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The Brownsville Incident

Racial tensions are running high in Brownsville, Texas. Recently, soldiers of the 25th Infantry were stationed at Fort Brown. Brownsville has separate-but-equal laws, so the black soldiers are allowed only in certain establishments, and they are to defer to all white people. IT'S THE LAW! The Supreme Court says so. Then the bartender is shot dead. With no firm suspects, spent cartridges are presented by the citizens as "proof" that the soldiers did it. The Army officers are white and they attest that the soldiers were in their barracks at the time of the murder. With these facts in hand, President Theodore "TR" Roosevelt dishonorably discharges 167 black soldiers for their "conspiracy of silence." No trial. No appeal. No white people are discharged. (I know what you are thinking. I wish I knew what the President was thinking.) In the midst of the controversy, Roosevelt attends the Gridiron Dinner. As he is sipping his turtle soup, he browses through the commemorative booklet of comical cartoon portraits. Suddenly, he realizes that there is a racist remark included. He takes it's inclusion in the booklet as a criticism of his Brownsville decision. (I won't repeat the remark here, but the chance of a fight breaking out in the modern day would be middle-to-low. In 1907, the probability approaches certainty.) Roosevelt leaps to his feet, and the dinner stops right in the middle of the shad. (That's a fish.) TR takes half an hour criticizing the people who have opposed his actions. It gets personal. The turtle soup congeals. No one moves. The Senate conducts an investigation of the Brownsville Incident and will find that the President acted appropriately. TR softens a little and offers to reinstate those who can prove they were not involved in the cover-up. (Yes. I know. You cannot prove a negative.) The case will be revisited and the soldiers exonerated in 1972. Meanwhile, TR calls a halt to all Japanese immigration. [1] [2]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
I am reminded of the black college professor who came home late from a conference. He didn't have his key. He broke into his own house, and apparently, someone called the cops. The police showed up and asked for some identification... while he was in his own home. OK. He was upset. I understand. My son often gets stopped by the cops for "jogging while not white." He has a Phd. Getting hassled for being the wrong color pisses him off. We have to work this out somehow, but not at the Federal level. President Obama said, "The police acted stupidly." Maybe they did. Maybe they didn't. BUT HOW WOULD HE KNOW? He assumed. The President's assumption resulted in the cops being tried in the media and found guilty. Eventually the President called a "Beer Summit" so that the story could have a happy ending. That solved the President's media problem, but we cannot solve the problem that comes from making the wrong assumption because making assumptions protects us most of the time. If I see a man running at me, I can assume he is a jogger or a mugger. If I assume that he is a mugger and I run away, I am safe even if he is not a mugger. However, if I assume he is a jogger, and I do not run away, I am not as safe because he might be a mugger. What is the answer? Jog with a policeman. [3] [4] [5]

Marconi Opens for Business

Marconi is credited with the invention of the wireless telegraph and radio in general although his transmissions were not continuous wave transmissions as one would expect from AM and FM radio waves. In other words, he was not set for sound. Certainly he has tied together the major elements of a wireless telegraph and this year he is open for business. He has built two large transmitters on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean. No more wires along the sea bottom. Along with transmitting messages back and forth, he also provides a news service for ships. He provides the equipment and operator who takes down the information on shipboard. Then the news is included in the ship newspaper for their passengers. Marconi is also peddling his wireless as a safety device. When ships are in trouble, they can send an S-O-S. This new emergency signal been adopted recently and will remain the universal distress signal until 1999 when it will be replaced by the Global Maritime Distress and Safety System. Yeah. I have no idea either. I'm sticking with SOS. [6] [7]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
As an interesting side note, Marconi was a slow-and-steady-wins-the-race kind of guy. As a consequence, he didn't win many races. He stuck with old systems that were more reliable when better systems were being developed by others. He did save some ships with his wireless telegraph and as a consequence he was offered a free ride on the Titanic! What a treat! Unfortunately, he took another ship because he needed to get some work done and he liked the stenographer on the other ship. He missed out on that adventure, but the wireless allowed many passengers to be rescued because the wireless allowed near-by ships to be notified after the Titanic hit that iceberg. [8]

Notable 'Pop-Culture' Births

  • Cesar Romero (Will play "The Joker" in the 1960s Batman TV series.) [9]
  • Burgess Meredith (Will play "The Penguin" in the 1960s Batman TV series, and "Mick," the trainer in the movie "Rocky".) [10]
  • Fay Wray (Will scream all the way through the 1933 movie, "King Kong".) [11]
  • Orville Redenbacher (Will sell popcorn out of the back of his car at first.) [12]
  • Robert A. Heinlein (Sci-Fi author of "Star Ship Troopers", "Stranger in a Strange Land" and many others.) [13] [14]
  • Cab Calloway (Early bandleader, but best known as the musical mentor to the Blues Brothers in the movie.) [15]
  • Rosalind Russell (An amazing actress, but I loved her as Mother Superior of a Catholic all-girls school in "The Trouble with Angels".) [20]
  • Katharine Hepburn (Another amazing actress in films like "The African Queen" and "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner?") [21]
  • Ray Milland (An amazing actor, but I remember him best in the cult classic "The Man with the X-Ray Eyes") [22]
  • John Wayne (The action-film actor... NOT the airport, NOT the serial killer, and DEFINITELY NOT the guy who had his manhood chopped off by Lorena Bobbitt.) [23] [24]

This Year in Wikipedia

Year 1907, Wikipedia.

