limbaugh would find himself attacked by major politicians including President Bill Clinton.
1981: The basic cable channel MTV Music Television begins broadcasting from New York, with its first music-video “Video Killed the Radio Star” by The Buggles. MTV quickly changed the promotion of popular music and by extension the music industry itself with its popular video programming, though critics would charge it favored visuals over musical quality.
1790: The federal government conducts the first nationwide census of the United States as mandated by the Constitution, finding a population of 3.9 million living in the country’s sixteen states, districts, and territories — a figure both President Washington and Secretary of State Jefferson disputed as too low. The census resulted in the increase of the House of Representatives from 69 seats to 105.
Movie Memories: The Wizard of Oz
Aug. 27, 2014
This month marks the 75th anniversary of the release of the classic fantasy film The Wizard of Oz in 1939, one of the most beloved films from Hollywood’s golden era. Here’s a look back the film’s history and production.
Adapted from the fantasy novels of L. Frank Baum, The Wizard of Oz tells the tale of a young Kansas farmgirl (played by Judy Garland) who is whisked away by a cyclone to a magical land called Oz, where she is embroiled in a power struggle with a wicked witch as she attempts to find her way back home.
Along the way, young Dorothy and her little dog Toto teams up with three companions — a cowardly lion, a tin woodsman, and a scarecrow — who aid her in her quest.
As famous as the film now is, it was not a huge box-office success on its initial release. The film's large budget — at more than $2.7 million the most expensive MGM production to that time — and average ticket prices of 25 cents (only 10-15 cents for younger moviegoers) meant it did not see a profit for almost a decade.
The Wizard of Oz was nominated for six Academy Awards, including Best Picture, but lost to Gone With the Wind. In recognition of its sumptuous design and colors, the film’s cinematography, art direction, and special effects were also nominated.
Ironically, the one Oscar the film did win — best original song for “Over the Rainbow” — almost didn’t happen because the studio considered cutting the scene, fearing it slowed the film down.
The Wizard of Oz was re-released in 1949 and 1955, and by then Garland’s star has risen enough to help the film attract new viewers.
What ultimately made the film a cultural institution was the new medium of television. Oz was first broadcast in 1956, drawing a massive audience of 45 million viewers. After a second airing in 1959, a deal was struck to show the film annually, and it quickly became a veritable national holiday.
In 1989, The Wizard of Oz was among the first batch of films added to the National Film Registry, an archive of films deemed “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.”
SUMMARY JUDGMENT: Early reviews of the film were largely positive, and praised the film’s lavish sets and eye-popping design.
Frank Nugent, The New York Times: “Not since Disney's Snow White has anything quite so fantastic succeeded half so well. A fairybook tale has been told in the fairybook style, with witches, goblins, pixies and other wondrous things drawn in the brightest colors and set cavorting to a merry little score.”
John C. Flinn, Variety: "Nothing comparable has come out of Hollywood in the past few years to approximate the lavish scale of this filmusical extravaganza, in the making of which the ingenuity and inventiveness of technical forces were employed without stint of effort or cost. … Some of the scenic passages are so beautiful in design and composition as to stir audiences by their sheer unfoldment."
Roger Ebert, writing in 1996, observed: “The Wizard of Oz has a wonderful surface of comedy and music, special effects and excitement, but we still watch it six decades later because its underlying story penetrates straight to the deepest insecurities of childhood, stirs them and then reassures them.”
In a more humorous vein, a 2012 a capsule description of the film posted on Turner Classic Movie’s website quicklywent viral. Read the review: “Transported to a surreal landscape, a young girl kills the first person she meets and then teams up with three strangers to kill again.”
OZ ON SCREEN: The 1939 film was actually the fourth time the L. Frank Baum story had been adapted to the big screen. The first was a 13-minute silent version entitled The Wonderful Wizard of Oz released in 1910.
In 1925, a young Andy Hardy — later of the Laurel & Hardy comedy duo — played the Tin Woodsman (at right) in another silent version.
A nine-minute animated version was also release in 1933. Though produced in color, the short was released in black-and-white because the production did not have the proper license from Technicolor.
The Wizard of Oz has never been formally remade or “reimagined,” though several subsequent releases have explored more of L. Frank Baum’s universe — comprised of 15 books — including 1985’s Return to Oz, which starred Fairuza Balk as Dorothy.
Oz the Great and Powerful starred James Franco as the titular wizard, exploring the characters back story and discovery of the land of Oz.
ON THE SET: The Wizard of Oz was a large and technically complex production filled with then state-of-the-art makeup, costumes, and special effects.
20th Century Fox had wanted Shirley Temple to play Dorothy, but her singing chops posed a problem. Fox ended up losing the film rights to rival studio Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer — who paid the then-astronomical sum of $75,000 —and Judy Garland, a young contract player at the studio, got the role.
The final costume test for Garland. Producers had earlier tried a look with a blonde wig.
Costume test for Margaret Hamilton as the Wicked Witch of the West, without the green makeup that would be her hallmark. Though playing an old witch, Hamilton was only 36 at the time.
Hamilton as she appeared in the film film. Many scenes featuring the Wicked Witch of the West were cut because producers feared they would be too frightening for young children.
Actor Buddy Ebsen was initially cast as the Tin Woodsman and completed some scenes, but had to bow out due to an allergic reaction to the silver makeup. Pictured, a makeup and costume test for Ebsen.
Actor Jack Haley in costume and makeup as the Tin Woodsman in the final film.
Makeup test for actor Ray Bolger’s Scarecow.
Bolger with Garland in their first scene.
Burt Lahr’s Cowardly Lion costume was knitted from actual lion fur and weighed nearly 100 pounds, which kept the actor unbearably hot under the huge stage lights.
Dorothy’s dog Toto was played by a female dog named Terry, and was paid $125 per week — while the actors playing the residents of Munchkinland only received a reported $50 a week. For her part, star Judy Garland was paid $500 a week.
Judy Garland, Ray Bolger, Burt Lahr, and Jack Haley go over their lines on the set.
The Wizard of Oz had two directors, with Victor Fleming handling the Technicolor scenes set in Oz, and King Vidor overseeing the bookend black-and-white sequences set in Kansas. Pictured, Fleming with Garland on the Munchkinland set.
Ray Bolger (at left) sits in on a meting with director Victor Fleming, choreographer Bobby Connolly, and producer Mervyn LeRoy.
Fleming (seated at right) talks with the actors during shooting of the poppy field scene.
Fleming talks with Garland and Bolger between takes.
A bus ferries the Munchkinland cast to the set in a publicity stunt to drum up interest in the film during production. The actors were later given a collective star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
A wardrobe technician sorts through some of the hundreds of costumes used for the Munchkinland scenes.
Garland takes a break on the backlot with some of the film’s Munchkin players.
Mods Return to Brighton
Aug. 27, 2014
Classic scooters descended on the English seaside city of Brighton over the weekend for an annual gathering celebrating the 1960’s “Mod” movement. This year also marks the 50th anniversary of the infamous “Battle of Brighton” youth riots. Here’s a look at the weekend fair and the 1964 unrest.
Brighton has become the spiritual home of modern-day Mod enthusiasts, and the city welcomed the tenth edition of the annual gathering of scooter enthusiasts, which drew thousands of participants and spectators to the quiet beachfront community.
A lively market featuring memorabilia, live music, and period fashions added to the rumble of hundreds of custom-modified scooters, the iconic two-wheel symbol of the Mod movement.
Attendees enjoy some of the hundreds of scooters that made the trip to Brighton.
The weekend was a chance for aging enthusiasts to gather and celebrate the Mod culture and legacy — even if their hard-partying years are well behind them.
BRITISH BLING: A central element of the Mod culture was extensive customization of scoters, with riders adding numerous lights and mirrors to the basic vehicles. According to lore this was a deliberate over-reaction to the excessive regulations imposed on scooters.
Fast and furious fashion on display in Brighton.
Born (quite a few decades ago) to be wild...
Taking in the sights.
Enthusiasts can spend thousands of pounds outfitting their scooters.
The weekend culminated in a “ride-out” of scooters along the South Downs coast in Sussex.
“BATTLE OF BRIGHTON”: The clash of youth cultures between Mods and rival Rockers came to a head over the August bank holiday weekend of 1964, when as many as 3,000 youths descended on Brighton and nearby communities. The resulting disturbances became known as the “Battle of Brighton.”
Mods were known for wearing designer suits and parka jackets, dancing to The Who, and driving imported Vespa and Lambretta scooters which had become a popular form of cheap personal transportation during tough economic times.
Rockers followed a more American model patterned on biker films, listening to rock acts such as Elvis Presley, wearing leather jackets and outfits, and riding full-sized motorcycles.
A massive crowd of Mods and Rockers spills onto the beach at Brighton.
The two groups often clashed during encounters in larger cities such as London, and that antagonism exploded at Brighton as thousands rioted on the beach and in the streets.
Mods throw beach gear, creating chaos in the quiet seaside tourist attraction.
A wild scene on the Brighton beach.
Hundreds of youths in both camps were injured and arrested as the fighting escalated to looting and property destruction of local businesses, terrifying weekend tourists.
Melees spilled onto the side streets of Brighton as police attempted to impose order.
The violence lasted over several days and spread to nearby cities.
British newspapers ran shocked headlines about the very un-British behavior of the two youth groups.
The mod culture and the riots at Brighton were dramatized in the 1979 film Quadrophenia, which was adapted from a rock opera by The Who. The group's music was a favorite of Mod youths in the ‘60s.
A scooter rider at this weekend’s Brighton event wears a coat emblazoned with a logo for The Who.
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