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Today

Today

William Safire (1929)
Safire was an American journalist and a speechwriter for US President Richard Nixon, who once ordered Safire's phone be tapped. In 1973, Safire became a syndicated political columnist for The New York Times, a post he held until 2005. A master of wordplay, he also wrote regularly on language-related topics. After Safire wrote a column in which he insulted a first lady, a White House aide remarked that if the president were not the president, he would have responded in what way? Discuss

Jane Austen (1775)
Austen was a prominent English novelist whose writing is noted for its wit, realism, shrewd sympathy, and brilliant prose style. Though she received little public recognition in her own lifetime—her books were published anonymously—she is now regarded as one of the great masters of the English novel. Several of her works, including Pride and Prejudice, have been adapted for film. Before her death, Austen suffered from a protracted, unexplained illness. What might have caused it?

Nero Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus (37 CE)
Nero became emperor of Rome by murdering his mother and step-brother. His respectful treatment of the Senate made him a popular emperor in the east, but his reign was marred by unemployment and a major revolt in Britain. After a fire ravaged Rome in 64 CE, he persecuted the Christians as scapegoats. With his reign in decline, Nero went on a murderous rampage, was condemned by the Senate, and chose suicide over execution. According to legend, Nero played the fiddle while Rome burned. Is it true?