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Sat Mar 6, 2021, 10:54 AM

If you could change one event in history,

what would it be and why?

It's the 'what if' of turning points that I 'm thinking of.

I would go to the German Empire in 1888, and save the life of Kaiser Frederick William, son of Wilhem I and father of Wihelm II. Kaiser Frederick was married to Queen Victoria's daughter, also named Victoria. He admired the British parliamentary system and had great plans for political, social, and economic reforms in Germany.

But Fritz died of throat cancer after just 3 months as kaiser. His son, Wilhelm II rejected his parents' reforms and later led his country into the First World War.

If Fritz had lived, WWI might have been avoided. Without WWI there is no WWII, no Nazi regime, and no Holocaust.

46 replies, 1002 views

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Arrow 46 replies Author Time Post
Reply If you could change one event in history, (Original post)
wnylib Mar 6 OP
snowybirdie Mar 6 #1
jimfields33 Mar 6 #2
wnylib Mar 6 #5
Yavin4 Mar 6 #39
Miguelito Loveless Mar 6 #3
rampartc Mar 6 #4
wnylib Mar 6 #8
TexasBushwhacker Mar 6 #26
ProudMNDemocrat Mar 6 #6
Ferryboat Mar 6 #10
Aristus Mar 6 #7
Mike 03 Mar 6 #9
Angleae Mar 6 #16
Binkie The Clown Mar 6 #11
wnylib Mar 6 #17
Politicub Mar 6 #22
Binkie The Clown Mar 6 #23
Politicub Mar 6 #24
Behind the Aegis Mar 6 #25
Binkie The Clown Mar 6 #29
Binkie The Clown Mar 6 #30
hunter Mar 6 #27
wnylib Mar 6 #33
csziggy Mar 7 #42
cyclonefence Mar 6 #12
wnylib Mar 6 #20
First Speaker Mar 6 #13
NNadir Mar 6 #14
wnylib Mar 6 #19
NNadir Mar 6 #28
wnylib Mar 6 #31
NNadir Mar 6 #38
wnylib Mar 7 #44
Trueblue1968 Mar 7 #41
Initech Mar 6 #15
jmowreader Mar 6 #35
Initech Mar 6 #37
Fla Dem Mar 6 #18
Politicub Mar 6 #21
Dagstead Bumwood Mar 6 #34
mnhtnbb Mar 7 #45
Politicub Mar 7 #46
ironflange Mar 6 #32
jmowreader Mar 6 #36
Mr.Bill Mar 7 #40
Stuart G Mar 7 #43

Response to wnylib (Original post)

Sat Mar 6, 2021, 10:57 AM

1. Lincoln's Assassination

Likely we would have had a better assimilation of former slaves into society, and racial divisions would have erased by now.

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Response to wnylib (Original post)

Sat Mar 6, 2021, 10:58 AM

2. Slavery in America. Hands down

That single sin on America’s hands changed everything even today for the worst.

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Response to jimfields33 (Reply #2)

Sat Mar 6, 2021, 11:12 AM

5. Excellent. Should have thought

of that myself. I was thinking of single events so the single event in this case would have been preventing any one brought here as a slave. Or, more broadly, stopping the enslavement and sale of people at its source, when captains of merchant ships decided that human beings were merchandise to buy and sell.

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Response to jimfields33 (Reply #2)

Sat Mar 6, 2021, 11:58 PM

39. I often wonder if the African slave trade didn't exist...

would the European colonies in the Americas even exist? Without slaves, there was no way to harvest the wealth of the "new world".

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Response to wnylib (Original post)

Sat Mar 6, 2021, 11:03 AM

3. The elimination

of the “Fairness Doctrine”. The rise of rightwing media was the direct result.

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Response to wnylib (Original post)

Sat Mar 6, 2021, 11:07 AM

4. nov 22 1963

if jfk had lived we would live in a different world.

