December 29

In 1989, Vaclav Havel became the president of Czechoslovakia. He served as president until 1993 when Slovakia and the Czech Republic were formed. He then became the first president of the Czech Republic until 2003. Havel first rose to prominence as a playwright within the Prague Theater. He participated in the Prague Spring in 1968 and was then blacklisted after the Soviet invasion. Havel then turned to politics as a dissident and spent several years in prison. After becoming president, he was instrumental in dismantling the Warsaw Pact and the expansion of NATO into Eastern Europe. Among his many awards have been the Presidential Medal of Freedom, The Gandhi Peace Prize, and the Order of Canada. Havel died in 2011 at the age of 75,

 

In 1998, the remaining leaders of the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia apologized for the genocide of over a million countrymen. Most of the leaders had been caught or surrendered by this time and the organization ceased to exist. From 1975-1979 the Khmer Party ruled the nation and changed the name to Kampuchea and allied them with neighboring communist Vietnam. Pol Pot was its most notorious leader. While in power, the Khmer Rouge attempted agricultural reforms that led to widespread famine and disease. Khmer Rouge opponents were tortured and executed in large numbers. This period in Cambodia is often referred to as “the killing fields.” The Khmer Rouge had been formed in 1968 and supported North Vietnam is its struggles against South Vietnam and the United States. It fled the country in 1979 when the People’s Republic of Kampuchea was formed.

 

The 2007 New England Patriots of the NFL completed an undefeated regular season with a victory over the New York Giants by a score of 38-35. The game was held at Giants Stadium in the Meadowlands of New Jersey. They won the AFC Eastern Division for the fifth time in six years. The 1972 Miami Dolphins had won all 14 of their games to be the first team to have an undefeated season and the Dolphins went on to win the Super Bowl. The Patriots were upset by the Giants in the Super Bowl that year to ruin an undefeated season. Leading the Patriots during the 2007 season were Tom Brady, Randy Moss, Wes Welker, Tedy Bruschi, and Vince Wilfork.

 

Birthdays Today

 

1917Tom Bradley, American lieutenant, lawyer, and politician, 38th Mayor of Los Angeles (d. 1998)

1936Mary Tyler Moore, American actress and singer

1936Ray Nitschke, American football player (d. 1998)

1938Jon Voight, American actor and producer

1947Ted Danson, American actor and producer

1959Patricia Clarkson, American actress

1959Paula Poundstone, American comedian, actress, and author

Larry Moskal began his career as a Social Studies teacher in 1971. He graduated from the University of Buffalo with degrees in history and education. Larry taught Social Studies for the Ken-Ton School system, a suburban school system north of Buffalo, New York until 2005, and then taught and was the Dean of Students at San Miguel High School in Tucson. At Ken-Ton, he pioneered several online courses for high school students. In the 1980s, he spent three years teaching in Colombia, South America and spent four years at Lewiston-Porter High School. He currently is the PowerSchool Administrator for San Miguel accomplishing his work over the Internet.