Today in History: The First Televised President

Smile for the cameras, FDR!
From his car, President Franklin D. Roosevelt waves to the crowds at the opening of the World Fair in 1939.
From his car, President Franklin D. Roosevelt waves to the crowds at the opening of the World Fair in 1939. Fox Photos/Getty Images

April 30, 1789: At New York’s Federal Hall in lower Manhattan, George Washington was sworn in as the first president of the United States. Washington was a reluctant president. At the age of 57, he wanted to stay retired. But he feared political factions were tearing the nation apart, and agreed to serve. He would serve two terms in office before retiring for good in 1798. New York City, was of course, the capital of the United States at that time.

April 30, 1939: Attending the New York World’s Fair, Franklin Roosevelt became the first president to appear on TV.

April 30, 1970: President Richard Nixon announced that U.S. troops were invading Cambodia — used by North Vietnam to wage war on South Vietnam. Nixon’s public announcement came after a year of Cambodian bombing that the administration tried to keep quiet. The invasion of Cambodia widened the public split over Vietnam. Some 4 million students protested; four were killed at Ohio’s Kent State University.

Quote of the day

“Those who trust to chance must abide by the results of chance.” -Calvin Coolidge

10 Things You Need to Know Today: April 30, 2014

The NBA bans Clippers owner Donald Sterling for life, Oklahoma inmate dies in botched execution, and more
Banned! (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

1. NBA bans Sterling over racist comments
The National Basketball Association on Tuesday banned Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling for life and fined him $2.5 million in a dramatic reaction to racist comments he allegedly made in a secretly recorded conversation. Commissioner Adam Silver said he would try to force Sterling to sell his team, a strong-arm move requiring the approval of three quarters of team owners. Sterling’s views, Silver said, “simply have no place in the NBA.” [The New York Times]


2. Oklahoma murderer dies after his botched execution is halted
An Oklahoma death row inmate, Clayton Lockett, died of a heart attack Tuesday night after his lethal injection was botched. Prison officials had called a halt to the execution after Lockett’s vein burst when the first of three drugs was administered, preventing the lethal ones from entering his system. Gov. Mary Fallin (R) issued a 14-day stay for the second inmate who was scheduled to die in the state’s first double execution since 1937. [USA Today]


3. Judge throws out Wisconsin’s new Voter ID law
A federal judge in Wisconsin has struck down the state’s Voter ID law, saying the state failed to demonstrate that voter fraud exists and that the state can take steps to stop it. “The evidence at trial established that virtually no voter impersonation occurs in Wisconsin,” District Judge Lynn Adelman said. Another judge threw out a similar law in Arkansas last week. [The Washington Post]


4. Watchdog looks into allegations of Syria gas attacks
The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons announced Tuesday that it was sending investigators to Syria to look into allegations that government forces had launched three chlorine gas attacks against rebels in the last month. The watchdog has overseen the destruction or export of 92 percent of the chemical arms that Syria has promised to surrender. Chlorine, which has many industrial uses, is not one of the substances on the list. [Reuters]


5. Gunman wounds six at FedEx sorting warehouse
Witnesses said a FedEx employee who was armed “like Rambo” shot six people at one of the delivery company’s sorting facilities, in Atlanta, before shooting himself to death on Tuesday. Two of the victims were hospitalized with life-threatening, close-range shotgun wounds. A FedEx worker said the shooter was wearing black and camouflage. “As soon as I saw guns strapped to his chest and everything,” she said, “I knew something was wrong.” [Los Angeles Times]


6. Court explains why it found Amanda Knox guilty
An Italian court that convicted Amanda Knox in January for the 2007 murder of her British roommate, Meredith Kercher, released its reasoning on Tuesday, saying that Kercher’s wounds indicated that the man already convicted in the killing, Rudy Guede, did not act alone. The court said it had concluded that Knox, who returned to the U.S. after an earlier conviction was reversed, slit Kercher’s throat in rage after the two argued about money. The next step is likely another appeal. [New York Daily News]


