... 1857 (100 years ago today), Ida Tarbell was born in Erie County, Pennsylvania. She grew up amid that state's oil fields; indeed, her father was a small businessman dependent on the oil industry. The only woman in the Allegheny College class from which she graduated, Tarbell (right) began working as a science teacher, but eventually turned to writing. She did graduate work and wrote news articles in Paris. On returning home just after the turn of the century Tarbell -- recalling reversals in the oil industry that her father and others had suffered -- began work on a series of magazine articles published in 1904 as The History of the Standard Oil Company. Part of a new kind of investigative journalism known by the term "muckraking," it has been called the most important book ever on business.
... 2006, an Iraqi special tribunal convicted deposed leader Saddam Hussein of crimes against humanity stemming from a 1982 massacre in the city of Dujail, and sentenced him to death by hanging. The verdict ended a proceeding about which I'd written with concern here.