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Showing posts from October, 2019

Sam Byck and the Assassination of Richard Nixon

“Those whom the gods wish to destroy first make mad.  Am I mad? I doubt it.”—Samuel J. Byck, January 14, 1974

Of the 45 presidents of the United States, 19 of them have had assassination attempts made on them.  Only four of these assassination attempts have been successful, and all four were accomplished with guns.  Other ways to kill presidents have included a hand grenade, thrown at President George W. Bush in the Republic of Georgia in 2005; an attempt by Argentine anarchists to blow up a train carrying President-Elect Hoover in Argentina in 1928; a letter-bomb sent to President Truman in 1948; and poisons like anthrax mailed to Presidents George W. Bush, Barack Obama, and Donald Trump.  Most every other assassination attempt was made with a gun.
But there was one assassination attempt that was different, that was a more elaborate plot.  This was the plot to kill President Richard Nixon on February 22, 1974.It involved a gun, but the gun was not intended to be fired at the president…

New York City: The 51st State?

Norman Mailer (left) and Jimmy Breslin (right): would-be architects of the 51st state.
American history is filled with failed, idealistic campaigns for office. It is also filled with failed, idealistic attempts to form new states. Most states, at least once in their histories, have seen proposals to split the states into two or more pieces. Texas and California have been the subjects of such proposals many times—in fact, a plan to split California into six states was advanced in 2014, but failed when proponents were caught submitting fraudulent petitions to inflate support for the measure. An attempt to split California into three states was shot down by the California Supreme Court in 2018. Splitting states sometimes works out. Kentucky and West Virginia were split from Virginia; Tennessee was split from North Carolina; Alabama was split from Georgia; and Maine was split from Massachusetts. The most recent partitioning of a state, however, was the creation of West Virginia, in …

Where did Eve get that apple?

Quick question: without opening your Bible or Koran, answer this: what kind of apple was it that Eve gave to Adam in the Garden of Eden?  Was it a Honeycrisp?A Fuji?A Granny Smith?Trick question: we don’t know what kind of apple appeared in the story because we don’t even know what the fruit in the story was supposed to be.  We’ve long heard the story of the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge, and if you’re a Westerner, chances are what springs to mind is Eve giving Adam an apple.But there’s no version of the Bible or the Koran—both of which contain this story—that names the fruit.  So why do we make this association?
Both Genesis 2:17 and Koran 2:35 refer to the Tree of Knowledge, but in neither version is the kind of tree even hinted at by the author.  It could well have been an apple, but it could just as easily have been something else.Apple cultivation predates the writing of Genesis, which was written in the 6th or 5th century BCE.  (The Koran, of course, was written about a thousand…