7. Australian firm says missing jet might have crashed near Bangladesh
An Australian geological survey company says its radiation-scanning technology found evidence suggesting the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 might have crashed in the Bay of Bengal off Bangladesh, thousands of kilometers from the current search area off Australia. The company, GeoResonance, said it detected a sudden deposit of aluminum — the plane’s chief component — on the sea floor after the plane vanished on March 8. [Time]


8. Hawaii legislature approves $10.10 minimum wage
Lawmakers in Hawaii made their state the latest to raise its minimum wage, voting late Tuesday to hike the rate to $10.10 an hour from the federal minimum of $7.25 by January 2018. That would bring Hawaii in line with a target wage set by President Obama, whose push for a higher federal minimum wage has stalled in Congress. California, Maryland, Connecticut, and Washington, D.C., have already approved hikes to $10 or more an hour. [Reuters]


9. Olympic officials express doubts over Rio’s preparations for 2016
The International Olympic Committee is getting worried about Rio de Janeiro’s readiness for the 2016 Summer Olympics, committee vice president John Coates said Tuesday. He called preparations in the Brazilian city — the first in South America to host the games — “the worst I have experienced.” Construction has just begun on a sports complex that will house 11 events. Still, Coates said, “There can be no Plan B; we are going to Rio.” [The New York Times]


10. Next Star Wars movie brings back original cast
Disney has revealed that the cast of the next Star Wars film will include original stars Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, and Carrie Fisher returning to their original 1977 roles as Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, and Princess Leia. The plot picks up three decades after the story in Return of the Jedi. The movie, which also stars a new crop of actors, is scheduled for world release in December 2015. [CNN]

Here’s What a Pro-Wrestling Script Looks Like

The WWE has an NSA problem. Someone is leaking scripts from backstage at the nation’s largest sports entertainment company, and it is really pissing off the company’s principal owner, Stephanie McMahon. As it should. Even though wrestling’s staginess is now openly celebrated, the company has to keep a fig-leaf of kayfabe over their goods, if only for the sake of mystery and history.

Reading through the script is fascinating if you’ve ever wondered how the hetero-flexible male soap opera is put together. For one thing, the play-by-play of the matches themselves, i.e. the wrestling, are not included in the TV script. Instead, the actual matches are denoted by a single line, “Match.” And then, referring to the series of moves and maneuvers that end the match, there’s “the finish.”

Isn’t wrestling scripted? Well, here’s the interesting thing: The wrestlers themselves, along with the match’s segment producer, usually a former wrestler, may plan out the rough sequence of events in advance. But only the rough sequence of events. Pro wrestlers are masters of physical improv. They don’t have time to write out and rehearse every body slam, clothesline, and Irish whip. In some cases, the two wrestlers will know who’s supposed to win, how long the match is supposed to take, and then plan out with their opponent the sequence of three or four moves that will make the finishing montage, ending with the pin (1-2-3), the count-out, the disqualification, or general mayhem.

What IS heavily scripted is the storyline. The wrestlers must weave into their matches the themes and angles that their characters are following. That means that matches aren’t random. If it’s a romance angle and there’s a girl at the ringside, the wrestler has to pine at the dame during the match. The cameras have to be ready to catch the pining. The announcers have to be ready to notice it and yammer about it. And so that pine is scripted.

In the old days, wrestlers would meet, and fans would be interested in knowing who wins and how. There were stories, but there were also plain old matches. Now, there are writers. Every match, every encounter, is designed to advance a character. And all the matches fit in to the general theme of the broadcast, which is given a title. For last week’s Raw, the backstage title was “The Evolution of Justice.” It’s a reference to two sets of wrestlers who are on a collision course.

Your WWE wrestling script begins with background: What happened the last time WWE played to this area. Knowing what the fans remember is very important motivation for the wrestlers.

Then there are the “dark matches.” Before WWE Raw goes live on the USA Network, WWE tapes two matches that will air exclusively on the company’s own TV network.

Then there’s the audience prep. Just like any TV show, the audience has to be conditioned to react to certain things. On April 14, WWE was going to mourn the death of the Ultimate Warrior, felled from a heart attack a few days before. So WWE announcer Jerry Lawler, who gets his own pre-event, full-stage introduction, is instructed to remind fans to put on their masks so that WWE can go live on the air with a tribute.

