NRO Slideshows

Westminster Dog Show

Dogs of all shapes and sizes descended on Madison Square Garden this week for the annual Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show. Here’s a look at the amazing variety of breeds on display. Pictured, up close with a Chow Chow.
Uploaded: Feb. 13, 2014


Movie Preview: The Battle of the Five Armies
Dec. 19, 2014
Director Peter Jackson brings his second Tolkien trilogy to a big finish with The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, opening in theaters this week. Here’s a spoiler-free look at the film and some early reviews.
The Hobbit films are a prequel of sorts of the story of The Lord of the Rings, involving some of the key characters in the same fantasy world of Middle Eearth, and are based on the 1937 novel by J.R.R. Tolkien.
In the first installment, An Unexpected Journey the wizard Gandalf convinces the Hobbit Bilbo Baggins to join a group of dwarves led by the warrior-king Thorin Oakenshield on a quest to reclaim their ancestral home in the Lonely Mountain of Erebor from a fearsome dragon named Smaug.
In The Desolation of Smaug, the quest of the dwarves continues as they are pursued by the evil orc Agog the Defiler, Bilbo begins to understand the power of the mysterious ring he has stolen from Gollum, and he and the dwarves reach the Lonely Mountain and face the mighty Smaug.
As Five Armies begins, Smaug unleashes his fiery fury on the world of Middle Earth, Thorin struggles to trust the leader of an Elf army who will be crucial in fighting an advancing orc army, and everyone it seems has a claim to the treasures inside the Lonely Mountain.
Five Armies combines a deep exploration of the corrupting power of greed with a massive set-piece conflict between dwarves, elves, men, orcs, and the legendary Great Eagles. Jackson throws everything but the kitchen sink into the fray — and if you look closely you might see said sink in there somewhere.
Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) tries to aid Thorin even as the dwarfen leader descends into madness. He also secretly protects a vital dwarven relic in the form of the Arkenstone.
Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Armitage) finds it difficult to trust man or elf in his struggle to regain his kingdom, and equally hard to resist the temptation of “that terrible need” for treasure that causes him to lash out at his former allies and friends.
Gandalf the Grey (Ian McKellen) labors to aid Bilbo and Thorin on their quest while dealing with rise of an ancient evil.
Bard the Bowman (Luke Evans) is an heir to the human city of Dale and a skilled archer who holds the key to defeating the mighty Smaug.
Thranduil (Lee Pace) is a powerful but arrogant elven leader who has a bargain for Thorin.
Legolas Greenleaf (Orlando Bloom) is the son of Thranduil and a mighty warrior against the advancing Orc army of Azog.
Tauriel (Evengeline Lilly) is a skilled Elf archer with an eye for the dwarf Kili. (The character of Tauriel was created for the film version.)
Saruman the White (Christopher Lee) is a powerful wizard who may or may not be prepared to battle the rise of the evil Sauron.
Azog the Defiler (Manu Bennett) is a hellish Orc leader who tortured and killed the dwarven king Thror and is hated by every dwarf in Middle Earth.
Smaug the Magnificent (voice of Benedict Cumberbatch) has resided in the depths of the Lonely Mountain guarding a cache of dwarven gold.
SUMMARY JUDGMENT: Critical reaction to Five Armies have been mixed, with most praising the director Jackson’s skill at orchestrating epic-scale action and singling out for praise the performances of Martin Freeman and Richard Ermitage. Here’s a look at some major critical takes.
Todd McCarthy, The Hollywood Reporter: “The Hobbit lives up to its mayhem potential by making maximum use of modern technology to create an abundant smorgasbord of wildly varied and sometimes mordantly amusing combat; this is an out-and-out war film, with gobs of trimmings.”
Drew Taylor, Indiewire: ”The Battle of the Five Armies is easily the best film of the new trilogy, more entertaining and energetic and tonally in sync with Jackson's earlier, edgier work, shifting from berserker comedy to abject horror at a moment's notice (and then back again).”
Betsy Sharkey, Los Angeles Times: “A great deal of The Hobbit’s charm always rests, as it should, with the hobbit Bilbo. From the first, Freeman has made him adorably whimsical, enduringly self-deprecating and increasingly self-confident. The actor has done well by Bilbo, doing much to make the unexpected journey worth the watching.”
Nicolas Rapold, New York Times: “The story insists upon the hoary sentiment of filthy lucre’s overriding all reason and friendship, like an opera without song. Erebor is an imposing castlelike (or cathedral-like) stronghold, containing Thorin like a crazed Macbeth in the labyrinth of his desire.”
Alan Scherstuhl, Village Voice: “Richard Armitage, as head dwarf Thorin, gets to play the gold-mad Treasure of the Sierra Madre hardass, a stern Scrooge McDuck with a touch of Howard Hughes: He forsakes the world to hole up with his treasure. As always in Jackson, a stubborn king refuses to aid a world in need, and when he softens he's bathed in divine light with no real in-story source.”
Scott Foundas, Variety: “If The Battle of the Five Armies feels psychologically weightier than the previous Hobbit films, that’s largely a credit to Armitage, who plays Thorin with the paranoid despotic rage of a Shakespearean king, his heavy-lidded eyes ablaze with a private madness.”
