In a Moment of Truth, Jeff Dorchen pours himself a big bowl of cereal and reads all about different types of milk, the half a century of anti-colonial resistance in Vietnam, the violence within social upheaval, the complications of Rich White Christian Men, and the promise of universal rights for everybody else at the table.
On this day in 1924 – (92 years ago) — Nathan Leopold and Richard Loeb, two wealthy students at the University of Chicago who had read too much Nietzsche at too young an age, set out to demonstrate their own superiority to the herd of humanity by committing what they thought would be the perfect crime. They kidnapped a teenage boy named Bobby Franks, beat and strangled him to death in the back of a rented car, and drove his body to Hammond, Indiana, where they dumped it in a culvert. Though Leopold and Loeb had spent months carefully planning the murder, they were soon found out and arrested — partly thanks to a lost pair of eyeglasses that police found near the body and traced back to Leopold. The famous Chicago defense lawyer Clarence Darrow persuaded the judge to spare Leopold and Loeb the death penalty. They instead received life sentences, and Loeb was later stabbed to death by a fellow inmate at Stateville Prison. Leopold’s glasses are now at the Chicago History Museum.
On this day in 1936 – (80 years ago) — Tokyo police arrested Sada Abe, a former maid, geisha, and prostitute, for the murder of a married restaurant owner named Kichizo Ichida, with whom she had disappeared for two weeks of sex in various inns and teahouses. Abe told the police that she and Ichida had consensually engaged in kinky practices including partial asphyxiation. In the heat of lovemaking mixed with jealousy, she had strangled him to death, and then cut off his genitals — which she was still carrying in her purse at the time of her arrest. The case made lurid headlines across Japan, and Abe served five years in prison. After her release she became something of a celebrity, and even published a bestselling memoir, but the public fascination finally drove her to take refuge in a cloistered nunnery, where she probably died sometime after 1971.
On this day in 1946 – (70 years ago) — during atomic weapons research at the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico, and in the presence of seven colleagues, a thirty-five-year-old Canadian physicist named Louis Slotin was performing a delicate experiment that involved holding a hemisphere of beryllium very close above a plutonium core in order to tease and measure the beginning of a nuclear reaction without actually allowing it to take place. Slotin was using a screwdriver to prop up the beryllium and... read more
Elizabeth is author of the new book From the War on Poverty to the War on Crime: The Making of Mass Incarceration in America from Harvard University Press.
Marisa reported on Nuit Debout from Paris in her Truthout piece The Spirit of Occupy Lives on in France's Emerging Direct Democracy Movement.
Brian has been predicting and then covering the coup for over a year on This is Hell!
Andi is author of We Were Feminists Once: From Riot Grrrl to CoverGirl, the Buying and Selling of a Political Movement from PublicAffairs.
Amber has a chapter in False Choices: The Faux Feminism of Hillary Rodham Clinton and wrote the Baffler article My Kind of Misogyny: I Don’t Care If They Call a Warhawk “Cankles.”
Save your complaints about this title until after you hear the actual segment please.
Here is what Chuck is reading to prepare for Saturday's show:
From the War on Poverty to the War on Crime: The Making of Mass Incarceration in America - Elizabeth Hinton [Harvard University Press]
The Spirit of Occupy Lives on in France's Emerging Direct Democracy Movement - Marisa Holmes [Truthout]
We Were Feminists Once: From Riot Grrrl to CoverGirl, the Buying and Selling of a Political Movement - Andi Zeisler [PublicAffairs]
False Choices: The Faux Feminism of Hillary Rodham Clinton - Amber A'Lee Frost [Verso Books]
On this day in 1610 – (406 years ago) — King Henry IV of France — credited with promoting religious tolerance, improving infrastructure and public works, and bringing relative peace and prosperity to his country — was assassinated by a Catholic religious fanatic named François Ravaillac. Though Henry had become a popular king, he had also alienated some Catholic zealots by promulgating the Edict of Nantes, which guaranteed religious liberty to Protestants and effectively brought an end to the religious wars that had ravaged France for thirty-six years. Ravaillac, having learned of the route Henry’s open carriage would take through the crowded streets of Paris, was lying in wait when it became caught in a traffic jam. He jumped onto the carriage, fatally stabbed the king in the chest, and was immediately arrested by police. Two weeks later — after several days of interrogation, torture, and a quick trial — he was executed by being drawn and quartered.
