Today in History – September 19

1988 – On September 19, 1988, just one day after sustaining a head injury in a frightening accident, American diver Greg Louganis wins gold in the springboard competition at the Summer Olympics, in Seoul, South Korea. It was his second consecutive Olympic gold in the event.

Louganis fought through his nerves to nail all 11 of his dives, proving that he was still the best diver in the world. Louganis also won repeat gold in the men’s platform competition, becoming the first man ever to win consecutive golds in both events.

On October 2, Louganis was awarded the United States Olympic Committee Spirit Award and later announced his retirement from competition to pursue an acting career.

In 1995, Louganis confirmed that he was suffering from the AIDS virus.

1957 – The United States detonates a 1.7 kiloton nuclear weapon in an underground tunnel at the Nevada Test Site (NTS), a 1,375 square mile research center located 65 miles north of Las Vegas.  The test, known as Rainier, was the first fully contained underground detonation and produced no radioactive fallout. A modified W-25 warhead weighing 218 pounds and measuring 25.7 inches in diameter and 17.4 inches in length was used for the test. Rainier was part of a series of 29 nuclear weapons and nuclear weapons safety tests known as Operation Plumbbob that were conducted at the NTS between May 28, 1957, and October 7, 1957.

1957’s Operation Plumbbob took place at a time when the U.S. was engaged in a Cold War and nuclear arms race with the Soviet Union. In 1963, the U.S. signed the Limited Test Ban Treaty, which banned nuclear weapons testing in the atmosphere, underwater and outer space. A total of 928 tests took place at the Nevada Test Site between 1951 and 1992, when the U.S. conducted its last underground nuclear test.

1873 – One of the worst financial depressions in American History. On September 19, 1873 (Black Friday), the New York Stock Exchange announced that important investment banking firm of Jay Cooke & Company had collapsed after investing too heavily in railroad securities. The collapse of such an influential company affected the entire stock market, and soon other large firms failed. By 1875, about 500,000 men were unemployed, and wage cuts for other workers precipitated a wave of strikes and labor violence. And not until the end of 1870’s did the U.S economy improve.  The original Black Friday was on Sept. 24, 1869.

20 Responses

  1. I remember watching when Louganis hit his head. If I remember correcty, he actually got a non-zero score for that dive, which I never understood. How can you hit your head on the diving board and thus go into the water with just a flop, and not get 0.00 for a score?


  2. I remember him hitting his head as well but don’t remember about the score. I enjoy watching diving but the Chinese are so dominant now that the competition part of it isn’t so much fun anymore. Amazing what these kids can do though.

    I thought the nuclear testing was interesting as well. There was a period in those years, 50’s to early 60’s, that were the height of “duck and cover”. There is speculation in my husband’s family that his father’s leukemia, which killed him in his 50’s, was caused by nuclear testing during the war in NV where he was actually building a pool for the officers as an enlisted engineer. They could never prove it so it’s just family legend now.


    • lms:

      The only reason I remember the score thing is that it struck me at the time how nuts it was that he didn’t get zero, and I took it as confirmation of my sense that the scoring was always rigged in favor of the favorites anyway, something that I think continues to this day and why I hate sports competitions that depend upon a panel of subjective judges (gymnastics, skating, diving) rather than an obejctive competition where there is no doubt about who won or lost.

      On the nuclear testing, my research for the daily history post over the last month has really driven home how much of that was going on. At least once or twice a week there is a listing for this or that country doing some kind of historic nuclear test somewhere. Pretty striking.


  3. I agree about the subjective judging but I still enjoy watching them. I look at it like it’s a performance. I do feel sorry for the competitors who get the shaft though and there always seems to be a few.

    We knew people when I was young who built bomb shelters in their yards. My dad wasn’t having any of it though. He was way too practical and knew too much to believe that would save us.


  4. Scott:

    I don’t know if the system is still the same, but at that time part of the scoring system was the diver’s body position when coming off the board. That’s why the non-zero score.


  5. Mark: Not so far as I know. I know for sure that in gymnastics they don’t.


  6. Cool, Vitter rightly calls fellow LA Senator a liar.!/entry/republican-accuses-fellow-lawmakers-of-lying-about-obamacare-exemption,523b31e1da27f5d9d022db20/1

    Don’t normally see Senators from the same state slap each other around, even if they’re from the same party. It’s good to see, as collegiality has gotten us $16 Trillion in debt.