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Response to rampartc (Reply #4)

Sat Mar 6, 2021, 11:17 AM

8. Have you read Stephen King's book

on this subject? The title is 11/22/63. A man discovers that he can go back in time and decides to prevent the JFK assassination.

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Response to wnylib (Reply #8)

Sat Mar 6, 2021, 07:39 PM

26. They made a mini-series of it on Hulu

You can still watch it.

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Response to wnylib (Original post)

Sat Mar 6, 2021, 11:13 AM

6. Stopping the assassination of Bobby Kennedy in 1968.

Ending the Vietnam War. Advancing more Civil and Voting Rights legislation, advancing women's rights, a more Liberal Court system for starters..

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Response to ProudMNDemocrat (Reply #6)

Sat Mar 6, 2021, 11:22 AM

10. Agree

This is where our country went off the rails.

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Response to wnylib (Original post)

Sat Mar 6, 2021, 11:15 AM

7. I agree with all of the above, but will contribute my own:

Jimmy Carter defeats Ronald Reagan in 1980.

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Response to wnylib (Original post)

Sat Mar 6, 2021, 11:18 AM

9. Perhaps a 13 minute delay for Hitler and his entourage on November 8, 1939

It's so hard to pick but just off the top of my head I can't resist...

Delay Hitler's 1939 speech at the Bürgerbräukeller by a mere 13 minutes and potentially prevent nearly all of WW2. (Poland had already been invaded). Without a war in the European theater to distract the United States, it's unthinkable Japan would have bombed Pearl Harbor.

Hitler ended his address to the 3000-strong audience of the party faithful at 9:07 p.m., 13 minutes before Elser's bomb exploded at 9:20 p.m. By that time, Hitler and his entourage had left the Bürgerbräukeller. The bomb brought down part of the ceiling and roof and caused the gallery and an external wall to collapse, leaving a mountain of rubble. About 120 people were still in the hall at the time. Seven were killed (the cashier Maria Henle, Franz Lutz, Wilhem Kaiser, a radio announcer named Weber, Leonhard Reindl, Emil Kasberger, and Eugen Schachta).[5] Another sixty-three were injured, sixteen seriously, with one dying later.[3]


Accompanying Hitler that night were Goebbels, Heydrich, Hess, Himmler and others.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Georg_Elser

It's a bit of a roll of the dice since we can't know for sure Hitler would have been killed, but you said we could change one event, so I'm changing it to "Hitler and his entire entourage were killed."

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Response to Mike 03 (Reply #9)

Sat Mar 6, 2021, 03:02 PM

16. Or Henry Tandey takes the shot in WWI.

Hitler dead as a KIA. The others become irrelevant.

Of course, WWII still would have happened (just a bit later in europe).

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Response to wnylib (Original post)

Sat Mar 6, 2021, 11:43 AM

11. I don't have the wisdom to know the repercussions of any change I might make.

So as much as I might like to believe that I know how to solve the world's problems, the fact is, I don't.

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Response to Binkie The Clown (Reply #11)

Sat Mar 6, 2021, 03:10 PM

17. You're right. None of us have

that kind of wisdom. But then, none if us have the ability to actually do it, either, so no harm done.

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Response to Binkie The Clown (Reply #11)

Sat Mar 6, 2021, 03:42 PM

22. That is one of the great insights one can get from therapy.

While we may have regrets and ruminate about decisions we wish we had not made, we do not have the power to know how the future would have unfolded differently.

And since we cannot go back in time to change anything, it can give us the freedom to learn from what happened and focus on what we are at the present moment.

I'm not as articulate about this stuff as my therapist, and still struggle with mental health and negative thoughts, but this is one of the takeaways that has had a profound effect on how I think about my life's still-unfolding story.

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Response to Politicub (Reply #22)

Sat Mar 6, 2021, 03:53 PM

23. Wasn't there a movie about that?

Someone went back in time and made some little change and it ruined everything, so he back again to try to fix it and it just kept getting worse and worse. Or maybe it was a Dust (Short SciFi films) video on YouTube.

