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Lenny Bruce Lost To Overdose - 1966

Friday, August 3, 2007

Lenny Bruce died of a narcotics overdose on this day, August 3rd, 1966.

Born Leonard Alfred Schneider, in Long Island, N.Y., Bruce possessed a cynical, surreal, and intensely comic view of the world. He brutally satirized such sensitive areas of American life as sex, religion, and race relations. His comedy left no group unscathed, and his routines were replete with four-letter words.

Consequently, Bruce was at various times arrested and forbidden to perform; in 1964 he was convicted of obscenity charges stemming from a New York City performance. He was also arrested for narcotics violations.

After his death Bruce became a cult figure, considered by many to be a martyr to the cause of free speech. He was posthumously pardoned of his obscenity conviction by the governor of New York in 2003.

The Fall and Rise of an American Icon

Lenny Bruce's Penultimate Stand Up Performance

Bob Dylan's Tribute Song "Lenny Bruce"

Lenny Bruce on the Steve Allen Show

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Iraq Invades Kuwait - 1990

Thursday, August 2, 2007

The Invasion of Kuwait, also known as the Iraq-Kuwait War, was a major conflict between the Republic of Iraq and the State of Kuwait which resulted in the 7 month long Iraqi occupation of Kuwait which subsequently lead to direct military intervention by United States-led forces.. and the Gulf War which continues to this day.

Kuwait had heavily funded the 8 year long Iraqi war against Iran. By the time the war ended, Iraq was not in a financial position to repay the $14 billion which it had borrowed from Kuwait to finance its war. Kuwait's reluctance to pardon the debt created strains in the relationship between the two Arab countries.

After the failure of those talks, Iraq tried repaying its debts by raising the prices of oil through OPEC's oil production cuts. However, Kuwait, a member of the OPEC, prevented a global increase in petroleum prices by increasing its own petroleum production. This was seen by many in Iraq as an act of aggression, further distancing the countries.

In 1989, Iraq accused Kuwait of illegally slant drilling into the Iraqi part of the Rumaila Oil Field. Iraq claimed $1 billion including $22.4 billion in compensation for the oil "stolen".

The American ambassador declared to her Iraqi interlocutor that Washington, "inspired by the friendship and not by confrontation, does not have an opinion” on the disagreement which opposes Kuwait to Iraq, stating "we have no opinion on the Arab-Arab conflicts". She also let Saddam Hussein know that the U.S. did not intend "to start an economic war against Iraq". These statements may have misled Saddam into believing he had received a diplomatic green light from the United States to invade Kuwait, which it did, on this day, August 2nd, 1990.

The Iraq-Kuwait War was the first war seen through the filter of cockpit video instrumentation. Edited in chronological order, these films present a surreal history of war.

The 1990 Gulf War From US Cockpits

The Gulf War With The Iraqi Forces

The day after taking command of the 3rd Armored Division on April 7, 1991, Maj. Gen. Jerry Rutherford talks to troops of the Division's 3rd Brigade at the Brigade's Tactical Operations Center in eastern Iraq.

U.S. General Talks to His Troops During Iraq/Kuwait War

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Trans-Siberian Railway Opens - 1904

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

In the late 19th century, the development of the Siberia was hampered by poor transportation links within the region as well as between Siberia and the rest of the country. Good roads suitable for wheeled transport were few and far apart. For about 5 months of the year, rivers were the main means of transportation; during the cold half of the year, cargo and passengers traveled by horse-drawn sleds over the winter roads, many of which were the same rivers, now ice-covered.

The Trans-Siberian Railroad, rail line, linking European Russia with the Pacific coast, began construction in 1891 and was completed in 1904. The completion of the railroad greatly affected the history of the Russian Empire, the Soviet Union, and modern Russia by opening up Siberia to development. It officially opened for service on this day, July 31, 1904.

The Trans-Siberian Railway gave a great boost to Siberian agriculture, facilitating substantial exports to central Russia and Europe. Today the Trans-Siberian Railway carries about 20,000 containers per year to Europe, including 8,300 containers from Japan.

The train has 2nd class 4-berth compartments (called kupé) and 1st class 2-berth compartments (called spalny wagon or 'SV') and a restaurant car. One-way fares start at about $250 in a 4-berth sleeper or $320 in a 2-berth sleeper.

The Best of The Trans Siberian Railway

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