Scott Foundas, Variety: “The final installment of Peter Jackson’s distended Lord of the Rings prequel offers more barbarians at the gate than you can shake an Elven sword at, each vying for control of mountainous Erebor. The result is at once the trilogy’s most engrossing episode, its most expeditious … and also its darkest.”
Meme Watch: Kim Jong-un, Master Hacker
Dec. 19, 2014
This week the cyber-attacks on Sony Pictures became a free speech cause after the North Korea-backed hackers succeeded in stopping the release of The Interview. Frustrated Twitter users focused their snark on “Dear Leader” Kim Jong-un — and a little at Sony for surrendering. Here’s a sampling.
Boardroom shuffle (Image via Fox News, @FoxNews)
“Want to get a Hollywood movie made AND released? Looks like now #KimJongUn pulls all the strings.” (Edward Anthony Rayne, @rayne_ea)
Run silent, run deep. (Image via Socialist Mop, @socialistmop)
Not your father’s America. (Image via Facebook/RightWintRantsRaves)
Master of his domain (Image via Tom Adelsbach, @TomAdelsbach)
“#KimgJongUn and his Merry Terrorists Win!” (Tomas Laverty, @lavurty)
“This offends me. Shut down America.” (Benny, @bennyjohnson)
“It’s probably that easy at Sony with as quick as they gave up the goat.” (Chief Pez, @pezatsea)
Best Buy-powered bully (Image via Benny, @bennyjohnson)
A primadonna in any language (Image via Aaron Worthing, @AaronWorthing)
“This is what #KimJongUn doesn’t want you to see!” (Aaron Worthing, @AaronWorthing)
“BREAKING: North Korea beds hacked by @SethRogen.” (Scott Lofquist, @ScottLofquist)
“Which one is the ‘any’ key?” (Scott Lofquist, @ScottLofquist)
“Sony really needs to hire these women. They deserve an Academy Award.” (HOPE 4 CHANGE, @OneDeception)
Submitted for your approval (Image via Charles Chapman, @CharlesRChapman)
“Just remember, Sony surrounded the First Amendment to this clown.” (Kelly, @ceallaigh_k)
“The entire American movie industry IRL” (Kevin W. Glass, @KevinwGlass)
“The general consensus regarding this North Korea fiasco” (Best OfReddit, @RedditBest)
“Well by the looks of Kim Jong Un’s bedroom, he doesn’t hate all American movies.” (Robot, @robx_d)
“Hey North Korea, I hear this movie makes fun of Un too. Please cancel (Benny, @bennyjohnson)
Say hello to his little friend. (Image via Sassyfrass, @SassafrasStarr)
Gentleman (and ladies), start your snark. (Image via LittleWombats666, @LittleWombats666)
Rear admiral Jong-un (Image via Hector Ceniceros, @HectorCeniceros)
“Just spat my coffee out in mirth…” (Image via Adam Mack, @Macka7)
“Obama says I no longer need passport to enter country. And I get free health care.” (IMZ Politics, @IMZ_Politics)
“The only photoshop of Kim Jong Un that is appropriate right now” (Benny, @bennyjohnson)
“This was when he was referred to as Lil’ Kim” (Finicky McNasty, @finicky_mcnasty)
“Tiny dictator by day. Chubby fantabulousness by night.” (Fr. Andrew Dickinson, @fatherandrew)
“Haven’t seen Psy much since Lil’ Kim gained dictator status; coincidence?” (David C. Burton, @ psalmofdavid)
“Give me chocolate covered Kimchee or give me death!” (David C. Burton, @psalmofdavid)
“This will make chopping heads off a lot easier” (IMZ Politics, @IMZ_Politics)
“I dropped my booger here, somewhere, mom.” (Ben R Cobb, @Benrayco)
“My uncle will taste so good mix in with this tapioca pudding” (IMZ Politics, @IMZ_Politics)
“And don’t forget the mayonnaise. I like mayonnaise” (The Morning Spew, @TheMorningSpew)
“North Korean battleship ‘SS Jong-Un’ now ready for the high seas.” (Joe the Dissident, @joethedissident)
“Show some compassion, guys! Kim Jong Un had it tough growing up.” (Quantum Flux, @QuantumFlux1964)
“Because he has to aspire to become Miss America one day.” (Sassyfrass, @SassafrasStarr)
“Guys I think he really means it this time” (Tal Rex, @Tal_Rex)
“The gauntlet has been thrown down, I’d say it’s time for a response” (Bo Wagner, @PreacherBo)
Ladies’ man (Image via Ronin Warrior, @Liberty_Watch)
Tiny tyrant (Image via Chad Hoover, @choover323)
“Kim & Play” (John Betz, @JohnBetz)
Judgment of history (Image via HCS, @hankishtwit)
The rush to fundamentally transform (Image via HCS, @hankishtwit)
Accent on the crazy (Image via Facebook/RightWintRantsRaves)
“Let’t go to the movies. Extra butter?” (Bryan Claret, @Clagett)
Hacking mission accomplished (Image via Benny, @bennyjohnson)
“I Can Ride Like Putin” (Ike, @IkeIsaacson2)
Who let the dogs out? (Image via SeldenGADawgs, @SeldenGADawgs)
“Didn’t he used to be on Sat night live??” (Mike, @mcrf94)
“I wonder if North Korea would like to make a trade, like we did with Cuba.” (CarolK, @FlyoverRed)
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Dec. 19, 2014
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JV . . . by Michael Ramirez August 21, 2014)
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Fun • ny, by Henry Payne (August 14, 2014)
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Friendly Fire, by Michael Ramirez (August 8, 2014)
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Kerry, 1943, by Henry Payne (August 6, 2014)
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Perch, by Henry Payne (July 29, 2014)
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Christmas Movie Titles
Dec. 18, 2014
’Tis the season on Twitter to come up with funny holiday-themed twists on famous Hollywood film titles. As we all get ready to decorate the Christmas tree (or the Festivus pole), here’s a sampling of the yuletide snark at #XmasAMovie, illustrated by NRO.