See Also


  1. Morris, Edmund. Theodore Rex. Random House. ISBN 0394555090. “The noise subsided to a buzz that continued throughout Roosevelt's rebuttal. It muted what was, to attentive listeners, an exquisitely lethal moment, when he suggested that Foraker's defense of the Brownsville rioters was consistent with the Senator's enthusiastic backing, some years before, of a convicted double murderer for United States Marshal.” 
  2. TR Center - The Brownsville Incident. theodorerooseveltcenter.org (2016). Retrieved on 30 November 2016. “he Brownsville Incident (1906) occurred in Brownsville, a town in south Texas, where, on August 13, 1906, a race-related fracas occurred that resulted in the wounding of one white civilian and the death of another. White townspeople blamed the African-American soldiers of the 25th Infantry recently stationed at nearby Fort Brown. President Theodore Roosevelt discharged without honor the entire regiment of 167 men, despite the fact that all the soldiers asserted their innocence. Roosevelt did not expel the white officers, who attested that the soldiers had been in their barracks at the time of the melee in town. No military trial was ever held. A Texas court cleared the soldiers of wrongdoing. Roosevelt nevertheless sided with the white citizens of Brownsville who swore the soldiers were guilty. He sent investigators to assess the events of August 13, but his mind was already made up. The report, dated February 7, 1909, reinforced the stories of the civilians and found the regiment to be at fault.”
  3. 'Disgraceful': Cops Angry After Obama Slams Arrest of Black Scholar - Fox News (2009). Retrieved on 30 November 2016. “He was charged with disorderly conduct after police said he yelled at the white officer, accused him of racial bias and refused to calm down after Crowley demanded Gates show him identification to prove he lived in the home. The charge was dropped Tuesday, but Gates has demanded an apology, calling his arrest a case of racial profiling.”
  4. Henry Louis Gates arrest controversy - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 30 November 2016. “On July 16, 2009, Harvard University professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr., was arrested at his Cambridge, Massachusetts home by local police officer Sgt. James Crowley, who was responding to a 9-1-1 caller's report of men breaking and entering the residence. The arrest initiated a series of events that unfolded under the spotlight of the international news media.”
  5. Obama: It's not a 'beer summit' - ABC News. abcnews.go.com (2016). Retrieved on 30 November 2016. “President Obama played down his meeting Thursday with an African-American professor and the white police officer who arrested him, telling reporters he has been surprised by the hype surrounding the event. 'It's not a summit,' Obama said of his impending meeting with Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates and Cambridge, Mass., police Sgt. James Crowley. The news media dubbed the early-evening tête-à-tête a 'beer summit' because the men gathered for a chat over beers.”
  6. SOS - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 30 November 2016. “OS is the International Morse code distress signal (· · · – – – · · ·). This distress signal was first adopted by the German government in radio regulations effective April 1, 1905, and became the worldwide standard under the second International Radiotelegraphic Convention, which was signed on November 3, 1906, and became effective on July 1, 1908. SOS remained the maritime radio distress signal until 1999, when it was replaced by the Global Maritime Distress and Safety System.[1] SOS is still recognized as a visual distress signal.”
  7. Global Maritime Distress and Safety System - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 30 November 2016. “GMDSS consists of several systems, some of which are new, but many of which have been in operation for many years. The system is intended to perform the following functions: alerting (including position determination of the unit in distress), search and rescue coordination, locating (homing), maritime safety information broadcasts, general communications, and bridge-to-bridge communications. Specific radio carriage requirements depend upon the ship's area of operation, rather than its tonnage. The system also provides redundant means of distress alerting, and emergency sources of power.”
  8. Guglielmo Marconi - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 30 November 2016. “RMS Titanic radio operators Jack Phillips and Harold Bride were not employed by the White Star Line but by the Marconi International Marine Communication Company. After the sinking of the ocean liner on 15 April 1912, survivors were rescued by the RMS Carpathia of the Cunard Line.[37] Also employed by the Marconi Company was David Sarnoff, who later headed RCA.”
  9. Cesar Romero - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 30 November 2016. “His wide range of screen roles included Latin lovers, historical figures in costume dramas, characters in light domestic comedies, and as the Joker in the Batman television series, which was included in TV Guide's 2013 list of The 60 Nastiest Villains of All Time.”
  10. Burgess Meredith - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 30 November 2016. “Meredith was known later in his career for his appearances on The Twilight Zone, portraying arch-villain The Penguin on the 1960s TV series Batman, and boxing trainer Mickey Goldmill in the Rocky film series.”
  11. Fay Wray - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 30 November 2016. “Vina Fay Wray (September 15, 1907 – August 8, 2004) was a Canadian/American actress most noted for playing the female lead in King Kong. Through an acting career that spanned 57 years, Wray attained international renown as an actress in horror movie roles. She was one of the first 'scream queens'.”