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Response to Binkie The Clown (Reply #23)

Sat Mar 6, 2021, 03:56 PM

24. It sounds like it would make for a good movie. It is often explored as one of

the paradoxes of time travel.

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Response to Binkie The Clown (Reply #23)

Sat Mar 6, 2021, 04:00 PM

25. Are you thinking of "The Butterfly Effect" with Ashton Kutcher?

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Response to Behind the Aegis (Reply #25)

Sat Mar 6, 2021, 08:08 PM

29. I actually haven't watched that one.

I thought it might have been this one, but after watching it again, it's not the one.

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Response to Behind the Aegis (Reply #25)

Sat Mar 6, 2021, 08:10 PM

30. Found it. This is the one I was thinking of.

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Response to Binkie The Clown (Reply #23)

Sat Mar 6, 2021, 07:45 PM

27. Star Trek Voyager -- Year of Hell

The universe becomes a much better place when you can put your work aside to enjoy a day with your spouse.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Year_of_Hell

There are quite a few science fiction movies based on that premise.

Whenever I go time travelling I screw everything up.

Gottfried Leibniz must have had similar experience.

Die beste aller möglichen Welten.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Best_of_all_possible_worlds

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Response to Binkie The Clown (Reply #23)

Sat Mar 6, 2021, 10:05 PM

33. That was the theme of King's book, titled 11/22/63,

on the JFK assassination. The lead character goes back in time and succeeds in preventing it, but there are later repercussions that make the world a worse place so he goes back again to undo his earlier intervention with history.

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Response to Binkie The Clown (Reply #23)

Sun Mar 7, 2021, 02:10 PM

42. Let's see - Butterfly Effect and A Sound of Thunder come to mind

A Sound of Thunder was based on a Ray Bradbury short story. The movie was not as good at the story, but for mindless action it's OK.

The Butterfly Effect is a 2004 American science fiction thriller film[1] written and directed by Eric Bress and J. Mackye Gruber, starring Ashton Kutcher and Amy Smart. The title refers to the butterfly effect, a popular hypothetical situation that illustrates how small initial differences may lead to large unforeseen consequences over time.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Butterfly_Effect

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Response to wnylib (Original post)

Sat Mar 6, 2021, 11:51 AM

12. Make Columbus' sailors decent people with no STDs or smallpox

Or, the Puritans don't survive their first winter. What a bunch of jerks.

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Response to cyclonefence (Reply #12)

Sat Mar 6, 2021, 03:34 PM

20. Or, make the contact between Europe and the Americas

happen more gradually, as a trading system across the ocean instead of a colonizing development.

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Response to wnylib (Original post)

Sat Mar 6, 2021, 12:11 PM

13. I'd ensure that Theodore Roosevelt got the 1912 GOP Presidential nomination...

...the power brokers in the party conspired to give it to Taft, who had basically failed as President. Roosevelt was the choice of the party, but that didn't matter in those days of the smoke-filled room. As a result, TR ran on the Bull Moose ticket, and lost to Woodrow Wilson. Had TR been President in 1914, World War One simply would not have happened as it did. And both Nazism and Communism would never have happened, either.

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Response to First Speaker (Reply #13)

Sat Mar 6, 2021, 01:28 PM

14. It think you vastly overstate American influence in 1914. The US was not considered a world...

...power at that time. It had rising influence, but certainly not enough to have prevented or even to have changed World War I in significant ways. That power came to bear in 1917, but basically it was because all of the other powers had burned out.

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Response to NNadir (Reply #14)

Sat Mar 6, 2021, 03:27 PM

19. True that the US was not a world power yet.

Wilson's deliberate refusal to acknowledge the 1918 flu, however, made the pandemic worse than it would have been if he had led the nation in curbing it. He ended up getting it himself and botched the post war peace negotiations in his foggy minded state from the virus. That set the stage for WWII.