    • McWiing…. RE: Republican accuses fellow lawmakers of lying about Obamacare exemption.

      First of all, they are required to participate in the PPACA. Secondly, the subsidy they get is equivalent to the subsidy they currently get associated with their Federal Employee health insurance plan.

      They are not exempt and they are getting the same subsidy as they currently do. What is the lying part? Or is the whole point of the article really that they currently are, and have for decades, been provided with this subsidy for health insurance all along?


  7. Absolutely fascinating exchange between Admiral Mullens and Rep. Gowdy about a “weak” witness for the State Department re the Benghazi Non-Scandel.!/entry/republican-accuses-fellow-lawmakers-of-lying-about-obamacare-exemption,523b31e1da27f5d9d022db20/1



  8. Thanks Scott,

    Here is the correct link about the Non-Scandel and the State Departments “weak” witness.


    • This is just fantastic: Benjamin Franklin on farting.


      • Interesting stuff from Taranto yesterday on the press’s role in the whole IRS discriinating against conservative groups fiasco.

        A staff memo released earlier this week by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee provides an “interim update” on the investigation of the IRS scandal. A central finding: “Media attention caused the IRS to treat conservative-oriented tax-exempt applications differently” from liberal or progressive ones.

        The memo presents no evidence that the White House directly ordered the IRS to crack down on political opponents. Instead, it is consistent with the theory, described here in May, that IRS personnel responded to “dog whistles” (in Peggy Noonan’s metaphor) in public statements from the president and his supporters.


  9. Taranto is describing the nightmare scenario, a bureaucracy that is self-aware and independent of oversight.

    Ah well, some new regulations will fix it.


  10. Hi Geanie,

    I hope all is well with you.

    The law did not specifically grant them subsidies, they got them by regulatory fiat. It’s a similar situation to states that did not setup their own exchanges, they are specifically excluded from receiving federal subsidies.


    • Hi Troll.
      I’m hanging in there. Here is my status: Still waiting for response to my SS disability claim appeal. Had to have a new MRI on neck… doc says “yep, you still have nerves and an artery being pinched”… left foot pretty much healed since it was hurt by falling due to pinched artery 14 weeks ago.. but, it’s not healed properly.. toes still won’t work and it feels like there’s a solid brick in my foot… I can walk on it, but steps have to be small and foot doesn’t “bend” with a step… so I limp… an MRI coming up for it soon I believe…. and woke up Sunday morning with sciatic nerve in lower back pinched causing lower back and right hip/leg pain… cannot stand up straight….it’s not letting loose either… and neck is just as bad as ever.. pinched nerves there are causing a lot of neck, shoulder and arm/hand pains (both left and right). But I am being patient, it’s all I can be… and can’t wait to sign up for ACA on the Federal exchange since OK refused… and hopefully get something done early next year.

      Concerning the ACA and Congress, etc…. yes, it was not in the bill initially, but due to debates of how it would affect the staffers, not necessarily the congressmen an President… it was decided to continue with the same subsidy they have now.

      Yea, I wish they were participating just like the rest of us… but to say they are exempt is a lie, subsidy or not.


  11. Hang in there Geanie!

    I disagree with the “lie” portion, semantics I suppose. Bottom line, I don’t want them getting subsidies that they were specifically denied by law, and for them to get subsidies means they’re “exempt” to my way of thinking. I don’t think that the government will collapse with less staffers, most of whom, within a couple of years will be earning in the mid to high 6 figures within a short number of years by lobbying.


    • I did say I agree that they should be treated just like the rest of us. But you gotta watch the “exempt” thing cause too many take that as “they are exempt from participating” instead of “they are receiving better subsidies” than the rest of us. Yes, it’s all in semantics. But I DO agree with you guys.


  12. “it was decided to continue with the same subsidy they have now.”

    I note your use of the passive voice here. The root of the issue is whether or not the administration had the authority to make this decision.

    Note that they would have been eligible for the low income subsidies that are provided for by the PPACA, but since the staffers all make too much money, that wouldn’t have helped much.

    This was a special carve out for Congress done by administrative fiat.


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