  12. Orville Redenbacher - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 30 November 2016. “By the mid 1970s, Redenbacher and Bowman had captured a third of the unpopped popcorn market.[4] In 1976, Redenbacher sold the company to Hunt-Wesson Foods, a division of Norton Simon, Inc. In 1983, Esmark purchased Norton Simon, and in 1984 Beatrice Foods acquired Esmark. In 1985, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts acquired Beatrice with the goal of selling off businesses. In 1990, they sold the popcorn business and other old Hunt-Wesson businesses to agribusiness giant ConAgra.”
  13. Robert A. Heinlein - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 30 November 2016. “Heinlein was named the first Science Fiction Writers Grand Master in 1974.[8] He won Hugo Awards for four of his novels; in addition, fifty years after publication, five of his works were awarded 'Retro Hugos'—awards given retrospectively for works that were published before the Hugo Awards came into existence.[9] In his fiction, Heinlein coined terms that have become part of the English language, including 'grok', 'waldo', and 'speculative fiction', as well as popularizing existing terms like 'TANSTAAFL', 'pay it forward', and 'space marine'. He also anticipated mechanical Computer Aided Design with 'Drafting Dan' and described a modern version of a waterbed in his novel The Door into Summer,[10] though he never patented or built one. In the first chapter of the novel Space Cadet he anticipated the cell-phone, 35 years before Motorola invented the technology.[11] Several of Heinlein's works have been adapted for film and television.”
  14. Alex Shrugged notes: The "Big Three" early science fiction authors are: Robert A. Heinlein, Isaac Asimov and Arthur C. Clark. I offer honorable mention to A.E. Van Vogt and Clifford D. Simak.
  15. Cab Calloway - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 30 November 2016. “Renewed interest in Calloway occurred in 1980 when he appeared in the hit film The Blues Brothers, performing 'Minnie the Moocher.' He also sang 'The Jumpin' Jive' with the Two-Headed Monster on the children's TV series Sesame Street.”
  16. Gene Autry - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 30 November 2016. “In addition to his signature song, 'Back in the Saddle Again', Autry is still remembered for his Christmas holiday songs, 'Here Comes Santa Claus', which he wrote, 'Frosty the Snowman', and his biggest hit, 'Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer'.”
  17. Gene Autry Back In The Saddle Again - YouTube (2016). Retrieved on 30 November 2016.
  18. Gene Autry HERE COMES SANTA CLAUS - YouTube (2016). Retrieved on 30 November 2016.
  19. Gene Autry Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer - YouTube (2016). Retrieved on 30 November 2016.
  20. The Trouble with Angels (film) - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 30 November 2016. “Rosalind Russell plays the Mother Superior, who spends the movie at odds with Mary Clancy (Hayley Mills), a rebellious teenager, and her friend Rachel Devry (June Harding). The episodic storyline follows the young women through their sophomore, junior and senior high-school years as they pull pranks on the sisters and repeatedly get in trouble. After spending much of the film resenting the authority of the Mother Superior, Mary receives the 'call' senior year and, after graduation, remains at the school in the novitiate of the order.”
  21. Katharine Hepburn - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 30 November 2016. “In 1951, Hepburn filmed The African Queen, her first movie in Technicolor. She played Rose Sayer, a prim spinster missionary living in German East Africa at the outbreak of World War I. Costarring Humphrey Bogart, The African Queen was shot mostly on location in the Belgian Congo, an opportunity Hepburn embraced.[143] It proved a difficult experience, however, and Hepburn became ill with dysentery during filming.”
  22. Ray Milland - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 30 November 2016. “He made few films in the early 1960s but of those he appeared in, three have become cult classics. He appeared in two Roger Corman pictures; the first was The Premature Burial (1962) – the third of Corman's 'Poe Cycle'. He followed this as Dr. Xavier in X: The Man with the X-Ray Eyes (1963). The third of these cult favourites was his self-directed, apocalyptic sci-fi drama Panic in Year Zero!. He returned as a film character actor in the late '60s and the '70s, notably in the cult classic Daughter of the Mind (1969), in which he was reunited with Gene Tierney, and in the role of Oliver Barrett III, in both Love Story (1970) and its sequel Oliver's Story (1978).”
  23. John and Lorena Bobbitt - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 30 November 2016. “John Wayne Bobbitt (born March 23, 1967 in Buffalo, New York) and Lorena Bobbitt (née Gallo, born October 31, 1970 in Bucay, Ecuador) are a former American couple, married on June 18, 1989, whose relationship made world-wide headlines in 1993 when Lorena cut off her husband's penis with a knife while he was asleep in bed. The penis was subsequently surgically reattached.”
  24. John Wayne Gacy - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 30 November 2016. “John Wayne Gacy, Jr. (March 17, 1942 – May 10, 1994), also known as the Killer Clown, was an American serial killer and rapist. He sexually assaulted and murdered at least 33 teenage boys and young men between 1972 and 1978 in Cook County, Illinois.”

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