On This Date in History:
The telephone was invented by Alexander Graham Bell in 1876 when he spilled acid on his trousers and shouted, “Watson, Come Here! I want you.” Good thing for Al that Watson was able to hear him over the telephone. Bell may never have known that his phone worked and he may have had even greater problems with acid in his pants. President Rutherford B. Hayes had the first telephone installed in the White House in 1878 complete with a telephone switchboard. For some reason, no one ever thought that it might be a good idea to have a phone put in the president’s office. President Herbert Hoover apparently grew weary of having to go to the foyer outside of the Oval Office to use the phone. So, on this date in 1929, he had one installed in his office. Naturally, it didn’t work as Hoover grew incensed that his son was not able to get through to the Oval Office on an outside line. See, the stock market had not crashed yet and so Herb had plenty of time on his hands. I bet when the economy went south a year later he wished that he never had that phone put in.
Another world leader was pleased on this date, and he should not have been surprised. Eight
months after the Treaty of Versailles was signed and World War I was officially brought to an end. In pragmatic terms, the war was pretty much a stalemate. But, with the Germans and Turks pretty much spent militarily and economically and America having joined up with the Allies, it was impossible for Germany and its allies to continue. Not through military defeat, but instead due to a position of weakness, the Germans were forced to sign an agreement that was grossly tilted against them. This peace treaty ultimately sowed the seeds for World War II. Part of the deal was for Germany to leave it’s extreme western portion bordering France, the Rhineland, to be absent of military presence. On March 7, 1936 German Chancellor Adolph Hitler unilaterally cancelled the Treaty of Versailles and remilitarized the Rhineland. The world was outraged…but did nothing. To show the world that he had legitimate support from all of Germany, Hitler called for an election for a referendum on the remilitarization of the region. On March 17, Hitler made a speech in which he said that he wished for peace to continue with France. On this date in 1936, it was a fine spring day in Germany and an excellent time for an election. Joseph Goebbels announced that the Nazis received 99% of the vote! What a surprise! Hey, maybe it was legit.
I recall once in Louisville there was an election between political rivals, Charles D. Jacob and John G. Baxter. That in itself was not unusual because the two squared off for the Louisville Mayor’s office several times. Baxter was Mayor on two different occasions and I think Jacob got elected 5 times. Anyway, Baxter was known for his political hijinx and had made a lot of enemies. Once there was an assassination attempt made against him. Perhaps the would-be assassin was reflecting public sentiment because Baxter went and lost an election to Jacob by getting only 100 out of 15,000 votes cast. So, a near unanimous route is possible. In this case, the Germans were very angry with the Treaty of Versailles and according to the Berlin Diary of correspondent William Shirer, the people of the Rhineland were overjoyed at the return of German troops to their region. Shirer said that some correspondents reported some irregularlities but Shirer himself had no doubt that the overwhelming majority of Germans did, in fact, support the move into the Rhineland, whether they were a part of the Nazi Party or not. If the vote indeed was a 99% win for the Nazis, it’s probably the only time that Joseph Goebbels had an honest press release.
And finally, we often think of terrorism as being something relatively new. It’s not really. It’s a tactic that is used by a group of people who do not have the means to face their opponent in a traditional military style. The object of war is the conclusion of political aims and so is the same for most terrorists. Some may consider some of the actions of the Sons of Liberty in colonial America to be terrorism. And, in the first part of the 20th century through World War II, it was Jewish extremist groups that led numerous terror attacks against the ruling British in an effort to establish an independent Israel. Now, while the Sons of Liberty may or may not have been terrorists, the legacy of domestic terrorism has continued from time to time. Usually brought by nut cases. Sometimes they get some infamous notoriety as the media likes to put name tags on them. In the late 20th century there was the “Unibomber” but before that it was the “Mad Bomber” that terrorized New York.
In 1940, a pipe bomb was found at New York’s electric company, Con Edison. The note attached said, “Con Edison Crooks, this is for you.” More bombs were found in 1941, each more powerful than the previous one. That is until the end of 1941. Perhaps he was taking a page from the Sons of Liberty or maybe he was just patriotic but the bomber left a note that said he would not plant any more bombs until after the war was over. I guess he wanted to wait until things settled down after the war because it was not until this date in 1950 that the Mad
Bomber returned and set a bomb at Grand Central Station. That one was disarmed but some of his other work went off in places like Radio City Music Hall, the Staten Island Ferry, Macy’s, the RCA building and again at Grand Central Station.
The cops couldn’t track the guy down but an investigation by Con Edison found…you guessed it….the proverbial “disgruntled former employee.” Seems that in 1931, George Peter Metesky had been injured on the job and Con Edison refused to pay for any medical benefits. So, Metesky got sore and decided to start planting bombs. Investigators found him living with his sister and in 1957 he was sent to a mental institution where he resided until his release in 1973. Man, this guy sure could carry a grudge! He was blowing stuff up over 20 years after he had felt shafted. And to think, I always thought the Mad Bomber was Darryl Lamonica.
Weather Bottom Line: Tell you what, the data was really pretty good regarding the weather event of Saturday. The dynamics were great but there wasn’t a whole lot else going for this stuff. We had very strong winds aloft and also a good bit of veering of the winds. But, we weren’t all that unstable to help things out. In the late afternoon we got to the low to mid 60’s which was sufficient to support big storms that got going to our southwest and produced big hail, high winds and a few tornadoes. But, but the time it got to Louisville, the sun had been down for a few hours and so the instability was gone and we got thunderstorms and winds, but nothing really severe.
The rest of the forecast looks on track through the weekend with a chilly and blustery day on Sunday with highs struggling to get to 50. Back to the lower 60’s for early next week.