“Wreck it Ralphie" (Joe Blow, @nta71)
“Holidays and Confused" (, @FrankenFunny)
“Nogged Up" (Jonsey, @JonseyBeGood)
“The Wreath of Khan" (Doug Benson, @DougBenson)
“Silent Night at the Roxbury" (Jason Horton, @Jason_Horton)
“Mommy Dearest Got Run Over By A Reindeer" (Tish Eastman, @L8chronotype)
“A Clockwork Orange In My Stocking" (Mike Rock, @itsmikerock)
“Citizen Candy Cane" (Todd Pettengill, @toddsarmy)
“Yule Brynner" (THE STUDIO EXEC, @studioexec1)
“It’s time to put the Han back in Hanukkah" (Ryan Teague Beckwith, @ryanbeckwith)
“Despicable Me for Shopping on Thanksgiving" (Melly, @geektastic)
“Snow Country for Old Men" (Julia Hladkowicz, @juliacomedy)
“No Country for Wise Men” (Bryan Behar, @bryanbehar)
“No Country For Snow Men" (Travis Clark, @thatguytravis)
“High Plains Re-Gifter" (Michael Beeman, @MichaelBeeman)
“Django Unwrapped (His Presents)” (Tommy Campbell, @MrTommyCampbell)
“The December 25th Element” (Josh A. Cagan, @joshacagan)
“A Rebel Without a Claus" (Catherine Kelliher, @kitty_kelliher)
“Batman Begins Opening Presents" (Mike Rock, @itsmikerock)
“Batman Re-gifts and Returns" (Phil Louie, @pl221)
“Batman Returns" (a sweater to Nordstrom’s)” (Sam Roos, @roostafarian)
“The Fast and the Festivus" (Commander Spanx, @CommanderSpanx)
“The Nogfather" (blopt, @blopt)
“Claus Encounters of the Third Kind” (Colin Anderlele, @BaseballGuyCAA)
“A Fish Called Wanda that your kid loves on Xmas day, then forgets to feed, resulting in a burial at ‘sea’" (MEL, @melNC)
“Pee Wee’s Big Advent Calendar" (Kjerstin Kringle, @swissmistress)
“Shutter Island of Misfit Toys" (Adam Rank, @adamrank)
“Rudolph the Drunk Reindeer" (that’s why his nose is red)" (Rain Pryor, @RainPryor)
“Reservoir Nogs" (Lamont Price, @LPizzle)
“Buy Hard" (Sean Jordan, @SeanSJordan)
“Indiana Jones & the Costco of Doom" (MizzzJulie, @mizzzjulie)
“A Series of Unfortunate Presents" (sher-tastic, @sdevo77)
“Me, My Elf and Irene" (EstherK, @EstherK)
“Spruce Almighty" (Mike Stanley, @Mikestanley1)
“Grumpy Old Wise Men" (Jer’s Jingle Bells, @one_ring_77)
“You Better Not Crying Game" (Mama Vixen, @Mama_Mitchell)
“Horton Hears What I Hear" (Jordan Ross, @_JordanRoss)
“The Good, The Bad and the Ugly #Christmas Sweater" (CrazyDogTShirts, @CrazyDogTShirts)
“Bill and Ted’s Excellent Advent" (Derek Miller, @THEDerekMiller)
“The Hand That Rocks the Dreidel" (Scrooge Gelder, @SteveGelder)
“Mission: Impossible to Buy a Gift for that Weird Cousin" (meg, @coffeemugmurder)
“The Hunger Reindeer Games" (Joe ‘Monk. Pardavila, @joepardavila)
“Desperately Seeking Savior" (Frank Conniff, @FrankConniff)
“I Know What You Did Last Kwanza" (M.D. Welch, @md_welch)
“The #SPECTRE of Christmas Past" (Shaun Canon, @ShaunCanonMusic)
“The Lord of the FIVE Golden Rings" (Joe ‘Monk’ Pardavila, @joepardavila)
“Angels We Have Heard on High Fidelity" (Kristen, @CastAwayKristen)
“Carlito’s Sleigh" (Andrew Barclar, @abarclay)
“The Lord of the Rings: The Return of King Wenceslas" (Alec Badenoch, @alecbaders)
“She’s Just Not That Into Yule" (Scott Anglemyer, @angelscott)
“Dude, Where’s My Sleigh?" (Jackpotjoy, @Jackpotjoy)
“Remains of the Dreidel" (Jesus Goldstein, @TheEdley)
“The Ho-ho-hobbit" (me!!, @parkslopegrrl)
“The Last Gingerbread House on the Left" (Monkey74, @Mnky74)
“Silent Night of the Living Dead" (Pro Wrestling Tees, @ProWrestlingTs)
“Myrrhder on the Orient Express" (THE STUDIO EXEC, @studioexec1)
“A Miracle on Elm Street" (The Burque Slasher, @mosh13505)
“The Gingerbread House Rules" (Clarence Michon, @Michon72)
“Bend It Like Bethlehem" (Dav, @yinyues)
“Coal Runnings" (TrivWorks, @TwivWorks)
“Paraders of the Lost Ark" (Morty Coyle, @DJMortyCoyle)
“Frankincense and Sensibility" (Brandysnap Starflakes, @AmeliaK1987)
