June 16, 1953: Ethel Rosenberg writes to President Eisenhower

Dear Mr. President,

At various intervals during the two long and bitter years I have spent in the Death House at Sing Sing, I have had the impulse to address myself to the President of the United States. Always, in the end, a certain innate shyness, an embarrassment almost, comparable to that which the ordinary person feels in the presence of the great and the famous, prevailed upon me not to do so…

RosenbergMy own land is a part of me, I should be homesick for her anywhere else in the world. And Dwight D. Eisenhower was “Liberator” to millions before he was ever “President.” It does not seem reasonable to me, then, that a letter concerning itself with condemned wife as well as condemned husband, should not merit this particular President’s sober attention…

It is chiefly the death sentence I would entreat you to ponder. I would entreat you to ask yourself whether that sentence does not serve the ends of “force and violence” rather than an enlightened justice. Even granting the assumption that the convictions had been properly procured (and there now exists incontrovertible evidence to the contrary), the steadfast denial of guilt, extending over a protracted period of solitary confinement and enforced separation from our loved ones, makes of the death penalty an act of vengeance.

As Commander-in-Chief of the European theatre, you had ample opportunity to witness the wonton and hideous tortures that such a policy of vengeance had wreaked upon vast multitudes of guiltless victims. Today, while these ghastly mass butchers, these obscene racists, are graciously receiving the benefits of mercy and in many instances being reinstated in public office, the great democratic United States is proposing the savage destruction of a small unoffending Jewish family, whose guilt is seriously doubted throughout the length and breadth of the civilized world!

As you have recently so wisely declared, no nation can chance “going it alone.” That, Mr. President, is truly the voice of the sanity and of the leadership so sorely needed in these perilous times. Surely you must recognize then, that the ensuing damage to the good name of our country, in its struggle to lead the world toward a more equitable and righteous way of life, should not be underestimated.

Respectfully yours,
(Mrs.) Ethel Rosenberg #110-510
Women’s Wing – C C

(Ed note: Three days later Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were executed.)

June 15,1836: Eliza Spalding prepares to cross the Rocky Mountains

June 15th Fort Wm. We are camped near the Fort, and shall probably remain here several days, as the Co. are to leave their wagons at this post and make arrangements to transport their goods the remainder of the journey, on mules. It is very pleasant to fix my eyes, once more, upon a few buildings, several weeks have passed, since we have seen a building.

June 19th 1836 Fort Wm. Today is the Sabbath, and the first we have spent in quietness and rest, since the 8th of May. bierstadt_landers_peakThis morning an elderly man (an Englishman) came to our camp, wishing to obtain a testament. Said he had seen but one, for four years-had once indulged a hope that he was a Christian; but for several years had not enjoyed religious privileges – had been associated with ungodly men – neglected religious duties, and now feared he had no interest in the Saviour. I gave him a bible, which he received with great joy and thankfulness.

Mr. S. in compliance with the request of the chief men of this expedition, met with the people under the shade of a few trees near our camp for religious service. A large assembly met, and were very attentive while Mr. S. made a few remarks upon the parable of the prodigal son.

Ft.Wm. June 21st This day we are to leave this post, and have no resting place in view till we reach Rendezvoux 400 miles distant. We are now 2,800 miles from my dear parents dwelling, expecting in a few days to commence ascending the Rocky Mts. Only He who knows all things, knows whether this debilitated frame will survive the undertaking. His will, not mine, be done.

June 25 On the 22nd we left the Platte. Our route since that time has been through a rugged barren region. Today we came to the Platte but do not find those beautiful plains we found before we came into the region of the Mts.

June 26 Sabbath noon. Camped on the Platte, and have the privilege of spending the remainder of this holy day in rest, but not in quiet, for the Co are busy in making preparation to cross on the morrow. They are under the necessity of constructing a boat, as the river is not fordable.