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Response to wnylib (Reply #19)

Sat Mar 6, 2021, 07:56 PM

28. The powers at Versailles were not about to surrender their punitive approach to Germany...

...to Wilson whether or not he was clear headed.

The French, in particular, were extremely bitter over the loss of Alsace and Lorraine in 1870, had lost millions of men in the war, and had huge damage to their territory, where much of the fighting took place. (Parts of France are still essentially uninhabitable as a result.)

I consider Woodrow Wilson to have been the worst Democratic President of the 20th century, not because of Versailles - where he was not really in a position to dictate anything - but because of his virulent racism. This said, Versailles was not his worst failure; he spoke up for self-determination of European people, wasn't (as the French and British were) looking for spoils of war, and initiated a (failed) approach to an international body that anticipated the UN, which would come into being in 1944, which for all of its limited powers, has been an excellent international forum for defusing dire situations.

In the colonial mindset of the early 20th century, obtaining spoils of war was very much on the minds of the British and French and frankly there was nothing, nothing at all, Wilson could do about it.

When the war restarted in 1939, because of the application of mythology about the putative "stab in the back" lie of the Nazis, Roosevelt was in a far superior position than Wilson had been, and, in fact, Stalin was in a superior position to that of Lenin (who ceded huge portions of Russia to Germany at Brest-Litovsk).

In retrospect, given how things turned out half a century later, the best decision, aided ironically by Hitler's refusal to surrender, was to completely and totally militarily occupy Germany and to partition it until it was safe to reassemble that country after the Prussian mythology by which it was founded had rotted away in a subsequent generation.

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Response to NNadir (Reply #28)

Sat Mar 6, 2021, 09:50 PM

31. Why was Wilson so eager to get into

the war? What was in it for him or the US? Was he influenced by American industrialists who could make money from the sale of arms? But they could have done that without being in the war.

Not sure what you are referring to regarding the Prussian mythology. For sure, the Prussians were militaristic all the way back to the Teutonic Knights of the 13th century. But Hitler and the Nazi party got their start in Bavaria.

The militaristic nationalism going into WWI was stoked by Wilhelm II for years prior to that war. That's one reason why I said in the OP that the death of Wilhelm II's father was a turning point.

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Response to wnylib (Reply #31)

Sat Mar 6, 2021, 11:12 PM

38. I actually don't believe that Wilson was "itching" to get into the war.

The US could have easily just sold weapons, to both sides if industrial interests were the only consideration.

This was hardly the case. Wilson won reelection based on promises to not get into the war, (as did Roosevelt in 1940).

Two things changed public opinion, one being unrestricted submarine warfare and the other was the "Zimmerman telegram" which asked Mexico to go to war with the United States to recover Texas, Arizona, New Mexico and California, all of which were militarily conquered from Mexico, only about 60 years before the outbreak of World War I.

By 1920, after the final defeat of the Prussian monarchy, which was dissolved, it didn't matter whence Hitler came geographically. He was, in fact, a German speaking Austrian, not German from Germany. The little Austrian corporal in the German army was fully imbued with a love of German militarism, since it was only in military life that he had any sense of self worth and respect.

The fact is that his entire appeal was an appeal to German nationalism, pan Germanic mythology that was a built around the Germany dominated by the former Prussian State. To the very last, Hitler was caterwauling about how he was the new Frederick "the Great," the Prussian King. The Hohenzollerns, previously Kings of Prussia became the Emperors of Germany, by use of war engineered by Bismarck, a Prussian State minister.

By 1914 all of Germany was Prussianized. In fact, the World War, phase I, was essentially a religious war, since Nicholas II of Russia sought to defend an Orthodox state, Serbia, which was being threatened by a polyglot state dominated by German speakers, Austria. It was also very much about familial relationships between the Monarch's of Europe.

The story is told very well in Barbara Tuchman's wonderful The Guns of August, which begins with a very beautifully written account of the funeral of Edward VII, Wilhelm II's uncle, who treated his nephew with barely disguised contempt, as an unruly little boy.

Although Wilhelm II was the person most itching for war in Europe in 1914, he certainly was not the only factor in its outbreak, as much as a very convoluted and largely secret series of alliances more or less made the war nearly inevitable in an imperial age, perhaps a dying imperial age, but an imperial age all the same. For my money the idiot Monarch who had the most to do with the outbreak of the war ended up being killed a result of it. That would be Nicholas II.

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Response to NNadir (Reply #38)

Sun Mar 7, 2021, 05:47 PM

44. I have read some of Tuchmann's works,

but not Guns of August, so I take your word on what she wrote. An excellent historian. Fortunately for the US and tge world, JFK also read Guns of August and used his understanding of it during the Cuban Missle Crisis in assessing the risks and dangers of how to proceed.

The drive for unification of Germany did not originate in Prussia. It had existed for centuries. Following the end of the Holy Roman Empire, there was the loosely knit German Confederation. In 1848, there was the failed German Revolution attempt to unite the various multiple German states and principalities into one nation. The working and middle classes were behind it in an attempt to establish a parliamentary constitution and civil rights.

Since Prussia was the largest and most powerful of the German states, the leaders of the 1848 revolution offered the crown of a unified Germany to the Prussian king Frederick William IV (NOT the same Frederick William in the OP) who refused it out of arrogant pride that it was offered to him by "rabble."

During the revolution, Frederick William IV's brother, Prince Wilhelm, fled with his wife and son to Britain where his son, the Frederick William of the OP, met the Princess Royal Victoria, whom he later married. Prince Wilhelm became king when his brother died. He appointed the ultra conservative Bismarck as his Chancellor.

Several liberal and progressive parties grew out of the 1848-1849 revolutions and continued to push for unification under a parliamentary system, which Bismarck opposed until he realized that a united Germany would strengthen Prussia's power over Austria. Bismarck pushed for unification at the end of the Franco-Prussian war and Wilhelm became the Kaiser as Wilhelm I. His liberal leaning wife wife detested Bismarck and Wilhelm's son, Frederick William, opposed Bismarck's policies.

Crown Prince Frederick William and his English wife, Victoria, supported the progressive and liberal party reforms and developed a supportive following among political leaders, but the entire movement collapsed when Frederick William died after 3 months as kaiser. His son, Wilhelm II, had been strongly influenced by Bismarck to reject his parents' reforms and to regard himself as kaiser with absolute power.

Wilhelm II denounced the reforms as treasonous and foreign (English). The reformers were imprisoned as traitors or escaped to other countries. Wilhelm II was obsessed with the military like a child with a toy army. In many ways, he reminds me of Donald Trump. He loved royal pageantry and absolute power. He dismissed Bismarck, who, in spite of his ultra conservatism, at least had brains and diplomatic skill. Wilhelm II lacked both and promoted a nationalistic reactionary backlash to his parents' policies and reforms.

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Response to NNadir (Reply #28)

Sun Mar 7, 2021, 04:37 AM

41. History ... H E R S T O R Y ... Henry VIII King of England DIES before he had Anne Boleyn beheaded

He dies, She Lives and Elizabeth I still becomes QUEEN OF ENGLAND.


i know, i know. i might be changing all of history

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Response to wnylib (Original post)

Sat Mar 6, 2021, 02:22 PM

15. I'd go back and destroy the wet markets responsible for COVID.

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Response to Initech (Reply #15)

Sat Mar 6, 2021, 10:43 PM

35. You'd have been better off...

...going back and stopping Trump from starting his trade war. Because of the trade war, the Chinese quit importing US pork and, since pork is a massive part of the Chinese diet, the wet markets (which died out because the people realized pork tastes better than rat) re-emerged.

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Response to jmowreader (Reply #35)

Sat Mar 6, 2021, 10:51 PM

37. Oh yeah I remember that from John Oliver a couple of weeks ago.

But my point is I'd go back and stop covid.

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Response to wnylib (Original post)

Sat Mar 6, 2021, 03:19 PM

18. Kennedy Assassination.

I was still in high school. I grew up in Massachusetts. Was the most traumatic event thus far in my life. It exposed me for the first time to the evilness of people. Like many young people I was devastated. I was entranced by the whole Kennedy family. I can, to this day, remember vividly where I was when I found out, how I found out and many of the following events.

It would be amazing to be able to see what direction our country would have taken if he'd not been assassinated.

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Response to wnylib (Original post)

Sat Mar 6, 2021, 03:36 PM

21. I wouldn't have sold the condo in Los Angeles 20 years ago.

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Response to Politicub (Reply #21)

Sat Mar 6, 2021, 10:37 PM

34. The most realistic goal expressed so far.

Were I possessed with such power I would still hesitate to attempt any change at any really significant event in history. You just have no idea how the course of history will change and what subsequent repercussions will occur. They may have you wishing for the original outcome again.

Maybe I'd elect something a bit more innocuous but still worthy of the effort and that would hopefully have a positive change. Maybe I figure out a way to prevent Buddy Holly and company from getting on that plane in Iowa. But, who knows? Maybe if he lived Buddy would have turned into a ritualistic cannibal in is forties and ate half the town. Best leave well enough alone.

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Response to Politicub (Reply #21)

Sun Mar 7, 2021, 07:30 PM

45. LOL.

My first husband and I bought our first house in L.A.--Studio City, actually, built in 1941--for $63,000. in 1976. We were living in an apartment in Santa Monica and couldn't afford to buy on the west side. Our realtor took us to see it the night before it was going on the market and we made a full price offer. The market was crazy back then, too. Two years later we sold it for $112,000. without doing much of anything to it and bought a larger, 2750 sq ft spec built new construction house up in the hills of Woodland Hills. My ex still lives there and the house we paid $154,000. for is now valued by Zillow at $1,064,146.

The house in Studio City was partially mansionized with an addition in the large backyard somewhere along the way. Zillow gives the house a value of $1,516,175! It's 1742 sq ft according to tax records. It was probably 1000-1100 sq ft when we owned it.

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Response to mnhtnbb (Reply #45)

Sun Mar 7, 2021, 08:14 PM

46. I can't bear to look anymore on Zillow :)

We lived in West Hollywood and paid $200k for our condo... our first place and we thought it was so expensive. Now it’s worth $1.1m and the neighborhood is beyond bougie. It was gentrifying when we moved in.

Now, I tell myself I’m grateful for having the experience of living in a $1m condo in LA long ago.

Allow me to join you in your

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Response to wnylib (Original post)

Sat Mar 6, 2021, 09:58 PM

32. Hillary beats the orange turd

I'm a little surprised this hasn't been mentioned yet.

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Response to wnylib (Original post)

Sat Mar 6, 2021, 10:50 PM

36. I would have gone back and gotten Palm Beach County, Fla., to do a ballot people could read

If Palm Beach County would have had a more logical ballot, 3407 people would have voted for Al Gore instead of Pat Buchanan. Since George W. Bush only won the state by 537 votes, no butterfly ballot in PBC would have meant a Gore victory in Fla., which would have put Al Gore in the White House.

After eight years of Gore we would have had eight years of Obama, and now we'd be in a second term of the Democrat that succeeded Obama.

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Response to wnylib (Original post)

Sun Mar 7, 2021, 12:37 AM

40. In 1970 James Brown hires Tower of Power

to be his band.

Okay, not serious, but would be cool.

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Response to wnylib (Original post)

Sun Mar 7, 2021, 02:25 PM

43. Lincoln having a security guard and he kills John Wilkes Booth ...before...any other shooting..

If Lincoln have lived, we would have had a different .".Reconstruction" after the end of the Civil War..
If things were totally different after the Civil War was over, (who knows?)...Totally different might mean
that in the 1880s certain laws might have not have been passed to define into law racism as it became.
Perhaps the flow of time would have led to equality much sooner and for all people including Native Americans.

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