Fifty years ago, President Kennedy hosted a Columbus Day ceremony in the Rose Garden, and I was there. Fourteen-year-old me, with my family. This was a fluke. The President had cracked a politically uncool Mafia joke a few days before. Not wanting to offend Italian-American voters, the White House quickly mounted a charm offensive — inviting government workers like my dad, with Italian surnames like Mondello, to celebrate a great Italian explorer, with the president himself.
So far, the tobacco industry has paid more than $100 billion to state governments as part of a settlement. While smoking is down among young people and even adults in some areas, it's still unclear where much of that money has gone.
Fifteen years after tobacco companies agreed to pay billions of dollars in fines in what is still the largest civil litigation settlement in U.S. history, it's unclear how state governments are using much of that money.
So far tobacco companies have paid more than $100 billion to state governments as part of the 25-year, $246 billion settlement.
After several failed musical ventures and two bankruptcies, New Yorker Hilly Kristal decided to try something new. In 1973, he opened a bar in Lower Manhattan intended to showcase sounds not so indigenous to the urban landscape: country, bluegrass and blues. And so came the name for the dive bar CBGB.
The scene: Two men in a chilly Soviet apartment converse in whispers, careful to protect their plans from enemy ears. Little do they know, the benign-looking raven outside their window is not merely a city scavenger hunting for food, but a spy for the U.S. government.
Woodstock didn't just bring together some of the most important musical acts of the late 1960s: It showed that a music festival could be a truly historic event.
These days, leave any pasture open long enough and someone will start setting up amps and concession stands. The outdoor music festival is ubiquitous in 2013. But so far, there has been no Woodstock for comedy.