History: December 5, 2018

1492

Christopher Columbus reaches the coast of Hispaniola.

The culmination of his first adventure across the Atlantic made him the first recorded European to set foot in the Caribbean.

The natives received him and his men well, at least at first.

Later, inhabitants of present-day Dominican Republic attacked the crew with arrows. He managed to kidnap a handful of the attackers, though, and brought them back to Europe.

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1872

A small British boat discovers an American vessel at full sail near the Azores islands.

The American boat was called the Mary Celeste. It was completely stocked and in tip-top condition — but no one was on board.

The British crew boarded the Mary Celeste to find water in the hold and the lifeboat missing.

The captain, his family, and the 8 passengers were never found.

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1933

Prohibition ends.

With ratification of the 21st amendment, the sale and transportation of alcohol was again legal in the United States.

For the previous 14 years, gangsters like Al Capone thrived on the bootlegging business.

Several states would remain dry for a couple decades. Mississippi remained a dry state until 1966.

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1945

Five TBM Avenger torpedo bombers disappear while flying over the Bermuda Triangle.

All of the pilots and their crews were never found. A Mariner flying boat was put into the air to search for the missing planes — it too disappeared, and is suspected to have exploded in mid-air.

A Navy investigation concluded that the planes ran out of fuel and the pilots ditched in the ocean.

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1969

The prototype of the Internet grows, with the expansion of the Department of Defense’s Advanced Research Projects Agency computer network. ARPANET for short.

The project linked what were called network nodes in Los Angeles, Menlo Park, Santa Barbara, and the University of Utah.

At first the computers only shared test messages to ensure that information could be shared between networks. From there, it expanded exponentially as more researches connected to this network of networks.

The same principles and technology now power the Internet.

Birthdays: December 5, 2018

Franke Muniz – Actor, Malcolm in the Middle – 33

Amy Acker – Actress, Root on “Person of Interest” – 42

Margaret Cho – comedian – 50

Gary Allan – country star – 51

John Rzeznik – Goo Goo Dolls guitarist – 53

Morgan Brittany – Actress, “Dallas” – 67

Little Richard (Richard Wayne Penniman) – singer – 86

BORN ON THIS DATE

Strom Thurmond – racist former Senator – 1902

Walt Disney – famed animator – 1901

George Armstrong Custer – Civil War general – 1839

Martin Van Buren – POTUS 8 – 1782

Oscar Host: Kevin Hart

The Oscars had been struggling to find a host for its 2019 broadcast — but landed on Kevin Hart. Following lackluster ratings and the La La Land Best Picture snafu, A-listers aren’t clamoring for the top emcee spot.

The Hollywood Reporter says that everyone who’s anyone had turned it down, including Oprah, Justin Timberlake, Julia Louis-Drefyus, Jerry Seinfeld, and even Tina Fey and Amy Poehler as a team effort, who successfully helmed the Golden Globes a few years back.

The job requires weeks of work for a paltry low-six figures; the media, critics and fans inevitably rip the host to shreds; and the show does little to make the host more visible or famous.

In recent years, no one has done it more than twice, including Jimmy Kimmel, Ellen Degeneres, Hugh Jackman, Chris Rock, and Jon Stewart. In contrast, Bob Hope did it 19 times in his heyday.

Modern Family

Modern Family’s Sarah Hyland is under fire for requesting donations to a GoFundMe page for her late 14-year-old cousin’s funeral arrangements. Her cousin was killed by a drunk driver over the weekend. The donation page was asking for $10,000, an amount social media followers were quick to point out would be easy for Hyland to cover herself. 

Hyland did give $1000 to the fund, and Modern Family co-star Ariel Winter put in $2,5000. Hyland clapped back at the detractors on Twitter, saying the haters just don’t know all the details. 

McCain Bitches Behar

The View co-host Joy Behar hijacked a tribute to George H. W. Bush on Monday, and Meghan McCain had none of it. Behar managed to dovetail the segment into a criticism of President Trump’s environmental policies. McCain snapped that she wanted to focus on President Bush — and when the women started bickering, Whoopi Goldberg threw to commercial. Onlookers say that even during the break, the women continued to have it out. Behar said she’d quit the show if McCain kept interrupting her and to “Get this bitch under control,” referring to McCain.

McCain and Behar have an icy relationship — and producers don’t see it thawing anytime soon.

For Pete’s Sake

Pete Davidson is tired of all the social media trolls. He took to Instagram to leave a lengthy (for Instagram) statement about being bullied ever since his relationship with Ariana Grande got serious, and subsequently ended. Davidson said he’s been open about his struggles with depression and suicide, yet people still exploit that. “No matter how hard the internet or anyone tries to make me kill myself. I won’t,” he wrote. 

GHWB, RIP

President George H. W. Bush’s remains arrived in Washington DC Monday evening, on board a military jet with the callsign Special Air Mission 41. Speaking at a ceremony upon the casket’s arrival, Vice President Mike Pence gave remarks, speaking to the 41st president’s life and character: “[he] never lost his love of adventure, and he never failed to answer the call to serve his country,” Pence said.

The casket will remain on display in the Capitol rotunda until early Wednesday morning, when the state funeral will begin. President Bush made clear he wanted President Trump at the funeral, though the current Commander in Chief will not speak. 

Bern 2020

Bernie Sanders gathered a group of friends and loyalists for a strategy retreat in Vermont over the weekend, and talk of a 2020 run for president felt like a foregone conclusion. His advantage this time will be frontrunner status from the beginning, meaning starting out with a much bigger, more complex organization — at least that’s what his top supporters say.

Harris 2020

California Senator Kamala Harris says she’ll make a decision about a 2020 White House bid over the holidays, and that it comes down to what her family says. But in the meantime, she says the whole process will be ugly.

Speaking to The Hill, Harris said, “Let’s be honest. It’s going to be ugly.” 

“When you break things, it is painful. And you get cut. And you bleed.”

Zucker for America

CNN Head Honcho Jeff Zucker hasn’t ruled out running for office. Chatting with former Obama flunkie David Axelrod on his podcast “The Axe Files,” Zucker said he’s always felt in his gut he could get involved in politics. 

Axelrod pointed out Zucker had turned down an opportunity to work for Al Gore in 2000 — and Zucker has had curiosity about public office ever since.

Adelson Unleashed

GOP Megadonor Sheldon Adelson says he’s not backing Republican organizations in the next election cycle unless they shape up their operations. He gave $112 million during the 2018 cycle, including $100,000 to the National Republican Campaign Committee and $33,000 each to the Republican National Committee and National Republican Senatorial Committee. 

In the future, he’s not giving money to “inefficient” organizations, sources say. In particular, he thinks Republicans need a counterpart to ActBlue, the progressive online donation platform that focuses on small contributions, and get funneled to left-wing candidates in both statewide and local races.

History: December 4, 2018

1783

General George Washington tells his closest officers that he will resign as general.

He fully intended to quietly return to civilian life.

The resolute Washington reportedly chocked up and cried briefly while embracing and bidding goodbye to his closest confidants.

The official resignation was delivered to Congress on December 23. Then, he left for Mount Vernon.

He spent 6 relatively quiet years as a farmer. But in 1789, he was elected the first president of the United States.

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1917

The concept of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is first reported.

Psychiatrist WH Rivers wrote a report called “The Repression of War Experience.”

It included anecdotal evidence of British soldiers who had returned from combat during World War I. The young men suffered from anxiety and nightmares.

Rivers suggested that the emotional toll could often rival the physical toll that war took on soldiers.

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1918

Woodrow Wilson departs Washington on a trip in which he would become the first sitting president to visit Europe on state business.

He traveled by boat, for 9 days aboard the S. S. George Washington.

It docked in France, and Wilson went to Versailles. From there, he sat at the table to seek a formal peace treaty to end World War I.

For his efforts, he would be awarded the 1920 Peace Prize.

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1945

By a vote in the Senate, the United States becomes a participating member of the United Nations.

The organization was officially founded by China, France, the Soviet Union, Britain and the U.S. in October that year, following the end of World War II.

With approval from the Senate, the U.S. could constitutionally participate and contribute.

After the failure of the League of Nations after World War I, the country and the world was desperate for an organization that promised to mediate and end all future war conflicts. THANK GOD THAT WORKED.

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2009

Amanda Knox is convicted of murder by an Italian Court.

The American student studying abroad was implicated in the murder of her roommate, with her boyfriend as an accomplice.

After a series of appeals, Knox was eventually acquitted in 2011.

NIN Nixes Cruz

Nine Inch Nails can do without Ted Cruz. The Texas Senator requested a spot on the band’s guest list during a show in Irving, Texas, but the band rejected it. Trent Reznor at one point asked the crowd who voted for Cruz — then said “he might be here tonight, he was bugging to get on the guest list. And I told him to [f]-off.”

Reznor went on that when they hosted Cruz a few years back, he “drank all the beer” and was a “pain in the ass” to be around.”

Mrs. Jonas

Priyanka Chopra graces the January issue of Vogue, and her interview is out just before her wedding in India this weekend. She’s set to marry Nick Jonas.

She says the pair will have two weddings: one traditional Indian wedding and a Christian ceremony for Nick’s side of the family, officiated by his father. The festivities will span 3 days.

One ceremony will include the couple walking around a fire seven times to represent their seven lives together. Husband to be Nick says they’re probably already in their third or fourth life. No word on how his officiating Christian father feels about that. 

Merry Megyn

Megyn Kelly is gearing up for the Christmas season. She dished to DailyMail about her family’s traditions, and what gets her in the holiday spirit. Kelly says they watch It’s a Wonderful Life and get up early to videotape the kids opening gifts. She said she’d love to go caroling, but the husband and kids vetoed that idea. And she says the best gifts she’s ever gotten were Stretch Armstrong and Incredible Hulk dolls 35 years ago — that even a pony wouldn’t have made her happier!

Merry Christmas from the Phypers

Denise Richards is out with her annual family Christmas card, this year boasting new husband Aaron Phypers, alongside her three kids. The couple has been displaced by the California wildfires, but she’s not letting that get in the way of holiday celebrations. They’re currently living out of hotels while the damage is assessed and they can find a more permanent residence.

Chan the Bastard

Actor and stuntman Jackie Chan is a total jerk — just ask him! He’s out with a new memoir that details years of nefarious behavior, culminating with him looking at himself in the mirror one day and telling himself, “You’re a real bastard.”

The improprieties include sleeping with prostitutes, cheating on his wives, drunkenly crashing a Porsche early one morning only to bang up a Mercedes later that night, beating his wife, throwing his son across the room in a rage, turning his back on his daughter when she came out as a lesbian, spending millions on other peoples’ meals so he never had to feel alone, and never learning to read or write. He even says he hasn’t signed the back of his credit cards because he can’t sign his own name.

Simple Life Down Under

Keith Urban and Nicole Kidman are still all about the simple life. They were spotted grabbing dinner at a KFC in Sydney’s Lower North Shore on Thursday, before heading off to KMart and Aussie retailer Country Road. Onlookers said they were very good about taking pics with other shoppers, but they did get the VIP treatment when it came time to check-out, getting a special lane and cashier to get them out the door quickly.

History: November 30, 2018

1782

An agreement to terms of peace is forged between American and British delegates in Paris.

The document would eventually become the Treaty of Paris, and was signed officially in September the following year.

Among the negotiators for the Americans were John Jay, John Adams, and Benjamin Franklin.

Above all else, the terms included a provision to recognize the United States as a sovereign nation, and that the British Crown relinquish any claim to rights or property therein.

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1804

The US Senate begins its third impeachment trial, this time for Supreme Court justice Samuel Chase.

Chase was an irritable Federalist, who detested Thomas Jefferson and his followers. Representative John Randolph led the crusade against Chase, accusing him of allowing juries in politically-charged cases to be stacked with his political allies, and being highly partisan in his rulings — in other words, legislating from the bench.

Chase was acquitted of all charges on March 1st the following year. Since then, the Supreme Court has been relatively immune to attacks by Congress when upset over rulings and judges’ opinions.

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1872

The first-ever soccer match between two countries is played.

It pitted Scotland and England against each other at the West of Scotland Cricket’s Club in Patrick, Scotland.

Though the Scots scored a goal in he first half, the refs ruled that the shot didn’t quite make it under the tape that was used to mark the upper crossbar — this was before metal frames, of course.

The match ended uneventfully tied 0-0.

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1981

As a sign of events to follow, the United States and Soviet Union engage in talks to reduce the Soviets’ weapons cache.

The meetings in particular were over intermediate-range nuclear forces in Europe. Though talks in the 70s reduced the number of long-range nuclear weapons for both nations, the Reds were still installing shorter-range missiles across their European territory.

President Reagan employed his zero-option, which would have had the US halt shipments of new weapons to western Europe if the Soviets drew down their existing stocks in Eastern Europe.

The talks ended unsuccessfully, but an agreement was eventually reached in December 1987, when Reagan and Gorbachev agreed to equitable terms.

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1994

Oil companies Exxon and Mobil sign papers to merge, joining the Number-1 and Number-2 sized oil giants in the world.

The deal took 11 months to get approval from the government, one of the longest in history. The $81 billion merger was approved only when the new company agreed to sell off more than 2400 gas stations across the country.

The companies had originally been one, back in the late 1800s, joined as Standard Oil Company. They were split apart in 1911 by a Supreme Court decision.

Birthdays: November 30, 2018

Kaley Cuoco – actress – 33

Elisha Cuthbert – Actress, “24” – 36

Clay Aiken – “American Idol” Season 2 finalist – 40

Ben Stiller – Actor – 53

Colin Mochrie – comedian – 61

Billy Idol –  63

Mandy Patinkin – Actor, “Homeland” – 66

BORN ON THIS DATE

Dick Clark – 1929

Winston Churchill – British PM – 1874

Mark Twain – author -1835

Jonathan Swift – satirical author – 1667