July 4th Crossed a ridge of land, today called the divide, which separates the waters that flow into the Atlantic from those that flow into the Pacific, and camped for the night on the head waters of the Colorado. A number of Nez Perce who have been waiting our arrival at the Rendezvoux several days, on learning we were near came out to meet us, and have camped with us tonight. They appear to be gratified to see us actually on our way to their country. Mr. Spalding Doct W. & Mr G. are to have a talk with the chiefs this evening.

July 6th Arrived at the Rendezvoux this evening. Were met by a large party of Nez Perces men women and children. The women were not satisfied, short of saluting Mrs. W and myself with a kiss. All appear happy to see us. If permitted to reach their country and locate among them, may our labors be blessed to their temporal and spiritual good.

June 12, 1987: Ronald Reagan Visits the Berlin Wall

“Behind me stands a wall that encircles the free sectors of this city, part of a vast system of barriers that divides the entire continent of Europe. From the Baltic South, those barriers cut across Germany in a gash of barbed wire, concrete, dog runs, and guard towers. Farther south, there may be no visible, no obvious wall. But there remain armed guards and checkpoints all the same — still a restriction on the right to travel, still an instrument to impose upon ordinary men and women the will of a totalitarian state.

Yet, it is here in Berlin where the wall emerges most clearly; here, cutting across your city, where the news photoUS President Ronald Reagan, commemoratin and the television screen have imprinted this brutal division of a continent upon the mind of the world.

Standing before the Brandenburg Gate, every man is a German separated from his fellow men.

Every man is a Berliner, forced to look upon a scar…
In the 1950s — In the 1950s Khrushchev predicted: “We will bury you.”

But in the West today, we see a free world that has achieved a level of prosperity and well-being unprecedented in all human history. In the Communist world, we see failure, technological backwardness, declining standards of health, even want of the most basic kind — too little food. Even today, the Soviet Union still cannot feed itself. After these four decades, then, there stands before the entire world one great and inescapable conclusion: Freedom leads to prosperity. Freedom replaces the ancient hatreds among the nations with comity and peace. Freedom is the victor.

And now — now the Soviets themselves may, in a limited way, be coming to understand the importance of freedom. We hear much from Moscow about a new policy of reform and openness. Some political prisoners have been released. Certain foreign news broadcasts are no longer being jammed. Some economic enterprises have been permitted to operate with greater freedom from state control.

Are these the beginnings of profound changes in the Soviet state? Or are they token gestures intended to raise false hopes in the West, or to strengthen the Soviet system without changing it? We welcome change and openness; for we believe that freedom and security go together, that the advance of human liberty — the advance of human liberty can only strengthen the cause of world peace.

There is one sign the Soviets can make that would be unmistakable, that would advance dramatically the cause of freedom and peace.

General Secretary Gorbachev, if you seek peace, if you seek prosperity for the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, if you seek liberalization: Come here to this gate.

Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate.

Mr. Gorbachev — Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!”

June 11, 1963: JFK Addresses the Nation on Civil Rights

This afternoon, following a series of threats and defiant statements, the presence of Alabama National Guardsmen was required on the University of Alabama to carry out the final and unequivocal order of the United States District Court of the Northern District of Alabama. That order called for the admission of two clearly qualified young Alabama residents who happened to have been born Negro…jfk rfk

I hope that every American, regardless of where he lives, will stop and examine his conscience about this and other related incidents.

This Nation was founded by men of many nations and backgrounds. It was founded on the principle that all men are created equal, and that the rights of every man are diminished when the rights of one man are threatened.

Today we are committed to a worldwide struggle to promote and protect the rights of all who wish to be free. And when Americans are sent to Viet-Nam or West Berlin, we do not ask for whites only. It ought to be possible, therefore, for American students of any color to attend any public institution they select without having to be backed up by troops…

It ought to be possible, in short, for every American to enjoy the privileges of being American without regard to his race or his color. In short, every American ought to have the right to be treated as he would wish to be treated, as one would wish his children to be treated. But this is not the case.

