January 2nd in history:
At the start of what turned out to be his last year in the White House, President Richard Nixon signed a national speed limit bill on January 2nd, 1974. The speed limit was set at 55 mph nationwide, to save gasoline during an energy shortage.
Nixon was vice president in January of 1960, and he became the Republican nominee that year to succeed lame-duck president Dwight Eisenhower. On January 2nd of 1960, Nixon’s eventual Democratic opponent, Senator John F. Kennedy, launched his presidential campaign.
Kennedy won the 1960 election, but did not live to run again in 1964. While many people thought Nixon might run for president again in ’64, the GOP nomination that year went to Arizona Senator Barry Goldwater — who was born on January 2nd of 1909.
November 3 in history:
It may be the most famous wrong headline in newspaper history…”DEWEY DEFEATS TRUMAN.” Based on the early returns on election night in 1948, the Chicago Tribune published the first edition of its November 3rd paper with the Dewey headline. Later in the night, incumbent President Harry Truman won a full term by defeating Republican Thomas Dewey. Shortly after the election, Truman happily posed for a picture, holding up the incorrect headline.
We know for a fact that presidents elected on November 3rd include Franklin D. Roosevelt (second term) in 1936, Bill Clinton defeating President George H.W. Bush in 1992, and Lyndon Johnson winning a full term with a victory over Barry Goldwater in 1964.
“The Andy Griffith Show” was a top 10 hit in 1964…and in every year that it was on CBS. Two cast members of the Griffith show and its spinoff, “Mayberry RFD,” both were born on November 3rd in 1933. Aneta Corsaut played Mayberry schoolteacher Helen Crump, who dated and then married Sheriff Andy Taylor. Ken Berry was brought in to play town councilman Sam Jones, who became the main character on “Mayberry RFD” when Griffith ended his own show in 1968. Berry also starred on “F Troop” and “Mama’s Family.”
July 15th in history:
The middle of July is a popular time for political parties to choose their presidential candidates. President Harry Truman accepted the Democratic nomination on July 15th of 1948, and Jimmy Carter gave his acceptance speech during the 1976 Democratic convention on the 15th. Bill Clinton won the nomination on July 15th, 1992 at the Democratic convention, and Republican Barry Goldwater was nominated on this day during the Republican convention in 1964.
Goldwater’s nomination happened on the 26th birthday of his son, Barry Goldwater Jr., who was born in Arizona and later served as a Republican Congressman from California for seven terms. Another Arizona native, singer Linda Ronstadt, was born on July 15th of 1946.
Linda Ronstadt is famous for recording rock songs and Spanish-language albums. A language barrier was broken on this date in 1799 when a rock known as the “Rosetta Stone” was discovered in Egypt. The stone has the same message printed three times, in hieroglyphics and two other languages, allowing experts to translate Egyptian sign language.
Some folks might need a Rosetta stone to figure out abbreviations used in messages on Twitter (LOL). The internet service limiting messages (“tweets”) to 140 characters was launched July 15th, 2006.