Today in History: March 12

The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster took place five years ago today. A tsunami that formed after the Tōhoku earthquake flooded the six-reactor complex, which caused electrical failures and ultimately, three nuclear meltdowns.

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President Franklin Roosevelt delivered his first “Fireside chat” with the American people over the national radio networks on this date in 1933, one week after he took office. Most of his radio talks were on Sundays, as this first one was; he gave a total of 30 such explanatory speeches between 1933 and 1944. “On the Banking Crisis” was the first. The term “fireside chat” was not employed immediately, but by the second chat, delivered on May 7, the speeches were known by that name. It is estimated that up to 60 million Americans listened. Audio (below the fold):

 
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The first public performance of Arnold Schoenberg’s 1932 opera “Moses und Aron” was given on this date in 1954.

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Charlie Parker died on this date in 1955. A 1951 clip of Parker with Dizzy Gillespie playing “Hot House”:

 
Morton Downey, Jr. died 15 years ago today. Robert Ludlum died 15 years ago today. Sir Terry Pratchett died one year ago today.

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Jack Kerouac was born in 1922 on this date. Mae Young was born on this date in 1923.

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Edward Albee is 88 today. Ambassador Andrew Young is 84 today. Barbara Feldon is 83 today. Lloyd Dobyns is 80 today. Al Jarreau is 76. He still performs live and will be on tour in Europe through 2016. Liza Minnelli is 70 today.

 
Governor Mitt Romney is 69. James Taylor is 68 today. Mary Alice Williams is 67 today. Naomi Shihab Nye is 64. Carl Hiaasen is 63. Dale Murphy is 60 today. Darryl Strawberry is 54 today. Jake Tapper is 47. Dave Eggers is 46.

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