(Pictured: Jackie Joyner-Kersee gets airborne at the Olympics on August 2, 1996.)
August 2, 1996, is a Friday. The Deep South will see highs in the 90s today, with triple-digit temperatures forecast for south Texas, the Desert Southwest, and southern California. The Northeast, Midwest, and Pacific Northwest remain unseasonably cool. West Virginia governor Gaston Caperton has declared a state of emergency in nine counties after up to five inches of rain caused widespread flooding this week. Headlines in the newspapers this morning include the passage of a health care reform bill by a margin of 421-2 in the House of Representatives. Senate approval is expected today. Amid protests from the visitors’ gallery, the Senate approved a welfare reform bill backed by Republicans, one that some Democrats say will harm the poor. President Clinton, who has vetoed two previous welfare reform bills, is expected to sign this one, as well as the health-care bill. In positive news for Clinton, a pair of Arkansas bankers have been acquitted of conspiracy in the Whitewater case. The investigation continues into last week’s bombing at the Summer Olympics in Atlanta. One spectator was killed and 111 were injured, but the toll might have been higher if a security guard hadn’t spotted the bomb and notified police.
In the American League, Dwight Gooden of the New York Yankees and Kevin Appier of the Kansas City Royals throw nine-inning shutouts, but each is lifted for the 10th. The Yankees take a 3-0 lead in the top of the inning but Mariano Rivera blows the save in the bottom of the 10th and the Royals win 4-3. The Yankees maintain their 10-game lead in the AL East with the best record in baseball. In the AL Central, Cleveland has a six-game lead on the Chicago White Sox, and in the AL West, Texas leads Seattle by a game-and-a-half. In the National League, two tight races stay tight. The St. Louis Cardinals and Houston Astros both win, so the Cards maintain their half-game lead over Houston in the Central; in the West, San Diego and Los Angeles both win, so the Padres continue to hold their half-game lead over the Dodgers. The Dodgers beat the Atlanta Braves 2-1, but the Braves continue to lead the NL East over the Montreal Expos by seven games.
Among the medalists on a busy day of Olympic competition today is American Jackie Joyner-Kersee, who wins bronze in the long jump. Joyner-Kersee had been forced to withdraw from the heptathlon earlier in the Olympics due to an injury. She has now won three gold, one silver, and two bronze medals competing in three Olympics. NBC’s coverage of the Olympics dominates TV viewership tonight, more than doubling the ratings of its competitors. ABC counterprograms with its TGIF lineup: Family Matters, Boy Meets World, Step by Step, and Hangin’ With Mr. Cooper, followed by 20/20. CBS presents a two-hour Diagnosis Murder and Nash Bridges. FOX has episodes of Sliders and The X-Files.
The traveling music festival Lollapalooza plays San Jose, California. Headliners include Metallica, Soundgarden, and the Ramones. The festival will conclude its 1996 run with shows in Irvine, California, tomorrow and Sunday. Today, in the same arena, Irvine hosts the Furthur Festival, which is headlined by members of the Grateful Dead as well as Hot Tuna and Bruce Hornsby. Tina Turner plays the second of four nights in Berlin, Germany. Phish plays Wolf Mountain, Utah, and the Eagles play Manchester, England. On the new Billboard Hot 100 that will come out tomorrow, “The Macarena” by Los Del Rio takes over the #1 spot. (The version at #1 is the Bayside Boys Mix; the original version is also on the chart this week at #53.) The double-sided hit “You’re Makin’ Me High” and “Let It Flow” by Toni Braxton falls to #2 (but it stays at #1 in Cash Box for a fourth straight week). “I Love You Always Forever” by Donna Lewis leaps from #23 to #13; the two new songs in the Top 40, “Where Do You Go” by No Mercy and “Stupid Girl” by Garbage, are up 10 and 11 spots from last week. But apart from those three records, there’s not much action in the Top 40. The highest debut on the Hot 100 is “Why Does It Hurt So Bad” by Whitney Houston at #60.
Perspective From the Present: I spent the summer of 1996 attending the University of Iowa. I can’t find my grade reports or transcript to say exactly what I took; there was one political science course in there, I think, but the rest of it is gone. It’s entirely possible that August 2 was the last day of the summer session.