“The Hunger Shames" (The Daily Edge, @TheDailyEdge)
“Come all ye faithful friends with benefits" (Elvis Monroe, @balladbaby)
“Reindeer Game of Thrones" (Amanda Fields B., @TheRunwayQueen)
“There’s Something About Mary and Joseph" (Amanda Fields B., @TheRunwayQueen)
“Hark! Or My Mom Will Shoot" (Genevieve Rice!, @genevieverice)
“Joy to the World Is Not Enough" (David Weiner, @TikiAmbassador)
“Let It Snowpiercer" (Jason Horton, @Jason_Horton)
“It’s a Wonderful Life of Pi" (Tara Dreidlin’, @taradublinrocks)
“Clear and Present Manger" (Matt Champagne, @remainchampaigne)
“The Red and Green Mile" (Genevieve Rice!, @genevieverice)
“Donner Brasco" (gigglechick, @gigglechick)
“Purple Rain, Dear" (Paul Myers, @pulmyears)
“Crouching Joseph, Hidden Mary" (Mike Stanley, @MIkestanley1)
“Full Metal Ugly Sweater" (Keating Thomas, @keatingthomas)
“Family Fight Club" (Keating Thomas, @keatingthomas)
“Jack Frost vs. Nixon" (Casey Corbin, @CaseyCorbin)
“Planet of the Elves" (Josh Stern, @joshingstern)
“Sixteen Handel’s" (Messiah)" (Kjerstin Kringle, @swissmistress)
“The Pineapple Polar Express" (Adam Rank, @adamrank)
“Snakes on a Sleigh" (Bronx Zoo’s Cobra, @BronxZoosCobra)
“Throw Momma From the Sleigh" (Mike Stanley, @Mikestanley1)
“The Talented Mr. Kringle” (Funny or Die, @funnyordie)
Today in History: Titanic
Dec. 18, 2014
DECEMBER 19, 1997: James Cameron’s romantic adventure Titanic premieres. Costing an estimated $200 million, the historic love story set aboard the ill-fated ocean liner touches a chord with audiences, who keep the film in theaters for months. The film wins eleven Academy Awards, including best picture, making Cameron the “king of the world.”
1998: The House of Representatives approves two articles of impeachment against President Bill Clinton, charging him with lying under oath and obstructing justice, making him only the second president in history to be impeached. Clinton vows to serve out his second term, and on February 12, 1999, the Senate acquits him on both charges.
1984: British prime minister Margaret Thatcher and Chinese prime minister Zhao Ziyang sign an agreement to formally transfer control of Hong Kong to Chinese rule in 1997, ending a century and a half of British rule. As part of the treaty, Hong Kong retains a 50-year extension of its capitalist economic system.
1776: Thomas Paine publishes the first part of The American Crisis, which begins with the famous words: “These are the times that try men’s souls.” Written when the American Revolution was struggling after a series of defeats, Paine’s stirring words were an exhortation to struggle and victory, and were read aloud to the dispirited troops of the Continental Army.
DECEMBER 18, 1915: President Woodrow Wilson marries Edith Bolling Galt just nine months after their first meeting. When Wilson suffered a stroke four years later, Galt imposed a self-described “stewardship” of the Presidency, controlling access to Wilson and participating in some government decisions during his recovery.
1972: President Richard Nixon announces the start of a major bombing campaign against North Vienam after peace talks break down. The Linebacker II strikes — also called the “Christmas Bombings” — were the largest heavy-bomber raids since WWII, delivering 20,000 tons of ordnance. During more than 700 sorties, 26 aircraft were shot down, including 15 B-52 Stratofortresses.
1958: The Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA, later to become DARPA) launches SCORE (Signal Communications by Orbiting Relay Equipment), the world’s first communication satellite and a test bed for the revolution in worldwide communications to come. SCORE made its public debut by broadcasting a Christmas message from President Dwight Eisenhower.
1878: John Kehoe, the last of the Molly Maguires, is executed in Pennsylvania, putting an end to the secret society of Irish-American workers accused of a series of terrorist attacks against the region’s coal industry. The Maguires claimed to be protecting Irish immigrant workers, but Kehoe’s execution would become known as the “Death of Molly-ism.”
DECEMBER 17, 1989: The Simpsons debuts on Fox and quickly establishes itself as an irreverent, catchphrase-generating pop-culture institution. Created by cartoonist Matt Groening, the show recently began its 26th season — as of 2009 the longest-running scripted primetime show in television history — and has earned more than 30 Emmys and a Peabody.
1969: Quirky ukelele player Tiny Tim (born Herbert Khaury) marries his beloved Miss Vicki on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson as more than 40 million viewers watch at home — still one of the largest audiences ever for a single television broadcast. The couple’s tiptoe through the tulips lasts just eight years.
1969: The U.S. Air Force closes its Project Blue Book investigation into the phenomenon of unidentified flying objects (UFOs), which had grown immensely since the end of WWII. Though most of the more than 12,000 reports were determined to be natural phenomenon, a handful resisted final explanation.
1903: On a windy beach near Kitty Hawk, N.C., Orville Wright make the first successful flight of a self-propelled aircraft. The end result of testing hundreds of glider wing and airframes by Orville and brother Wilbur, the final aircraft stays aloft for just 12 seconds and travels 120 feet — less than the wingspan of a modern passenger jet.
DECEMBER 16, 1773: Patriots disguised as Mohawk Indians throw 342 chests of tea belonging to the East India Company into Boston Harbor in a protest over British taxes on imported tea. The “Boston Tea Party” become a pivotal moment in the nascent revolution against British rule.
1944: German forces launch their last major offensive of WWII, with 30 divisions pushing back Allied forces in the Ardennes region of Belgium in what became known as the “Battle of the Bulge.” Bad weather and surprise favored the assaulting German forces at first, but firm resistance by key Allied units slowed the attack and turned the tide.
1907: President Theodore Roosevelt sends sixteen battleships of the United State Navy’s Atlantic Fleet on a circumnavigation of the globe as a demonstration of American naval power and prestige. The hull colors of the newly-built flotilla give it the nickname the “Great White Fleet.”
1939: Producer David O. Selznick premieres his film version of Margaret Mitchell’s beloved novel Gone with the Wind. Starring Clark Gable and Vivien Leigh, the film presents a romanticized version of the antebellum South and its demise, including the dramatic burning of Atlanta. Selznick’s epic wins ten Academy Awards, including best picture, and becomes a Hollywood landmark.
1961: Former Nazi officer Adolf Eichmann is sentenced to death for crimes against humanity after a sensational public trial in Israel. Eichmann was a key figure in Nazi Germany’s “Final Solution” and had fled to Argentina after the war, where he was tracked down by Israeli Mossad agents. He was hanged on May 31 the following year.
1944: A plane carrying bandleader and trombone player Glenn Miller disappears in bad weather over the English Channel on its way to entertain U.S. troops in France. Miller’s musicianship, innovative big-band orchestrations, and focus on connecting with listeners had made him a nationwide radio star who sold millions of records before the war.
DECEMBER 12, 1925: Arthur Heinemann opens the Milestone Mo-Tel in San Luis Obispo, Calif., considered the first formal “motel” — a hotel catering to motorists that combined individual tourist cabins under one roof. Heinemann came up with the name when he found that his intended name “Milestone Motor Hotel” would not fit on the roof.
DECEMBER 11, 1872: William F. Cody, better known as Buffalo Bill, makes his stage debut in Chicago in a production of The Scouts of the Prairie. A genuine Western hero who served as an Army scout and Pony Express rider, Cody rose to fame romanticizing the American West in his traveling stage show, becoming one of the first global celebrities.
1972: Apollo 17, the final NASA mission to the moon, lands in the Taurus-Littrow valley of the lunar highlands. In the lunar module alongside commander Eugene Cernan was pilot Harrison Schmitt, the first professional scientist to set foot on the moon. The two astronauts spent three days on the surface, the longest of any mission.
1936: King Edward VIII abdicates the throne less than a year after becoming monarch to marry American socialite Wallis Warfield Simpson (at left). The wedding, to a divorced woman, would have provide problematic for the English king, who is also the head of the Church of England. He remains the only British sovereign ever to voluntarily resign the crown.
DECEMBER 10, 1965: The Grateful Dead play their first concert at the Fillmore Auditorium in San Francisco, Calif. Over the next three decades, the band’s eclectic musical style, virtuoso concert performances, and interest in psychedelia build a large and loyal audience of dedicated “Dead Heads.”
2007: Former Vice President Al Gore accepts the Nobel Peace Prize alongside the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, both for their advocacy of climate-chanage issues. At the Oslo ceremony, Gore states “We, the human species, are confronting a planetary emergency.” But six years later, predicted warming has not materialized.