Then comes the first match. It’ll be interrupted by a commercial break, which is something that the wrestlers know — they can’t decide to go to “the finish” when the TV audience is watching a Pringles commercial. Match number one is between Rob Van Dam and Jack Del Rio. Of the action, the script simply says this:

Segment Two: RVD vs Albert Del Rio

Producer: John Laurinaitis


– Fade up with RVD in the ring — RVD Music Playing

– Alberto Del Rio Music Playing

– GRAPHIC: Intercontinental Championship #1 Contender’s Tournament Bracket — Starting tonight! Del Rio and RVD are both competitors in the tournament

– Match

– Crash to Break

The announcers know who will get “over,” i.e. win, but they don’t know how. This allows them to actually announce the action in the match legitimately.

The next segment takes us backstage. WWE executive vice president Paul “Triple H” Levesque has a live and entirely scripted-to-the-letter encounter with two other wrestlers. “Dave, Randy, I know you still want your title opportunity against Daniel Bryan. Daniel Bryan isn’t here tonight. And now we have even bigger problem on our hands. The Shield had the audacity to attack me last week…”

And on we go. (Imagine the writer deciding between “gall” and “audacity.”)

Page 16 of the script includes a checklist. Each element on the list must be mentioned and reinforced on the broadcast that night. In the case of this storyline, it must be noted that:

The Shield overcame Kane and New Outlaws at [Wrestlemania] 30.

Shield Save Bryan and Usos from Kane, Batista, and Orton on [Smackdown.] [This is the “attack” referred to above.]

Triple H forced Daniel Bryan to defend the WWE Title against Triple H after a brutal beatdown by Batista, Orton, and Kane.

Shield ran down for the save, bumped heels on Raw.

History: The Shield were looking to implode but became united against a common enemy.

Wrestling unions always have a lot of internal drama, so units like The Shield often do implode or explode, in order to advance the story.

The check list also includes a few mainstays. Every show needs to have a Holy Sh!T moment — so-called because the fans chant “Holy shit!” after seeing it. That’s usually a major “bump,” or a spot where a wrestler takes a particularly hard, gnarly, or creative hit.

And: “Is there humor on tonight’s show?”

There is of course ample attention paid to social media integration, to character development, and to event promotion, too.

SCOTUS Weighs Warrentless Cellphone Searches


The Supreme Court heard oral arguments Tuesday concerning the legality of policemen searching an arrested citizen’s cellphone without a warrant. The two cases, Riley v. California and United States v Wurie, solicited an hour each.

The AP reported:


“People carry their entire lives on their cellphones,” Justice Elena Kagan said.The court heard arguments in cases involving a drug dealer and a gang member whose convictions turned in part on evidence found on their cellphones.

The justices suggested they might favor limiting warrantless cellphone searches to looking for evidence of the crime on which an arrest is based. Both defendants could lose in such an outcome.

But such a ruling would allow the court to avoid subjecting people arrested for minor crimes to having all the contents of their cellphones open to police inspection.

If police should arrest someone for driving without a seatbelt, Justice Antonin Scalia said, “it seems absurd that they should be able to search that person’s iPhone.”

The Fourth Amendment protects individuals from “unreasonable searches and seizures” when a warrant is not presented. This is a basic privacy right. Cell phones are highly personal items with direct access to photographs, notes, emails, and even bank accounts. At the same time, these devices could reveal calls, email threads, and imperative information in pressing cases where obtaining a warrant could jeopardize the public safety.

According to Justice Anthony M. Kennedy in Riley v. California, the Court is merely seeking “some standard on where we draw the line.”

Armed Citizen Captures Would be Purse Snatchers at Gunpoint in Texas

The local media in Houston, TX is calling this armed citizen an armed good Samaritan, and rightly so.

The man interjected himself into a robbery in progress in order to protect a mother and her children from two would be robbers.

