November 12, 1951: As British Foreign Secretary Anthony Eden was delivering an address at a meeting of the General Assembly of the U.N. in Paris, urging calm in Europe, a black cat suddenly got up on the stage and strolled across it, without a care in the world. This prompted discussion in the media as to whether the cat was a sign of good or bad luck. It was finally agreed to be a sign of good luck since a black cat in France is apparently a good omen (which I didn't know).
I think most political speeches would be greatly improved if cats randomly wandered across the stage during them.
Iowa City Press-Citizen - Nov 12, 1951
The Kokomo Tribune - Nov 20, 1951
Mars needs petroleum byproducts!
As intermittent mayor, he ran Newburyport, MA, from his gas station, and when out of office was not averse to punching the current mayor in the face.
There's a good summary of his antics here.
The kind of authentic politician so lacking today. The article from 1937
below gives some of his flavor.
Congratulations to Asad Asif on his recent election to the Middlesex County Republican Committee. What makes this unusual is that he was elected with only a single vote — his own. During the primary election, he was the only person who bothered to cast a vote for that position, and he wrote in his own name, thereby securing the position.
Of course, what makes this a lot less remarkable is that it's a meaningless position that no one else wants. So the Republicans basically have to beg people to do it. And a lot of the time it's unfilled. [newbrunswicktoday.com
I love these charming bits of history that reveal a more eccentric America, where things were more fluid, creative and wild.
More info here
And here's what the bustling center of the Republic and its citizens look like today.
This painting was commissioned and displayed in a public building in the 1960s. It immediately aroused ire and controversy and disgust. Can you guess why?
Answer after the jump.
I did not know, until I saw a mention in The New York Times
for September 15, 2012, that President Dwight Eisenhower had been an amateur painter.
What a token of a distant, more civilized era. Imagine a current President having the time to devote to such fripperies.
An article, with pictures, about his career exists. PDF here.
Modern U.S. elections have their problems, but at least election laws aren't as blatantly racist as they were as late as the 1950s. For instance, in Oklahoma, in the 1950s, if you wanted to run for public office you first had to file a form with the state declaring what race you were. There were only two options. If you were of "African descent" you were "Negro." If you were anything else (Chinese, Australian aboriginal, etc.) you were "White." If you indicated you were "Negro," then this descriptive term was placed in parentheses after your name on the ballot. "Whites" were not similarly labeled.
A black Oklahoma City attorney, A.B. McDonald, filed suit against the State Election Board in 1954 alleging discrimination. The District Court dismissed his case
, ruling that, "The placing of the word 'Negro' on a ballot after the name of a candidate is merely descriptive and properly serves to inform the electors of the fact that the candidate is of African descent."
The Supreme Court eventually overturned the District Court's ruling, deciding that the Oklahoma law was unconstitutional. As for A.B. McDonald, I haven't been able to find much information on his subsequent career. All I found was a short paragraph in Jet magazine (Mar 1959)
indicating that he had some other problems in his life: