First Decades in America
"They won't get us to the conference table . . . will
February 1, 1966
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Oliphant won the Pulitzer Prize for editorial cartooning in 1966 with this cartoon
showing Ho Chi Minh, president of North Vietnam, carrying a dead Viet Cong soldier.
By 1966 there were 190,000 U.S. troops in South Vietnam, and North Vietnam was
receiving armaments and technical assistance from the Soviet Union and other
Communist countries. Ho had sent a note on January 24 to Communist leaders
denouncing U.S. peace initiatives. At the same time, South Vietnamese officials had
refused to participate in any peace talks with the Viet Cong's National Liberation
Front, the North Vietnam-supported Communist guerilla movement within South Vietnam.
A few days after this cartoon appeared, President Lyndon Johnson, along with key
military and political advisors, traveled to Honolulu for a conference with South
Vietnamese Premier Nguyen Cao Ky, Chief of State Nguyen Van Thieu, and other Saigon
President Richard Nixon announced a voluntary "share the [gas] shortage" plan on May
10, 1973, which required suppliers to provide independent gas stations with the same
percentages of refinery output as were sold to them in the base period October 1,
1971– September 30, 1972. Independent gasoline stations, which had been threatened
with a total cutoff in supplies, received immediate relief from the administration's
plan. Travelers faced spot gas shortages during the Memorial Day weekend, which
further highlighted the worsening energy crisis.
‘ . . . But first, let's hear your position on the Alaska
pipeline and independent gas distributors!'
June 5, 1973
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‘First of all . . . Merry Christmas!'
October 27, 1974
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Because of declining sales, General Motors Corporation announced on October 24,
1974, it was slashing production and laying off more than 6,000 workers. That round
of layoffs brought the number of workers indefinitely suspended to 36,000.
A Gallup Poll surveying the Democrats in the 1980 presidential campaign was released
on December 11, 1979. It showed President Jimmy Carter ahead of Senator Edward
Kennedy for the first time in two years, an upturn that represented the largest jump
in presidential approval ratings in four decades. Senator Kennedy (D-Mass.) was
campaigning hard, crisscrossing the country and drawing enthusiastic crowds, but he
was criticized for opposing a Democratic president when he appeared to have no
issue-based reason for doing so. The poll results put additional pressure on the
other presidential candidates, former Texas Governor John J. Connolly, former
California Governors Edmund G. "Jerry Brown" and Ronald W. Reagan, and former
President Gerald R. Ford. Streaking, the act of running naked in a public place, was
a national fad at the time.
‘If this is the only safe thing we can do to get back on the
front pages, then I say let's do it!'
December 12, 1979
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‘Whatever you say, Imam! I guess you know what you're doing
. . . . '
April 24, 1980
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As the Ayatolloh Khomeini and other Iranian leaders persisted in their refusal to
release the American hostages held in the U.S. Embassy in Teheran, President Jimmy
Carter warned on April 17, 1980, that the U.S. would impose more sanctions against
Iran for failing to release the hostages. These sanctions included banning
financial transfers to subjects of Iran, imports from Iran, exports of military
equipment purchased by Iran, travel to Iran by Americans, as well as freezing
Iranian assets in the United States. Carter appealed to U.S. allies to join in its
isolation policy against Iran, but most countries were reluctant to do so because of
their heavy reliance on Iranian oil.
Clashes between police and mixed-race (called "colored" in South Africa)
demonstrators in the depressed outskirts of Cape Town, South Africa, on June 16–18,
1980, led to 30 deaths and 174 injuries. Police had banned crowds from observing
the fourth anniversary of the 1976 Soweto race riots, but demonstrators turned
instead to a commemorative work boycott. A police official acknowledged that they
had "shoot to kill" orders for arsonists, looters, and other "violent hooligan
elements." The intense rioting of coloreds surprised many South African whites who
had thought of them as allies against the blacks.
‘Everything is under control—go back to your designated
shanties and slums!'
June 20, 1980
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‘Sí, Presidente Duarte, you can tell them in Washington that
El Salvador continues to move steadily towards democracy. '
September 24, 1981
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Salvadoran President José Napoleon Duarte spent ten days in September 1981 touring
the United States, during which he visited with President Ronald Reagan and other
officials in Washington and addressed the United Nations. He worked to build U.S.
support for his government as well as to obtain economic and military assistance
against leftist guerilla forces in El Salvador. In response to a question by Vice
President George Bush about reported acts of violence against Salvadoran citizens,
Duarte said that his government had dismissed 600 National Guardsmen and imprisoned
another 64 for crimes against civilians. Congressional leaders remained skeptical
about Duarte's claims to have curtailed human rights abuses.
The presence of massed Soviet forces on the Polish border caused NATO officials to
warn the Soviet Union on December 12, 1980, that the use of military force in Poland
would destroy East-West détente. U.S. Secretary of State Edmund S. Muskie reported
after a NATO meeting in Brussels that the Allies had agreed to resort to economic
sanctions in retaliation for any military action, a sharp contrast to the lack of
unity displayed after the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan. Meanwhile, Carter
Administration officials criticized France, Great Britain, and West Germany, worried
that the failure of many European allies to live up to their spending pledges would
cause anti-NATO sentiments in the U.S.
‘Hold steady, men—our show of unity seems to have them
December 17, 1980
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‘Sandra O'Connor, how plead you to the heinous charge of
September 10, 1981
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President Ronald Reagan nominated Arizona judge Sandra Day O'Connor as the first
woman Supreme Court justice on July 7, 1981. Although she was described as
"moderate" and "conservative," those familiar with her political and judicial
records said that she was not a hardline conservative. Women's rights advocates were
elated by the announcement; anti-abortion organizations were angered. The Moral
Majority, a national conservative coalition organization, decried her nomination as
a "disaster for men and women" and one that would "further undermine the traditional
The United Auto Workers (UAW) and Ford Motor Company tentatively agreed on February
13, 1982, to a new labor contract that included concessions on wages and benefits in
return for job security. Rank-and-file members approved the contract on February
17. The persistent slump in Ford car sales, more than $1 billion in losses, and the
reality of 55,000 workers on indefinite layoff had led to the accommodation. The
rising sun toward which management and labor are limping together refers to
increased competition from Japanese automakers.
Alliance for some sort of progress
February 26, 1982
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December 21, 1982
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The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) identified 418 hazardous waste dumps on
December 20, 1982, as priorities for the five-year "Superfund" nationwide cleanup
enacted by Congress in 1980. EPA Administrator Anne M. Gorsuch also announced that
the agency might not seek continuation of the federal cleanup following expiration
of the current legislation in 1985. She had earlier been cited for contempt for
refusing to submit subpoenaed information concerning enforcement of the Superfund
law. The Supreme Court, at the request of the Reagan administration, declared the
contempt citation unconstitutional. Representative James J. Florio of New Jersey,
one of the authors of the Superfund law, denounced the EPA's actions toward cleanup
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