As seen on a local business’s security cameras, two assailants in a vehicle attempted to grab a woman’s purse and drive away. However the woman was still attached to her purse and was nearly drug around the parking lot.

The armed citizen, who was sitting in his car, got out, drew his firearm and pulled the suspects out of their car at gunpoint. He then forced them both to the ground and held them at gunpoint until police arrived.

The two suspects were arrested and the armed citizen bought some candy for his kids before leaving.

The manager of the store where this took place recounted the incident toKHOU,

“It happened so fast,” said Brenda Vasquez, who manages the Family Dollar store in the 3400 block of Orlando Avenue in northeast Houston.
She witnessed the assault.

“This lady opens her car door, grabs the woman’s purse and they reverse. While they’re trying to reverse, the lady is holding on to her purse still, chasing them all the way to the middle.”

“And that good Samaritan came out, drew his weapon and scared them. And that’s when he pulled them out of the car.”

It should be noted that this is the most common type of defensive gun use in which no shots were fired.

Materialistic People are More Likely to be Depressed and Unsatisfied

Exactly what is meant by materialismand who are the materialists? Most people equate materialism with consumerism, which is a factor for sure. But some consider any lack of recognizing the spiritual underpinnings of life and the interconnectedness of earthly and spiritual life forces as materialistic.

This is the category where most of our science and modern medicine exist. But it is is also where most of us are stuck in this illusory realm called reality.

A very memorable line from a favorite movie of mine,Little Big Man, is part of a conversation between the young white man living with Indians and the elder who had adopted him, who explains: “But the white man, they believe everything is dead. Stone, earth, animals. And people! Even their own people! If things keep trying to live, white man will rub them out.”

In other words, from the aboriginal perspective, all of nature, animate and inanimate, manifests from a subtle energy that is essential to all of life. Some call it God, some call it universal intelligence, divine wisdom or the creative forces of nature. The white man (modern cultures) doesn’t see it that way.

All things and most people must be replaced by man-made material invention or be greedily usurped and exploited while reducing the population. Modern pharmaceutical medicine is a perfect example of this shallow, short-sighted perspective that eliminates our connection to nature and the mystery of life.

It’s easier to look into consumerism only for materialism’s effects on human nature, as a recent study at Baylor University has done. It was titled “Why are materialists less happy? The role of gratitude and need satisfaction in the relationship between materialism and life satisfaction.”

The study was published in the journal Personality and Individual Differences, published by Elsevier, the same publisher that unethically retracted the notorious Seralini GMO and Roundup rat study.

What the Baylor bunch came up with

They concluded that materialism tends to be “me-centered” or narcissistic. A material outlook focuses on what one does not have, impairing the ability to be grateful for what one already has, researchers said. It could be added that focusing on what one doesn’t have can cause a ruthless desire to get it no matter what the consequences to others are.

It leads to the competitive mood typified by bumper stickers of the mid-1980s that sarcastically proclaimed, “He who dies with the most toys wins.” Add that to another line from the Gordon Gecko character in Oliver Stone’s Wall Street movie,”Greed is good.”

A wise spiritual leader, Swami Muktananda, once said greed is the most harmful of the seven deadly sins because it can affect so many.

“Gratitude is a positive mood. It’s about other people,” said study lead author Jo-Ann Tsang, Ph.D., associate professor of psychology and neuroscience at Baylor’s College of Arts and Sciences.

“Previous research that we and others have done finds that people are motivated to help people that help them — and to help others as well. We’re social creatures, and so focusing on others in a positive way is good for our health,” added Tsang.

The study analyzed answers to 15-minute surveys among 246 members, average age 21, of the department of marketing in a mid-sized private university in the southwestern United States. The questions were based on a 15-item scale of materialism.

Consumerist materialism leaves many unfulfilled while they convince themselves that getting the next bigger house and better car and clothes will make them content. This pervasive social milieu, once entered by those youngsters from that small private college, may lure them into a lower bracket on the 15-item scale of materialism than previously.

But the precursor to rampant consumerism is the materialism that refuses to look into or even acknowledge spirituality as the basis of all life, including us.

Sources for this article include: