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The First Time News Was Fit To Print, XXXI

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Every Monday, we venture into the archives of The New York Times to find the first time the paper covered various topics. If you have a suggestion for next week, leave us a comment.

Personal Computer

November 3, 1962

Pocket Computer May Replace Shopping List
first-computer.jpg Pocket-size computers may eliminate the housewife's weekly shopping list. Electronic communication would tell the store in advance what she needed. She would simply pick up the bundles.

This was envisioned today by Dr. John W. Mauchly, inventor of some of the original room-size computers [pictured], who has developed one the size of a suitcase and is now working on a pocket variety.
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Dr. Mauchly also predicted the day when a headwaiter could accurately forecast the cocktail a person wanted merely by matching the drinker's characteristics against preferences recorded in his own pocket computer...."There is no reason to suppose the average boy or girl cannot be a master of a personal computer," he said.

[Thanks to reader Mark for the suggestion.]

Pokemon

December 18, 1997

TV Cartoon's Flashes Send 700 Japanese Into Seizures
pokemon.jpgIn a bizarre illustration of the medical effects that television can have on viewers, more than 700 people were taken to hospitals after having been affected by flashing lights on an animated television show broadcast Tuesday night.

Some children vomited blood and others had seizures or lost consciousness. No one died, though, and no one is expected to. Producers of the cartoon, which is highly popular among kindergarten and primary school children, say that they were stumped over how an animation technique that has been used ''hundreds of times'' could cause such a widespread, violent reaction.
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Television Tokyo announced Wednesday that it will investigate the problem and said it would cancel other broadcasts of this episode of the program, which is nicknamed Pokemon.

[Thanks to reader C. Bukowski for the suggestion.]

Keep reading for Tucker Carlson, Vietnam War, Tracy McGrady and True Romance...

Tucker Carlson

September 13, 1998

Is There Room on a Republican Ticket for Another Bush?
tucker.jpg George Walker Bush was visiting his parents in the White House one day when the talk turned to religion, which is precisely the subject that some powerful factions in the Republican Party want their Presidential standard-bearer to talk about, forcefully, in 2000. But Bush, sitting one day recently on a sofa in the Governor's office at the Texas State Capitol, says he is "cautious about wearing my religion on my sleeve in the political process."
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In a generally laudatory piece about Bush's campaign for values in this summer's edition of City Journal, a publication of the conservative Manhattan Institute, Tucker Carlson suggested that Bush may in fact be the perfect spokesman for "the politics of virtue."

"Before his marriage, Bush had a reputation (from all accounts, deserved) as something of a wild man," Carlson wrote. "When he speaks, it is as a grizzled veteran of the sexual revolution. But he is a changed man."

Vietnam War

August 9, 1950

Vietnam War Rages Near Saigon; Rebels Harry Outlying Suburbs
vietnam.jpgHere, only twenty miles from the heart of the city, the suburbs of crowded, cosmopolitan Saigon merge into the embattled countryside of Vietnam. Continuous warfare reigns in this rural land of flat, green rice fields, vegetable gardens, palm groves and bamboo shaded villages.

The protagonists are ruthless raiding Vietminh bands, based in the vast near-by marshlands of the Plaine des Joncs, and the pacification forces of Vietnam and France.

Operating from an intricate network of block-houses, the heavily barricaded garrison centers of the French-Vietnam units wage an incessant struggle against Vietminh ambushes, road mining, night assaults, sabotage and terrorism. They manage to enforce an effective measure of peace and order.

[Thanks to reader Julia for the suggestion.]

Tracy McGrady

June 20, 1997

Payday Before the Draft
tracy-mcgrady.jpgTracy McGrady has never played a college game, but he is making a multimillion-dollar leap into the big leagues. The money is not coming from the National Basketball Association, but from Adidas.

Sonny Vaccaro, a director of sports marketing with Adidas, said McGrady, 18, signed a deal worth up to $2 million a year, depending on variables such as his performance and his team's performance in the National Basketball Association.

True Romance

September 10, 1993

Desperadoes, Young at Heart With Gun in Hand
true-romance.jpgTrue Romance, a vibrant, grisly, gleefully amoral road movie directed by Tony Scott and dominated by the machismo of Quentin Tarantino (who wrote this screenplay before he directed Reservoir Dogs), is sure to offend a good-sized segment of the moviegoing population. But those viewers are the ones who would never go to see a film starring Christian Slater in the first place, and who have no taste for the malevolently funny bad-boy posturing that is the very essence of True Romance.
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Also in True Romance, and squaring off for a monumental cool-dude showdown midway through the story, are Dennis Hopper as Clarence's father and Christopher Walken as a debonair mafioso. Mr. Hopper at first seems wasted in the role of a security guard, but he becomes his familiar self after he is tortured briefly and subjected to Mr. Walken's long, sly, deadpan monologue. Rising calmly to the occasion, Mr. Hopper offers a calculated racial remark that is offensive without being entirely gratuitous; his comments do have an obvious dramatic purpose. This film's various outrages are committed unapologetically, and are very much in the service of its bizarre story.