The Negro baby born in America today, regardless of the section of the Nation in which he is born, has about one-half as much chance of completing a high school as a white baby born in the same place on the same day, one-third as much chance of completing college, one-third as much chance of becoming a professional man, twice as much chance of becoming unemployed, about one-seventh as much chance of earning $10,000 a year, a life expectancy which is 7 years shorter, and the prospects of earning only half as much…

We are confronted primarily with a moral issue. It is as old as the scriptures and is as clear as the American Constitution…

One hundred years of delay have passed since President Lincoln freed the slaves, yet their heirs, their grandsons, are not fully free. They are not yet freed from the bonds of injustice. They are not yet freed from social and economic oppression. And this Nation, for all its hopes and all its boasts, will not be fully free until all its citizens are free.

We preach freedom around the world, and we mean it, and we cherish our freedom here at home, but are we to say to the world, and much more importantly, to each other that this is the land of the free except for the Negroes; that we have no second-class citizens except Negroes; that we have no class or caste system, no ghettoes, no master race except with respect to Negroes?

Now the time has come for this Nation to fulfill its promise. The events in Birmingham and elsewhere have so increased the cries for equality that no city or State or legislative body can prudently choose to ignore them.

The fires of frustration and discord are burning in every city, North and South, where legal remedies are not at hand. Redress is sought in the streets, in demonstrations, parades, and protests which create tensions and threaten violence and threaten lives.

We face, therefore, a moral crisis as a country and as a people. It cannot be met by repressive police action. It cannot be left to increased demonstrations in the streets. It cannot be quieted by token moves or talk. It is time to act in the Congress, in your State and local legislative body and, above all, in all of our daily lives.

It is not enough to pin the blame on others, to say this is a problem of one section of the country or another, or deplore the fact that we face. A great change is at hand, and our task, our obligation, is to make that revolution, that change, peaceful and constructive for all.

June 10, 1933: Bonnie and Clyde Crash and Burn

It was a hot June day and several members of the Pritchard family were sitting on their porch near Wellington, Texas when they heard a speeding car roaring up the highway. As they watched attentively, the Ford coupe blew past the detour for the bridge that had been washed out, and plunged off the river embankment into the ravine below.

bonnie-and-clyde-with-gunThe Pritchard men rushed to the car, just as a spark ignited the leaking fuel, and pulled two men and a badly burned woman (along with a small arsenal of firearms) out of the wreckage as they tried to douse the smoking car with river water.

The men were “skinned up a little,” but the girl was in bad shape. Jack Pritchard remembered hauling her from the car and into the house. “She was not a very big girl, but she was all limber and kind of hard to carry,” he said. “We was afraid she was dying, and they would not tell us who they were, but said, ‘We are as hot as we can be and can’t afford to have a doctor.’”

Alonzo Cartwright, Pritchard’s son-in-law, drove into Wellington to get a doctor while Mrs. Pritchard treated the young woman with bicarbonate of soda and bandages. They had no idea that their unexpected visitors were the infamous Bonnie Parker, Clyde Barrow and W.D. Jones, who were wanted for a series of killings and bank robberies.

“The Barrow brothers didn’t mean anything to me,” Sam Pritchard later told his wife. “All I knew was they were hurt and needed help, so we just naturally had to help them.”

Collingsworth County Sheriff George Corry and Police Chief Paul Hardy soon arrived at the Pritchard home. Bonnie Parker lay seemingly unconscious on a bed. When the officers entered the home, Clyde and W.D. burst from the bedroom and grabbed their guns. During the excitement, when Gladys Cartwright, holding a baby in one arm, reached over to latch a door, W.D. fired his shotgun and buckshot ripped through Mrs. Cartwright’s hand.

The panicking outlaws headed for the door, but before leaving, Clyde Barrow thumbed through a roll of bills and offered to pay “for all the trouble we’ve been to you.”

Sam Pritchard replied, “No, if a man can’t help another man, things are in pretty bad shape.”

The trio then shot out the tires on the family cars, handcuffed the sheriff and the police chief and loaded them into the back of the sheriff’s car with the badly burned Bonnie lying across their laps, and drove into Oklahoma.

