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  INCOMING! MAY 2, 2005.  
   
   
 

Monday

Will all the countries with nuclear capabilities please stand up? Uh-uh. Not so fast, Iran.

One hundred eighty-seven diplomats arrive in New York today to review the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT). Opened for signature by the UN in 1968 and enacted in 1970, the NPT is history's most ratified arms limitation treaty. Although with countries scrambling to get nuclear faster than you can say "Kim Jong-Il," that's something akin to being voted "Mr. Popularity" in summer school. Among its many articles, the NPT established the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and placed it in charge of administering the provisions and safeguards of the treaty through routine weapons inspections.

The treaty has been reviewed every five years since its ratification, and today's five-year review stands to be a humdinger, as IAEA head Mohammed ElBaradei and the Bush administration have sharply different views on the future of the NPT. ElBaradei wants a five-year ban on the development of uranium enrichment programs in exchange for guaranteed energy to those nations that halt enrichment. The Bush administration wants to disagree with the UN, regardless of what they propose and how much

 


 
 

sense it makes.

On this day in 1945, Soviet forces captured Berlin and raised their red, hammer-and-sickle flag over the Reichstag building in Germany. Berlin broke its hip and injured its right arm during the fall and unconditionally surrendered from the hospital six days later, effectively ending the Eastern Front fighting in World War II.

Also on this day in 1972, J. Edgar Hoover, history's favorite cross-dressing intelligence chief, died. It could be joked that Hoover was buried in his favorite coulats, or that he'd finally gone to that great transvestite bar in the sky, but why speak ill of the dead?

 

 
 

Tuesday

The National Academy of Sciences concludes its 142nd annual meeting today. On the agenda for today is the election of new members and foreign associates to the Academy. Election results will be posted online by noon, EDT, so log on and keep hitting refresh to find out the most updated results. Don't worry if your computer's browser fails to load a couple of times. Keep plugging away. The delay is due to the tremendous amount of traffic that the Web site will receive. I'm voting for Clifford M. Will and Carl Wiemann, but if Andrea J. Liu gets elected, I'll be happy. Also on the agenda, a symposium called, "The World Year of Physics: Einstein in the 21st Century." The symposium will celebrate the 1905 papers published by Albert Einstein, including a heretofore unreleased paper entitled, "Meg Ryan Will Be in a Hokey Romantic Comedy about Me in 90 Years. Don't See This Film."

Margaret Mitchell was awarded the Pulitzer Prize on this day in 1937 for her epic Civil War-era novel, Gone with the Wind. Mitchell sold the movie rights to producer David O. Selznick for a then-unheard-of sum of $50,000. The 1939 film starring Clark Gable and Vivien Leigh raked in box office millions of dollars and tons of Academy Awards, and it gave TBS something to play seven times a week from 1986-1992, until they acquired the rights to another epic film based in the South, Road House.

   
 

 

 

 
 

Wednesday

Today is the 35th anniversary of the Kent State shootings.

Student protests of the Vietnam War on the campus of Kent State University in Ohio had been ongoing since May 1. On May 2, the Ohio National Guard was sent in to quell the protests, and a state of emergency was declared by the mayor of Kent. Although the students were told to cease and desist and several protests on May 3 had been broken up, another protest was scheduled for noon on May 4. Just before noon, the crowd was ordered to disperse, and tear gas was fired into the crowd of 2,000 students, causing advanced weeping but no serious injuries.

When the crowd refused to disperse, the Guard advanced on it and fired into the protesters, killing four and wounding nine. The Guard claimed that they had only fired because a sniper had fired on them, but subsequent investigations found no evidence of such a claim being accurate. The Kent State shootings encapsulated a nation torn by the conflict abroad and left one of the most enduring images of the war era: a weeping 14-year-old Mary Ann Vecchio standing over slain student Jeff Miller. The shootings were also the inspiration for the Neil Young song, "Ohio."

Nineteen years later, Oliver North was convicted three crimes related to the Iran-Contra Affair (accepting an illegal gratuity, aiding and abetting in the obstruction of a congressional inquiry and destruction of documents) and acquitted of nine

 


 
 

other charges. The real winner in the Iran-Contra Hearings was the Teflon Don himself, President Ronald Reagan. Admitting nothing, and paving the way for the Clinton depends-on-what-the-definition-of-is-is defense, Reagan swore to Congress that he just didn't recall anything at all that happened between 1986 and 1987. North's convictions were later overturned on the ruling that he'd been granted limited immunity for his testimony to Congress, thereby solidifying the Spaceballs theory as fact: "Evil will always triumph over good, because good is dumb."

Depressed yet? There's good news too! America's favorite failed Cosmonaut *N SYNC's Lance Bass turns 26 today!

 

 
 

Thursday

¡Hoy es Cinco de Mayo! ¡Es tiempo al partido!

That's right. It's Cinco de Mayo! It's probably a long shot, but if anyone's really interested, Cinco de Mayo is not Mexico's Independence Day. That is actually September 16. Cinco de Mayo commemorates Mexico's victory over the French at the Battle of Puebla in 1862. Ah, screw that. Hand me another Corona. I'm calling in sick.

We should take a moment to give America some well-deserved credit. We may not manufacture anything here anymore, except overpriced, poisonous prescription drugs. We may not be able to put together a car or a TV or a DVD player worth the loose change in Louie Anderson's couch. But there is one thing that America still knows how to do: Take the minor holidays of other countries and turn them into excuses to get hammered drinking that country's local beer.

Also today, Tony Blair and his Labour party put themselves on the line in elections in the United Kingdom. Both Blair and his party are expected to maintain their majority, and, once the election results are in, Blair is also expected to resume his post up President Bush's ass.

While you're pushing back shots of Cuervo, swing by your local Borders and pick up Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee's book, "Quit Digging Your Grave with a Knife and Fork." The 5-foot-11-inch Huckabee, who recently made headlines by remarrying his wife in a "covenant" marriage, slimmed down to 170 pounds (from 280) simply by changing his diet after he was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. I don't want to say that Huckabee was fat, but when he sat around his family's one-room shack and outhouse in Little Rock, he sat around

 



 
 

his family's one-room shack and outhouse in Little Rock.

And finally, also on this day in 1961, Alan Shepard became the first American in space, traveling into orbit aboard the Freedom 7. You may remember Shepard from the famous golf shot that he teed up on the moon in 1971, a drive which still holds the Milky Way Galaxy record at 1.2 million miles and counting.

 

 

Friday

President Bush starts a five-day mostly-Eastern European tour today, visiting Latvia, the Netherlands, Russia and Georgia. The trip will mostly be a success, derailed only twice: once when Bush can't stop laughing at "Netherlands," and one more time when he mistakenly has Air Force One land at Hartsfield International Airport in Atlanta. On the president's agenda for the trip is a frank discussion of the future of Democracy in Russia, a strong display of support for Latvian President Vaira Vike-Freiberga and a message to the people of Georgia, urging them to change the name of their country "so people don't get confused anymore and um, y'know, to fight terror."

On this day in 1999, Amy Fisher was paroled and released from prison. These days, the Long Island Lolita is nothing of the kind. She's a successful businessperson and is the happily married mother of two children. She hasn't even shot anyone in more than a decade! We used to get news like this

 


 

all the time. Nancy Kerrigan whacked in the knee, John Wayne Bobbitt, Amy Fisher. Now, all we get is opportunistic idiots putting severed fingers into their chili. What's happened to this country?

In 1994, French President Francois Mitterand and British Queen Elizabeth II cut the ribbon and officially opened the "Chunnel" to traffic. The Channel Tunnel (Chunnel? Get it?) is 31 miles of tunnel beneath the English Channel connecting Britain with continental Europe via high speed rail. All in all, the trip from England to the continent via the Chunnel takes 20 minutes, which is the same amount of time it takes an Englishman and a Frenchman to figure out which is worse: poor dental hygiene or poor bathing habits.

 

Geoff Wolinetz is co-editor of Yankee Pot Roast and is glad that he's finally putting his history degree to good use.

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INCOMING! runs every Monday on The Black Table.