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This Day in History – July 6th – Hijinx, Humor, and Insight


NewsWhistle is pleased to feature Gary Jenneke’s “This Day In History” column.

You can read the original at Gary’s THIS DAY IN HISTORY blog — or scroll down to enjoy Gary’s unique look at life’s comings and goings.




1935 – Wagner Act goes into effect.

Signed by President Franklin Roosevelt the previous day, it was also called the National Relations Labor Act. One of the reforms of the New Deal, the act allowed workers the right to organize, strike, and bargain collectively. Unions became a significant force in the workplace and helped establish economic rights for a new middle class. Written by Senator Robert Wagner of New York, it was intended to ban unfair labor practices and exploitation of workers by employers. Opposed by the Republican Party at the time, its effect was later weakened by the Taft-Hartley Act of 1947.

Workers’ rights? What an absurd notion. It’s a good thing the current Republican Party has reemerged to protect national order, and to reassure us that workers don’t need rights or unions, and will be adequately compensated by excessive profits that trickle down.


1936 – Heat wave.

114 degrees in Moorhead. Highest temperature ever recorded in Minnesota. 121 degrees in Steele. Highest temperature ever recorded in South Dakota. Records that haven’t been touched for eighty-three years.

So there. Chalk one up for the global warming deniers.


2016 – In the St. Paul, Minnesota suburb of Falcon Heights, Philando Castille is shot.

Pulled over by the police, Castille was in the car with his girlfriend and her four-year-old daughter. Castille informed the police officer he had a firearm in the car, which he had a permit to carry, the officer told him not to reach for it, Castille said he wasn’t, then the officer drew his own pistol and fired seven shots at Castille at point blank distance. (Seven times?) Castille was hit with five of the shots. Diamond Reynolds, Castille’s girlfriend, began live streaming the incident on Facebook. Castille died about twenty minutes after being shot. The stated reason for stopping Castille was that he had a broad nose, the same as a suspect in a liquor store robbery earlier in the day. (Hmmm) No first aid assistance was offered Castille as he sat bleeding to death in the car. The officer was screaming at Reynolds, and she was trying to calm him down. Reynolds, also African-American, was arrested, handcuffed, and along with her four-year-old daughter, placed in a squad car. (Hmmm) The little girl is heard telling her mother not to cuss, so, in her words, she won’t get shooted, too. (A four-year-old had more presence of mind than a trained officer.)

The officer later stated he smelled marijuana as he approached the car, and that anybody who would endanger the lungs of a four-year-old by smoking marijuana, was a threat to the officer. (Huh?) The Ramsey County DA brought manslaughter charges against the police officer, and in a trial a year later, the officer was acquitted. (Surprise) Almost immediately after the trial the officer was fired from the department.

This story, which played out not too many miles from my house, is so wrong at just about every level, other than the cop getting fired, that it still upsets me. Those defenders of 2nd Amendment rights, the NRA, made no comment on the incident.



1911 – LaVerne Andrews.

Born in Mound, Minnesota, LaVerne was the eldest of the famed singing trio, the Andrews Sisters. The sisters, LaVerne, Maxene, and Patty, began singing together as children. They worked in vaudeville and toured with dance bands until they hit the national scene in the mid-1930s. They were most popular pre WWII and during the war. Two of their biggest hits were “Boogie Woogie Bugler Boy” and “Don’t Sit Under the Apple Tree.” They entertained GIs in North Africa and Italy and also performed at military hospitals. Their star faded in the 1950s and the trio broke up. They continued performing separately until LaVerne died of cancer in 1967.

Not as big as, say, Bob Dylan or Prince, but in the 1940s, the Andrews Sisters did Minnesota proud.


1921 – Nancy Reagan.

Hollywood actress and 1st Lady. Wife of President Reagan, she actively promoted and facilitated his presidency. It was revealed at the time that she consulted with an astrologer before planning her husband’s schedule. She was also instrumental in an anti-recreational drug campaign which she labeled “Just Say No.”

At the time of Reagan’s presidency I was working at a counter-culture, workers-owned restaurant. We had some issues with workers being stoned during their shifts. So the New Riverside Cafe initiated its own drug campaign and workers walked around wearing buttons that said: “Just Say Later.”


1921 – Dmitri Polyakov.

Russian spy. Born in Ukraine, Polyakov was a decorated artillery officer in WWII. After the war he joined the GRU, the Soviet military intelligence agency. In 1961 he began passing along secrets to the CIA. His motivation was not money, but in his own words, his love for Russia. He had become disillusioned with the Soviet system and its corruption. He also feared the U.S. was naive and in danger of losing the Cold War. Of all the spies the CIA recruited, Polyakov was the most valuable because he rose to the rank of general within the GRU. The U.S. was able to see deep into the Soviet military system and learned they feared war as much as we did, and Polyakov is credited with helping the Cold War from ever growing hot.  He also provided information about the Sino-Soviet dissent that allowed President Nixon to realize that China was approachable.

A CIA agent, nervous for his safety, offered Polyakov refuge in America. His reply.”Don’t wait for me. I am never going to the United States. I am not doing this for you. I am doing this for my country.” He also understood his fate, if discovered, was an unmarked grave. And that, sadly, is exactly what happened. Summoned back to Moscow, he simply disappeared. It was later learned he was executed, probably in the usual KGB manner of a bullet to the back on the head, on March 15th, 1988. He had been betrayed by Aldrich Ames, a CIA agent secretly working for the KGB.

Can’t help but wonder if it was our new, and trusted, Russian friend, former KGB agent, Vladimir Putin, who pulled the trigger.



At various junctures of his life, Gary has been an indifferent grade school student, poor high school student, good Navy radioman, one-time hippie, passable college student, inveterate traveler, dedicated writer, miscast accountant (except for one interesting stint at a Communist café), part-time screenwriting teacher, semi-proud veteran, unsuccessful retiree and new blogger.

You can reach him at



The above information was sourced from the following sites and newspapers.



We’d also like to thank the following photographers and videographers for the use of their images:

* Lead-In Image (Apple Tree)  – Smileus /

* The Andrews Sisters, “Don’t Sit Under The Apple Tree” (video) – Bleiddwen Lupin /

* Nancy Reagan (video) – CBS This Morning /

* Outro (Man-In-Museum Cartoon) – SkyPics Studio /



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* Stay tuned for more!