There they met up with their gang-mates Buck and Blanche. Buck asked Clyde if he was going to kill the cops, but Clyde had grown fond of them from the kindness and comfort that they had shown toward Bonnie.

Buck pulled the cops from the car and tied them to a tree with barbed wire. Clyde got behind the wheel of Buck’s V8, loaded up the gang, and headed east to Fort Smith, Arkansas.

June 9, 1879: Mark Twain Announces his Candidacy

I have pretty much made up my mind to run for President. What the country wants is a candidate who cannot be injured by investigation of his past history, so that the enemies of the party will be unable to rake up anything against him that nobody ever heard of before. If you know the worst about a candidate, to begin with, every attempt to spring things on him will be checkmated.

Now I am going to enter the field with an open record. I am going to own up in advance to all the wickedness I have Mark_Twain_DLittdone, and if any Congressional committee is disposed to prowl around my biography in the hope of discovering any dark and deadly deed that I have secreted, why — let it prowl.

In the first place, I admit that I treed a rheumatic grandfather of mine in the winter of 1850. He was old and inexpert in climbing trees, but with the heartless brutality that is characteristic of me I ran him out of the front door in his nightshirt at the point of a shotgun, and caused him to bowl up a maple tree, where he remained all night, while I emptied shot into his legs. I did this because he snored. I will do it again if I ever have another grandfather. I am as inhuman now as I was in 1850.

I candidly acknowledge that I ran away at the battle of Gettysburg. My friends have tried to smooth over this fact by asserting that I did so for the purpose of imitating Washington, who went into the woods at Valley Forge for the purpose of saying his prayers. It was a miserable subterfuge. I struck out in a straight line for the Tropic of Cancer because I was scared. I wanted my country saved, but I preferred to have somebody else save it. I entertain that preference yet. If the bubble reputation can be obtained only at the cannon’s mouth, I am willing to go there for it, provided the cannon is empty. If it is loaded my immortal and inflexible purpose is to get over the fence and go home. My invariable practice in war has been to bring out of every fight two-thirds more men than when I went in. This seems to me to be Napoleonic in its grandeur.

My financial views are of the most decided character, but they are not likely, perhaps, to increase my popularity with the advocates of inflation. I do not insist upon the special supremacy of rag money or hard money. The great fundamental principle of my life is to take any kind I can get.

The rumor that I buried a dead aunt under my grapevine was correct. The vine needed fertilizing, my aunt had to be buried, and I dedicated her to this high purpose. Does that unfit me for the Presidency? The Constitution of our country does not say so. No other citizen was ever considered unworthy of this office because he enriched his grapevines with his dead relatives. Why should I be selected as the first victim of an absurd prejudice?

I admit also that I am not a friend of the poor man. I regard the poor man, in his present condition, as so much wasted raw material. Cut up and properly canned, he might be made useful to fatten the natives of the cannibal islands and to improve our export trade with that region. I shall recommend legislation upon the subject in my first message. My campaign cry will be: “Desiccate the poor workingman; stuff him into sausages.”

These are about the worst parts of my record. On them I come before the country. If my country don’t want me, I will go back again. But I recommend myself as a safe man — a man who starts from the basis of total depravity and proposes to be fiendish to the last.

June 8, 1925: Birth of Barbara Bush

“Never lose sight of the fact that the most important yardstick of your success will be how you treat other people – your family, friends, and coworkers, and even strangers you meet along the way.”

“At the end of your life, you will never regret not having passed one more test, not winning one more verdict or not Barbara Bushclosing one more deal. You will regret time not spent with a husband, a friend, a child, or a parent.”

“I married the first man I ever kissed. When I tell this to my children, they just about throw up.”

“People who worry about their hair all the time, frankly, are boring.”

“I’m not a competitive person, and I think women like me because they don’t think I’m competitive, just nice.”

“I don’t think that’s healthy for the country when anyone thinks their morals are better than anyone else’s.”

“I’m not going to jump out of airplanes or anything like someone else I know.”

“You know sit with your arm around a little kid and read. It not only teaches them to read but it keeps the family strong.”

“Everything I worry about would be better if more people could read, write and comprehend.”

“The personal things should be left out of platforms at conventions. You can argue yourself blue in the face, and you’re not going to change each other’s minds. It’s a waste of your time and my time.”

“Raising five boys is a handful, trust me.”

“Your success as a family… our success as a nation… depends not on what happens inside the White House, but on what happens inside your house. ”

“And who knows? Somewhere out there in this audience may even be someone who will one day follow my footsteps, and preside over the White House as the president’s spouse. I wish him well!”

June 5, 1944: General George C. Patton prepares the Third Army for D-Day

Men, all this stuff you hear about America not wanting to fight, wanting to stay out of the war, is a lot of bullshit. Americans love to fight. All real Americans love the sting and clash of battle. When you were kids, you all admired the pattonchampion marble shooter, the fastest runner, the big-league ball players and the toughest boxers. Americans love a winner and will not tolerate a loser. Americans play to win all the time. That’s why Americans have never lost and will never lose a war…

You are not all going to die. Only two percent of you right here today would be killed in a major battle. Every man is scared in his first action. If he says he’s not, he’s a goddamn liar. But the real hero is the man who fights even though he’s scared…

All through your army career you men have bitched about what you call ‘this chicken-shit drilling.’ That is all for a purpose—to ensure instant obedience to orders and to create constant alertness… I don’t give a fuck for a man who is not always on his toes. But the drilling has made veterans of all you men. You are ready! A man has to be alert all the time if he expects to keep on breathing. If not, some German son-of-a-bitch will sneak up behind him and beat him to death with a sock full of shit. There are four hundred neatly marked graves in Sicily, all because one man went to sleep on the job—but they are German graves, because we caught the bastard asleep before his officer did.

An army is a team. It lives, eats, sleeps, and fights as a team. This individual hero stuff is bullshit. The bilious bastards who write that stuff for the Saturday Evening Post don’t know any more about real battle than they do about fucking. And we have the best team—we have the finest food and equipment, the best spirit and the best men in the world. Why, by God, I actually pity these poor bastards we’re going up against.…

Sure, we all want to go home. We want to get this war over with. But the quickest way to get it over with is to get the bastards who started it. We want to get the hell over there and clean the goddamn thing up, and then get at those purple-pissing Japs. The quicker they are whipped, the quicker we go home. The shortest way home is through Berlin and Tokyo. So keep moving. And when we get to Berlin, I am personally going to shoot that paper-hanging son-of-a-bitch Hitler.….

I don’t want any messages saying ‘I’m holding my position.’ We’re not holding a goddamned thing. We’re advancing constantly and we’re not interested in holding anything except the enemy’s balls. We’re going to hold him by his balls and we’re going to kick him in the ass; twist his balls and kick the living shit out of him all the time… We’re going to go through the enemy like shit through a tinhorn.…

There’s one thing you men will be able to say when this war is over and you get back home. Thirty years from now when you’re sitting by your fireside with your grandson on your knee and he asks, ‘What did you do in the great World War Two?’ You won’t have to cough and say, ‘Well, your granddaddy shoveled shit in Louisiana.’ No sir, you can look him straight in the eye and say ‘Son, your granddaddy rode with the great Third Army and a son-of-a-goddamned-bitch named George Patton!’

June 4, 1912: Massachusetts becomes the first state to set a minimum wage

The state commission provided the rationale behind this new statute:

“There is a common and widespread but erroneous view that such legislation is an attempt to provide by government that low-paid workers shall receive more than they earn; that it runs counter to an economic law which, by some minimum wagemysterious but certain process, correlates earnings and wages.

There is no such law; in fact, in many industries the wages paid bear little or no relation to the value or even to the selling price of the workers’ output. Wages among the unorganized and lower grades of labor are mainly the residue of tradition and of slight competition. Labor may be worth more or less than its wage, whether measured by the employer’s total receipts from the industry or by the cost of producing and maintaining the human factors in the industry.

