June 20

The Moscow-Washington “hotline” was established in 1963. It allowed direct communication between the leaders of the Soviet Union and the United States. Actually this communication link was not a red telephone, but Teletype equipment that linked the Pentagon with the Kremlin. In 1988, a fax machine replaced the Teletype and in 2008, it became a secure computer link using email. One idea behind its implementation was that the spoken word could lead to miscommunication and misperceptions. Written communications could be translated on both ends of the hotline. The first use of the system involved test messages sent both ways in 1963 to make sure the system was working. The system was also used in 1967 during the Six Day War, in 1971 during the Indo-Pakistani War, in 1973 during the Yom Kippur War, and in 1979 when the Russians invaded Afghanistan.

In 1972, during the Watergate scandal, an 18 and a half-minute gap appeared in on section of a tape recording. Rose Mary Woods, Nixon’s secretary said she accidently erased this section of tape while she was transcribing it. She claimed she pushed the record button instead of the play button by mistake. It is believed that the missing section contained a conversation between Nixon and his Chief of Staff H.R. Haldeman that perhaps covered the arrests at the Watergate Hotel. The National Archives now contains the tapes and several recovery attempts have failed. Listen to the tapes here.

In 2001, Andrea Yates drowned all five of her children in a bathtub in Houston, Texas. She had been suffering from postpartum depression for some time and had attempted suicide in 1999. She confessed to drowning her children. In March 2002, a jury found her guilty of murder and a judge rejected the death penalty. Yates was sentenced to life imprisonment with parole a possibility after 40 years. A second trial in 2006 reversed the conviction and found her not guilty by reason of insanity and was sent to a low security state medical hospital in Kerrville, Texas.

Birthdays Today

1924Chet Atkins, American singer-songwriter, guitarist, and producer (d. 2001)
1924Audie Murphy, American lieutenant and actor Medal of Honor recipient (d. 1971)
1928Martin Landau, American actor
1931Olympia Dukakis, American actress
1942Brian Wilson, American singer-songwriter and producer (The Beach Boys)
1945Anne Murray, Canadian singer and guitarist
1946 Bob Vila, American television host
1949Lionel Richie, American singer-songwriter, pianist, producer, and actor (Commodores)

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.