DECEMBER 9, 1854: Alfred Lloyd Tennyson publishes his poem The Charge of the Light Brigade, an ode to the bravery of six hundred British cavalrymen who staged an ill-fated charge against Russian troops at the Battle of Balaclava during the Crimean War. Blamed on faulty delivery of orders, the charge cost the lives of 110 British troopers for no gain.
1992: President George H.W. Bush sends 1,800 U.S. Marines to Somalia to spearhead a multinational force trying to restore order amid rival warlords who had killed some 50,000 people in recent years. In October the following year, 18 American soldiers are killed in the infamous “Black Hawk Down” battle trying to arrest one of the warlords in Mogadishu.
1972: Australian pop singer Helen Reddy’s anthemic ballad “I Am Woman” reaches No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. Reddy’s song of female empowerment expressed her own feelings about the importance of the growing women’s movement and the drive for an Equal Rights Amendment.
DECEMBER 8, 1941: The day after Imperial Japanese forces struck Pearl Harbor and other U.S. bases in the Pacific, killing more than 2,400 servicemen, President Franklin Roosevelt addresses a joint session of Congress and the nation via radio to ask for a declaration of war. In the speech he famously dubs December 7 as a “date which will live in infamy.” Congress declares war one hour later.
1980: Mark David Chapman shoots and kills John Lennon near the singer’s apartment in New York City. Chapman was arrested at the scene reading A Catcher in the Rye and expressed a connection to the novel’s main character. His lawyers initially planned to claim insanity, but Chapman chooses to plead guilty; he remains in prison after eight parole appeals.
1914: British naval forces avenge their defeat at the Battle of Coronel in a decisive engagement off the Falkland Islands, routing a German Imperial Navy squadron sent to raid British supplies at Port Stanley. The larger British task force engaged and sunk two German armored cruisers and two light cruisers, killing more than 1,800 German sailors.
DECEMBER 5, 1945: Five U.S. Navy Avenger bombers designated Flight 19 disappear off the coast of Florida in the infamous “Bermuda Triangle.” Garbled radio messages indicated the squadron had gotten lost due to compass malfunction, and a final snippet suggested they were preparing to ditch; a plane sent to search for them also disappeared. Their fate has never been solved.
1876: Nearly 300 people are killed in a fire that rages through the Brooklyn Theater. The popular venue was standing room only for a performance of The Two Orphans, with some 900 in the audience. Stagehands noticed a fire halfway through the play, but lacked any hoses or water buckets to fight it. Many victims were trapped by or killed in the panic to escape.
DECEMBER 4, 1980: The rock group Led Zeppelin announces they are disbanding following the death of drummer John Bonham (pictured at left). Formed in 1968, the influential and innovative band dominated album sales and concert tours around the world with a pounding heavy metal sound — mixed with lighter folk and blues fare — creating iconic rock songs such Stairway to Heaven.
1991: American journalist Terry Anderson is freed by Hezbollah militants in Lebanon after six and a half years in captivity. Anderson, an AP correspondent, was one of 92 foreign citizens kidnapped during the country’s bitter war that raged from 1975 to 1990. Anderson later sued the government of Iran for sponsoring his captors.
DECEMBER 3, 1984: An explosion at a Union Carbide plant in Bhopal, India, releases toxic pesticide fumes that kill at least 2,000 people and injure an estimated 200,000, some seriously. Cold weather kept the escaping gas cloud near the ground as it swept over nearby neighborhoods and caused a panicked stampede at the local train station.
1979: Eleven people are killed at Cincinnati’s Riverfront Coliseum in a stampede of fans at the opening of a concert by the British rock group The Who. Bearing tickets sold under a “festival seating” format, some 8,000 fans surged into the entrance and smashed glass doors in a rush to grab prime seats. In the aftermath of the tragedy, the city banned festival seating.
1954: The U.S. Senate votes to condemn Wisconsin Senator Joseph McCarthy over his controversial campaign against suspected Communist influence in government and civil society. McCarthy had tapped into anti-Communist anxieties by bullying and threatening numerous defendants in public hearings, but the range of his accusations ultimately became his undoing.
1859: Radical abolitionist John Brown is executed after being convicted of treason and insurrection for leading the attack on Harpers Ferry. Brown had sought to incite a slave rebellion by seizing weapons from the federal arsenal, but was beaten back by local militias and later federal troops led by Robert E. Lee. His death galvanized the anti-slavery movement in the north.
1823: President James Monroe sets out a new foreign policy initiative to resist the expansion of European influence in Western hemisphere affairs while remaining neutral in future European conflicts. Later dubbed the “Monroe Doctrine,” the policy was developed by secretary of state John Quincy Adams to counter any attempt to reestablish Spanish colonial rule in the region.
1804: Napoleon Bonaparte is crowed Napoleon I, the first French ruler to hold the title of emperor in more than a thousand years. The young general had waged successful campaigns against several European powers, an in 1802 established the Napoleonic Code of laws at home. But his fortunes began to wane after a disastrous invasion of Russia in 1812.
1955: Rosa Parks refuses to give up her seat to a white rider on a Montgomery, Ala., bus, an act that would become a pivotal moment in the nascent civil rights movement. A boycott of the city’s bus system was organized by local ministers (including Martin Luther King Jr.) that would last a year, culminating in a Supreme Court ruling striking down the city’s bus segregation laws.
1963: The British Invasion begins as The Beatles release the single “I Want to Hold Your Hand” to American music fans. Already a major hit in Britain, the song quickly climbs to the top of the Billboard Hot 100 sales chart, reigning for seven weeks until being knocked off by another Beatles song, “She Loves You.” The group makes their first trip to the U.S. in February 1964.
1862: President Abraham Lincoln delivers his State of the Union speech to Congress, the first since issuing the Emancipation Proclamation that freed slaves in the rebellious states. Casting the conflict as a war against slavery had not been universally supported, and Lincoln pressed his case, saying: “We shall nobly save, or meanly lose, the last, best hope of Earth.”
1824: Congress meets for the first time to decide the outcome of a presidential election after neither John Quincy Adams (pictured) or Andrew Jackson win a majority in the electoral college. While Jackson led with 99 votes to Adams’s 84, House speaker Henry Clay — himself a candidate — convinced fellow lawmakers to back Adams, and for his effort was appointed secretary of state.
Recreating the Battle of the Bulge
Dec. 17, 2014
As the world marks the 70th anniversary of the Battle of the Bulge, historical re-enactors gathered in Belgium recently to stage an amazing display of the tanks and troops that fought and died in the pivotal WWII campaign. Here’s a look.
Hundreds of American and Belgian military re-enactors gathered in the Ardennes region of Belgium where the WWII battle took place to stage this year’s commemoration. The event included period uniforms, equipment, and restored military vehicles on both sides. Pictured, reenactors portray German infantry.
THE COLD WAR: The Battle of the Bulge was Nazi Germany’s last offensive campaign of the war, a surprise thrust into the Ardennes Forest region on December 16, 1944, to try and seize the initiative on the western front.
The Battle of the Bulge was the largest and bloodiest fight for the U.S. Army in WWII, a six-week slog in a brutally cold winter that involved more than 600,000 American troops. Initially overwhelmed by nearly a quarter million attacking troops, Allied forces regrouped to stop the German assault.
The battle was marked by many instances of dogged determination by American soldiers, most famously at the siege of Bastogne, where the 101st Airborne held out against a much larger encircling German force for more than a week before being relieved by General George Patton’s Third Army.
More than 100,000 soldiers were killed or injured on both sides of the fighting, including some 19,000 Americans. But the German campaign had been repulsed, and soon the final assault on Germany itself would begin.
RELIVING HISTORY: American Army re-enactors take to the field of battle in Belgium.
A restored M36 Jackson tank destroyer, dubbed “Tiger Tamer,” took part in this year's mock battles representing American armor that took part in the WWII battle.
"Tiger Tamer" fires a round at enemy forces.
Modern-day G.I. Joes in action in the Ardennes.
Re-enactors portraying the attacking German Army suited up with a variety of uniforms and equipment.
Germany Army re-enactors took the field alongside a Panther tank.
A German half-track vehicle also saw action.
REAR ECHELON: Re-enactors take a break from the snowy battle scenes.
Battle of the Bulge
Dec. 16, 2014
This month marks the 70th anniversary of the “Battle of the Bulge,” a major German thrust into Allied lines in the bitter winter of 1944 that would prove to be their last offensive campaign of the war. Here’s a look back.
The Battle of the Bulge was the largest single battle fought by the United States in WWII, involving more than 600,000 troops in a crucial two-month fight. Pictured, Army troops in the snow near Armonines, Belgium. (Photo: US Army)
The battle would be remembered for such events as the determined stand by the 101st Airborne Division at Bastogne and General George S. Patton’s brilliant command of the U.S. Third Army. Pictured, Army infantry near Bastogne, Belgium. (US Army)
When it was over on January 25, 1945, some 19,000 American troops had been killed and another 89,000 injured. But the German Army had been broken, severely depleted of armor and reserves, and the Luftwaffe shattered. (National Archives)
ORDER OF BATTLE: Six months after the massive landings at D-Day, Allied forces had consolidated their front and driven across France, pushing the German Army back. But by autumn the momentum of the fight had slowed. (Getty Images)
On December 16, 1944, eight German infantry divisions and five armored divisions comprising more than 200,000 troops struck Allied forces across an 85-mile front in the Ardennes region of Belgium and Luxembourg. (German Federal Archives)
The German plan was to drive towards Antwerp and the English Channel and split the Allied invasion force in two, then use the strengthened position to sue for peace. (German Federal Archives)
The German offensive caught the Allies almost completely off guard. Moving swiftly into weakly defended sectors and with superior Allied air forces grounded by bad weather, by Christmas the German forces had pushed some 50 miles into the Allied lines. Pictured, German troops in the Ardennes. (German Federal Archives)
The overall assault was known as Operation Watch on the Rhine by German forces, and the Ardennes Counteroffensive by the Allies; the name “Battle of the Bulge” was coined by war correspondents to describe the bending of the front line as the Germans advanced. Pictured, Seventh Armored Division tanks in the snow near St. Vith, Belgium.