The proposition that underlies this interference with the contractual relations of employer and employee is that, on the broad scale and in the long run, earnings, as distinct from wages, cannot be less than the necessary cost of maintaining the worker alive and in health. No mechanical or labor-saving device used in industry can be worth less than the cost of its manufacture and maintenance. The normal human worker cannot earn less than a like cost.

But the wages actually paid do, in fact, often fall below this standard; this may result in excessive profits to the employer or in prices too low to the consumer. In either case the workers are underpaid; the industry is, in part, parasitic.

The purpose of this proposed legislation is not to compel the payment of wages in excess of actual earnings, but to check the clearly ascertained tendency of wages to become much less than actual earnings. It can have no tendency to compel any employer to pay any worker more than the fair value of that worker’s labor.”

June 3, 1888: “Casey at the Bat” published in the San Francisco Examiner

The outlook wasn’t brilliant for the Mudville Nine that day;
The score stood four to two, with but one inning more to play,
And then when Cooney died at first, and Barrows did the same,
A sickly silence fell upon the patrons of the game.
A straggling few got up to go in deep despair. The restCasey
Clung to that hope which springs eternal in the human breast;
They thought, if only Casey could get but a whack at that –
They’d put up even money, now, with Casey at the bat.
But Flynn preceded Casey, as did also Jimmy Blake,
And the former was a lulu and the latter was a fake
So upon that stricken multitude grim melancholy sat,
For there seemed but little chance of Casey’s getting to the bat.
But Flynn let drive a single, to the wonderment of all,
And Blake, the much despised, tore the cover off the ball;
And when the dust had lifted, and the men saw what had occurred,
There was Jimmy safe at second and Flynn a-hugging third.
Then from 5,000 throats and more there rose a lusty yell;
It rumbled through the valley, it rattled in the dell;
It knocked upon the mountain and recoiled upon the flat,
For Casey, mighty Casey, was advancing to the bat.
There was ease in Casey’s manner as he stepped into his place;
There was pride in Casey’s bearing and a smile on Casey’s face.
And when, responding to the cheers, he lightly doffed his hat,
No stranger in the crowd could doubt ’twas Casey at the bat.
Ten thousand eyes were on him as he rubbed his hands with dirt;
Five thousand tongues applauded when he wiped them on his shirt.
Then while the writhing pitcher ground the ball into his hip,
Defiance gleamed in Casey’s eye, a sneer curled Casey’s lip.
And now the leather-covered sphere came hurtling through the air,
And Casey stood a-watching it in haughty grandeur there.
Close by the sturdy batsman the ball unheeded sped-
“That ain’t my style,” said Casey. “Strike one,” the umpire said.
From the benches, black with people, there went up a muffled roar,
Like the beating of the storm-waves on a stern and distant shore.
“Kill him! Kill the umpire!” shouted someone on the stand;
And it’s likely they’d a-killed him had not Casey raised his hand.
With a smile of Christian charity great Casey’s visage shone;
He stilled the rising tumult; he bade the game go on;
He signaled to the pitcher, and once more the spheroid flew;
But Casey still ignored it, and the umpire said, “Strike two.”
“Fraud!” cried the maddened thousands, and echo answered fraud;
But one scornful look from Casey and the audience was awed.
They saw his face grow stern and cold, they saw his muscles strain,
And they knew that Casey wouldn’t let that ball go by again.
The sneer is gone from Casey’s lip, his teeth are clenched in hate;
He pounds with cruel violence his bat upon the plate.
And now the pitcher holds the ball, and now he lets it go,
And now the air is shattered by the force of Casey’s blow.
Oh, somewhere in this favored land the sun is shining bright;
The band is playing somewhere, and somewhere hearts are light,
And somewhere men are laughing, and somewhere children shout;
But there is no joy in Mudville — mighty Casey has struck out.

– by Ernest Lawrence Thayer

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