Our Archives

"¢ Volume I: Barack Obama, Microsoft, iPod
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Old News: Very Early Media Coverage of the GOP Candidates
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Every week, I used to wander into the New York Times archives to find the first time the paper covered various topics (like The Walkman). In honor of tonight's Iowa Caucus, we're bringing back "The First Time News Was Fit to Print." Here are the first times The Times mentioned each of the remaining GOP candidates.

Mitt Romney

February 28, 1960

A Maverick Starts a New 'Crusade'
mitt-and-george.jpgGeorge Romney feels that he has pat across the compact car. Now he is turning his missionary fervor to a campaign to reshape American political institutions.


The man who made the compact car big competition for Detroit's land yachts is crusading against bigness on an even bigger scale these days. George Romney, the almost terrifyingly earnest head of the American Motors Corporation, has moved from his conquest of the gas-guzzling dinosaur into a battle to break up the concentration of economic power embodied in giant companies and giant unions.
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He speaks with equal disrespect of the ranking politicians of both major parties when it comes to their readiness to face up to what he considers the make-or-break issues in America's survival.
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George Romney considers talking his wife out of a movie career his greatest sales achievement. They are shown here with their children, Mitt, Jane and Scott.

[Well, not here. This picture is from two years later, when George announced he was running for President. To see the picture referenced here, you'll have to check out the original article.]

Ron Paul

April 28, 1976

Big Victory by Bentsen Called Vital to Re-election
ron-paul.jpg
John B. Connally, the popular former Democratic Governor [of Texas], was credited in 1970 with pushing Mr. [Lloyd] Bentsen to victory over Mr. [George] Bush [in the Senate race]. Mr. Connally, now a Republican, helped a politically unknown gynecologist, Dr. Ron Paul, upset a liberal Democrat, Bob Gammage, in a race last month to fill the unexpired 22d Congressional District seat vacated by Democrat Bob Casey, who has been appointed to the Federal Maritime Commission.

Rick Santorum

November 7, 1990

The 1990 Elections: State by State
In an upset, Representative Doug Walgren, a seven-term Democratic Congressman from Pittsburgh, lost to a political neophyte, Richard Santorum, a 32-year-old Republican lawyer who ran on an anti-incumbent theme.

Michele Bachmann

September 24, 2006

Campaign in Crisis Mode (by Charles Baxter)
While my assignment was to write about Minnesota’s important Senate race, I think there’s more to be learned right now from the far closer contest in Minnesota’s Sixth Congressional District, which borders Minneapolis-St. Paul to the east, north and west. The race, between Michele Bachmann, the Republican, and Patty Wetterling, the Democrat, has revealed a Bush-era national trend now visible locally.
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Terrorism has infected every subject and every discussion, even locally. Alarmism has become so ubiquitous in discussions of Iraq, the decline of the family and financing for Social Security and education that polarization is assured. Extremity, after all, is more newsworthy than good sense.

This outlook has the effect of trivializing most local issues — who cares about farm-price supports when radical Muslims want to make Stillwater part of the caliphate? And it ensures that the volume will always be turned up to 11 — at least until everybody begins to suffer crisis fatigue and tries to calm down.

Newt Gingrich

November 2, 1974

Divided GOP in Georgia Facing a Rout on Tuesday
In another House race, however, Republicans may be able to take some comfort. In the state's Sixth District, suburban Atlanta, the 10-term Democratic mainstay who ran unopposed in 1972, faces a strong challenge from a 31-year-old history professor, Newt Gingrich. Although Mr. Flynt is favored, he is facing some difficulty because he is now running in a redrawn district in which his strength has not yet been tested.

[Note: Gingrich narrowly lost.]

Rick Perry

November 8, 1990

Farm Chief's Foe Has the Last Laugh
The Texas Agriculture Commissioner with the Borscht Belt sense of humor is out. Jim Hightower, a two-term incumbent known as an advocate of enlightened farming as well as one of the funniest figures in American politics, was defeated Tuesday by Rick Perry, a 40-year-old rancher and farmer.
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Katie Dickie, Mr. Perry's press secretary, said today that her candidate "took a lot of angry farmers, banded them together, raised money in places like Garden City, Sterling City, the small places all across Texas, East Texas and West Texas."

She added, "Rick wants to refocus the department on mainstream agriculture."

Jon M. Huntsman, Jr.

July 22, 1998

Nova of Canada to Purchase Huntsman Styrene Business
The Nova Corporation of Canada will acquire the bulk of the styrene operations of the Huntsman Corporation for $860 million (United States) in cash and preferred stock, the companies announced yesterday.
*
For Huntsman, of Salt Lake City, the largest privately held chemical company in the United States, the deal represents a chance to pay down debt and to increase funds to homeless shelters and other charities that its ownership family has long supported.