The speed of the initial German assault trapped some frontline units, resulting in numerous troops being captured. Pictured, American POWs. (National Archives)
Though they made significant advances in the operations’ opening weeks, American forces put up fierce resistance at Elsenborn Ridge, St. Vith, and at Bastogne, both of which slowed the attack enough for the Allies to regroup. Pictured, German troops on the move. (Getty Images)
Both sides quickly threw reinforcements into the critical fight, with German forces eventually numbering nearly 30 divisions and Allied forces numbering 610,000 American and 55,000 British troops, more than 1,600 tanks, and some 6,000 aircraft. Pictured, an M36 Jackson tank destroyer moves along an icy road in the Ardennes Forest. (Getty)
The 101st Airborne found itself completely surrounded by fast-moving German forces at a critical junction near Bastogne and put up a legendary defense against the much larger German force from December 20-27. (US Army Center for Military History)
When the German commander demanded that the American forces at Bastogne surrender or be annihilated, General Anthony McCauliffe issued the famous reply: “Nuts!” Pictured, General McCauliffe (left) and Lieutenant Colonel Harry Kinnard at Bastogne. (War Department)
As the German offensive wore on, the winter weather that had aided them at the beginning began to hamper the advance, as tanks and troops bogged down in the snow and reinforcements and vital supplies slowed. And when the weather cleared, Allied airpower re-exerted itself to devastating effect. (National Archives)
General George S. Patton succeeded in shifting his Third Army forces from their fight at Lorraine in France towards Bastogne to relieve the 101st Airborne and consolidate the Allied lines. It would prove a crucial turning point in the battle. (Library of Congress)
The German advance reached its farthest point on December 26, just short of the Meuse River, and on January 3 the U.S. First Army began a major counteroffensive that began to push the German forces back. (Getty Images)
The German Army began to retreat on January 8, and by January 25 the major operations of the battle had ceased. With German forces beaten back, the Allied advance geared up for the final assault on Germany itself. Pictured, German POWs in Bastogne. (AP)
ON THE FRONTLINES: The Battle of the Bulge was fought under unimaginable hardship in the dense Ardennes Forest and in the midst of a bitterly cold winter. Here’s a look at more images from the fighting. (Getty)
Americans soldiers man a trench built along a hedgerow in the northern Ardennes Forest. (Getty)
A G.I. holds spent artillery shells. (Getty)
American soldiers run for cover in an unidentified village. (Getty)
An 82nd Airborne Division soldier braves enemy fire on Christmas Eve near Bra, Belgium. (AP)
Soldiers with First Battalion, 157th Regiment, 45th Division man a machine-gun position near Bastogne. (Signal Corps)
Soldiers with the 101st Engineers near Wiltz, Luxembourg. (USACMH)
28th Infantry Division troops in Bastogne. (Army Signal Corps)
Troops with the Fifth Armored Regiment with their M4 Sherman tank at a position near Eupen, Belgium. (USACMH)
An M36 Jackson tank destroyer with Battery C, 703rd Tank Destroyer Battalion, 82nd Airborne Division, on the move near Werbomont, Belgium. (USACMH)
An M36 Jackson tank destroyer camouflaged in white in action near Dudelange, Luxembourg. (Signal Corps)
Soldiers with the Third Battalion, 16th Infantry Regiment, First Division ride an M4 Sherman tank at Schopen, Belgium. (US Army)
Winter snow covers a fully equipped 30th Infantry Divison jeep in Belgium. (US Army)
An armored jeep with the 82nd Airborne in the Ardennes Forest of Belgium. (National Archives)
Soldiers with the Third Battalon, 504th Parachute Regiment, 82nd Airborne division march behind a tank near Herresbach. (Getty)
Soldiers wear winter camouflage on patrol. (USACMH)
A pile of artillery shells covered in snow at a gun position on the Elsenborn Ridge. (USACMH)
Soldiers with the Seventh Armored Division man an M5 anti-tank gun near Vielsalm, Belgium. (USACMH)
101st Airborne soldiers walk past fallen comrades amid the ruins of Bastogne on Christmas Day, 1944. (Signal Corps)
C-47 transport plans ferry supplies to front lines near Bastogne, January 1945. (AP)
C-47 transport plans ferry supplies into Bastogne. (Signal Corps)
A field ambulance and crew amid the shattered Belgian city of Foy. (USACMH)
American troops move through a pastural landscape in Belgium. (Getty)
Soldiers with the 101st Airborne Division man a forward post near Bastogne just before Christmas. (USACMH)
Troops with the 630th Tank Destroyer Battalion dig in on front lines near Bastogne. (USACMH)
Troops and vehicles with the 372nd Field Artillery Battery on the move in Wirtzfeld. (USACMH)
A tank crew deals with a broken tread in La Gleize, Belgium. (Getty)
First Battalion, 26th Infantry Regiment soldiers pass a railway arch destroyed by retreating German forces at Bütgenbach, Belgium. (USACMH)
Weary faces of German POWs. (Getty)
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