1853 Andre Michelin was born. (See December 29th entry.)
1883 The Pendleton Act went into effect.
1920 The Eighteenth Amendment to the U. S. Constitution went into effect. (See December 5th entry.)
1969 Soviet cosmonauts achieved the first link between two manned spacecraft while in orbit.
1975 The Commerce Department declared that the nation was in the worst recession since the Second World War.
1975 Former CIA head Richard Helms reported that the agency was involved in domestic spying.
1991 The Persian Gulf War began.
Experimentation, we are told, is the road to progress. Today we mark the anniversary of what was called a “noble experiment.” It didn’t work, but we like to think that it taught us something. The experiment was Prohibition. In 1920, the Eighteenth Amendment, which prohibited the importation and sale of alcohol, went into effect. It was abandoned thirteen years later when the Twenty-first Amendment made liquor legal again.
We thought we had solved the problem of governmental corruption by establishing a merit system of public employment. On this day in 1883, the Pendleton Act—which dictated the selection process employed by U. S. Civil Service—was made into law.
Our travels became much more comfortable than those of our forefathers who, for centuries, rode on roughshod cushion less, wood - or metal-rim wheels because of a person who was born in 1853. The original Michelin baby was born on this day. Andre Michelin grew up to become the French industrialist who first mass-produced rubber tires for automobiles.
Getting together for a common cause can sometimes be a complex maneuver. If you were one of the Soviet cosmonauts who achieved the first link between two manned spacecraft while orbiting around the earth on this date in 1969, you’d understand all too well how precarious a lofty goal can be. Luckily, most of us are willing to go to great lengths to communicate with each other to achieve these and less complex goals. The outcome is always better if we do. Otherwise, we could end up like the Iraqi army did on this day in 1991: after a five-month standoff with allied U. N. forces in Kuwait, the Persian Gulf War began with the bombing of military and industrial targets.
It may always be darkest before the dawn, but on this day in 1975, no one was sure if we’d ever see the light of day again. The Commerce Department declared that the nation was in the worst recession since the Second World War. And to add insult to injury, former CIA head Richard Helms reported to the U. S. Congress that the agency had been involved in domestic spying since the late 1950s because of an upsurge in radicalism.