In particular, it will let Huntsman funnel more than $100 million into research on genetic predispositions to cancer. Jon M. Huntsman [the candidate's father], the company's chairman, lost both his parents to cancer and has had two bouts with the disease himself.
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Under the terms of yesterday's deal, Huntsman will receive $625 million in cash, and $235 million of nonvoting preferred shares, which can be converted to a maximum of 10 million common shares of Nova stock in two years. Nova will also assume $60 million of Huntsman's debt. After the deal, Huntsman will become Nova's largest shareholder.

Mr. Huntsman expects the two companies to combine some purchasing operations and to seek ways to combine product lines and operations. His son, Jon M. Hunstman Jr., will sit on Nova's board.

More First Mentions Worth Mentioning...

Greatest Hits of 2007 (Walkman, Email, Jerry Seinfeld and more)
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Greatest Hits of 2008 (Princess Diana, Personal Computer, John McCain and more)
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See all the previous installments of The First Time News Was Fit To Print
*
November 3, 2007: Appearance on NPR Weekend Edition Saturday

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10 Headlines from 9/11/01
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We spent the summer of 2001 chastising Gary Condit, mourning Mr. Belvedere, and pardoning Microsoft. But on the second Tuesday of September, a mere twenty months after widespread wisecracks about the world ending on Y2K, it felt like the world did. I've been reading through the online archives of The New York Times from September 11, 2001, to see what was in the news the morning of the attacks. Here are some of the headlines:

1. Taliban Suicide Bombers Target Deposed Afghan Leaders

"If the would-be assassins were indeed Arabs, as the United Front asserted, the fact would lend credibility to those who contend that foreigners, including Osama bin Laden, are playing an ever bigger decision-making role among the Taliban."

2. Washington: Rumsfeld Attacks Bureaucracy

"Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said that he was declaring war on bureaucracy in the Pentagon and that he wanted to combine some civilian and military staffs, cut duplication in the military services and shift some jobs to the private sector."

3. Senator Joe Biden attacks President Bush on Missile Defense

"Mr. Biden has fastened onto missile defense as the centerpiece of his critique of Bush foreign policy. In part, that is because the system is almost the sole focus of the administration's foreign policy... 'Are we willing to end four decades of arms control agreements, and go it alone, a kind of bully nation, sometimes a little wrongheaded, but ready to make unilateral decisions in what we perceive to be our self-interest?' Mr. Biden said in his speech at the National Press Club."

4. Michael Jordan to Unretire (Again)?

"Jordan is either getting ready to return to the N.B.A. at the age of 38 or he is setting up the sports world for a letdown of legendary proportion. Either way, the drama builds. Speaking with three reporters, Jordan said he was less than 10 days away from a news conference in Washington announcing his decision."

5. Grand Jury Declines Request For Inquiry into Condit Matter

"A grand jury has rejected a flight attendant's request that it investigate her complaint that Representative Gary A. Condit obstructed justice by asking her to sign an affidavit falsely stating that they did not have an affair....Anne Marie Smith, 40, said that she and Mr. Condit had a 10-month romance and that his intermediaries tried to get her to sign an affidavit denying the affair....Ms. Smith's link with Mr. Condit became public after the disappearance in Washington of Chandra Ann Levy, a 24-year-old government intern from Modesto, on May 1. Mr. Condit, 53, is not considered a suspect in the disappearance, but he acknowledged having had a relationship with Ms. Levy."

6. Mayoral Candidates Crisscross City Seeking Last Few Votes

"The six major candidates running to succeed Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani ranged across the city yesterday in the final burst of politicking before the polls open today. Dodging late summer downpours, the candidates hit neighborhoods where they thought they might be able to eek out just a few more votes. Crossing and crisscrossing the boroughs -- sometimes missing one anothers' campaigns by just minutes -- it seemed as though the six candidates were out to shake every hand in the city."

7. Broncos Win Game, Lose Receiver

"The New York Giants did not upset the festive Denver atmosphere as the Broncos christened their noisy new home with a loud and thorough 31-20 rout. The game's outcome seem to hinge on a gruesome injury to Denver's Pro Bowl wide receiver Ed McCaffrey, who broke his lower left leg early in the third quarter."

8. Disco Near Auschwitz to Close

"The owner of a building now used as a disco but once a tannery where Nazis sorted the luggage and clothes of Jews at Auschwitz said he would not renew the club's lease when it expires in November."

9. U.S. Blacklists Paramilitaries in Colombia

"Being put on the State Department list of terrorist groups means that financial support for the organization is illegal. The action also makes it easier for the United States to seize assets, an important factor because investigators here estimate that the paramilitary groups have hundreds of millions of dollars in foreign bank accounts."

10. Thomas Friedman on Terror in Israel

"You drive south...and there is another long concrete wall blocking snipers from hitting Gilo, but also sealing in Gilo. There are Hebrew posters all over this wall that read: 'The New Middle East.' Some Israeli coffee shops now have security guards at the door to deter suicide bombers."

See previous installments of 'The First Time News Was Fit To Print.'

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