On this day in 1931 – (85 years ago) — in Ådalen, Sweden, five people were shot and killed by military troops called in to reinforce local police during a demonstration by thousands of workers on strike against the local timber and pulp industry. The strike had begun as a nonviolent response to pay cuts at one pulp factory in a nearby town, and had quickly spurred solidarity walkouts at other factories across the area. The rallies and marches were peaceful at first, but when the owner of one company hired sixty scabs to come in and break the strike, rising tensions led to fistfights and rock throwing, and the local police were soon overwhelmed. Mounted army troops arrived, and as the situation grew chaotic, they opened fire. Though the soldiers supposedly aimed at the ground to warn and scatter the demonstrators, their bullets hit ten people, five of whom died. Investigators later concluded that none of the demonstrators had been armed. Unfortunately, no one on the scene had yet learned that, earlier the same day, a local government council had already voted to prohibit the strikebreakers from working. In the criminal trials that followed, all but one of the military officers were acquitted, while several strikers received prison sentences. The incident ignited a fierce political debate in Sweden, and led to the formation of a national police... read more
Ansley is author of the new book Making the Unequal Metropolis: School Desegregation and Its Limits from University of Chicago Press.
Andrew wrote the Harper's article American Imperium: Untangling truth and fiction in an age of perpetual war and the book America’s War for the Greater Middle East: A Military History from Penguin Random House.
Donna contributed to the Verso Books collection False Choices: The Faux Feminism of Hillary Rodham Clinton, extracted as the piece The Clintons’ War on Drugs: When Black Lives Didn’t Matter for The New Republic.
Kevan's forthcoming, first book A Social Revolution: Politics and the Welfare State in Iran has a release date now. Pumped for this!
Mike Hudson's latest writing on the story is Panama Papers Include Dozens of Americans Tied to Fraud and Financial Misconduct for ICIJ.
At least he escaped the flood of rats!
Here is what Chuck is reading to prepare for Saturday's show:
Making the Unequal Metropolis: School Desegregation and Its Limits - Ansley Erickson [University of Chicago Press]
American Imperium: Untangling truth and fiction in an age of perpetual war - Andrew Bacevich [Harper's]
False Choices: The Faux Feminism of Hillary Rodham Clinton - Donna Murch [Verso Books]
Panama Papers Include Dozens of Americans Tied to Fraud and Financial Misconduct - Mike Hudon [ICIJ]
On this day in 1840 – (176 years ago) — the populated areas in and around Natchez, Mississippi, were struck by the second deadliest tornado in US history, a huge funnel cloud that formed southwest of Natchez and moved north along the Mississippi River. The twister flattened homes and businesses along the riverbanks, and destroyed hundreds of steamboats and flatboats. It was so powerful that a chunk of one riverboat was later found to have been blown thirty miles from the river. The tornado also devastated plantations for hundreds of miles in Mississippi and Louisiana. It ripped big trees out of the ground by their roots, and destroyed countless acres of crops. After the storm, the official death toll was given as 317. But the real number of people who died in the calamity was probably much higher, since it happened in a time and place when official death tolls issued by local governments normally did not count slaves.
On this day in 1915 – (101 years ago) — as World War I raged in Europe, the British civilian luxury liner RMS Lusitania was sailing from New York to Liverpool with almost two thousand passengers and crew. New York newspapers had published German warnings about the state of war in the North Atlantic, but many of the Lusitania’s passengers had taken the risk lightly, and its captain had assured them that the ship was fast enough to evade any attacks. But, some twelve
miles off the coast of Ireland, the ship was hit by a torpedo from a German submarine. The torpedo was quickly followed by a second explosion that ripped open the Lusitania’s starboard side. The great ship sank beneath the waves in just eighteen minutes. It had forty-eight lifeboats, but in all the chaos and panic, the crew managed to lower only six of the boats successfully. Other lifeboats were ripped to pieces as they banged and scraped against the sides of the ship. Still others capsized as they hit the water, throwing their screaming occupants into the sea. Almost 1,200 people died, with 761 survivors. Most of the dead were either British or Canadian, while 114 were Americans. The German attack caused outrage not only internationally, but also among Germany’s own political left. And it was the first in a chain of events that led to the United States entry into World War I.
Rotten History is written by Renaldo Migaldi