November 15, 1995: A Good Idea at the Time

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(Pictured: Monica Lewinsky dodges the paparazzi, 1996.)

November 15, 1995, was a Wednesday. Today is the first full day of a federal government shutdown, necessitated after President Clinton vetoed a Republican spending bill. About 800,000 federal workers are affected. A temporary spending bill will resolve the impasse on November 19, but the dispute between Clinton and House Republicans, led by Speaker Newt Gingrich, will flare up again next month and result in a further shutdown that lasts through the holidays. In Lynnville, Tennessee, a town of about 300 people in the central part of the state 35 miles from the Georgia border, a 17-year-old student at Richland High School kills two people and wounds another with a high-powered rifle. The space shuttle Atlantis docks with the Russian Mir space station. It’s the second shuttle mission to Mir, although no crew members are exchanged this time; the purpose of the link-up is to deliver equipment to Mir. Among the Atlantis crew members is Canadian Chris Hadfield, making his first flight into space. It’s been announced that Princess Diana will discuss her life, including her relationship with estranged husband Prince Charles, in a TV interview to be broadcast in Britain on Monday night. At the White House tonight, an informal birthday party is held for an assistant to the Chief of Staff. At the party, an intern named Monica Lewinsky flirts with the president by showing him the straps of the thong she is wearing. Later that night, he invites her into a study adjacent to the Oval Office, where they have a sexual encounter.

There is no winner in tonight’s Powerball drawing. The estimated jackpot for the next drawing on Saturday is $44 million. Ten games are played in the NBA tonight. The Denver Nuggets beat the Phoenix Suns 137-127 in triple overtime; the Chicago Bulls run their record to 6-and-1 with a 113-94 victory over the winless Cleveland Cavaliers. Scottie Pippen leads all scorers with 27 points. In today’s Calvin and Hobbes strip, Calvin schools his mother on the subject of honesty. In today’s Dilbert, the staff discusses recent accomplishments.

Tonight, ABC’s TV lineup includes Ellen, The Drew Carey Show, and Grace Under Fire, which will be the highest-rated show of the night. Also on ABC tonight: The Naked Truth, a sitcom set at a tabloid newspaper, and the newsmagazine Prime Time Live. NBC airs the adventure series seaQuest DSV, Dateline NBC, and Law and Order. On CBS, it’s Dave’s World starring Harry Anderson as newspaper columnist Dave Barry, and Bless This House, a domestic comedy starring Andrew Dice Clay. Also on CBS tonight are the primetime soap Central Park West and the legal drama Courthouse. Fox has Beverly Hills 90210 and Party of Five; the WB, which went on the air in January and has expanded its schedule this fall, airs episodes of Sister Sister, The Parent ‘Hood, The Wayans Bros., and Unhappily Ever After. ABC announced today that it’s pulling the critically acclaimed Murder One from its schedule after tomorrow night’s broadcast. The show has struggled in the ratings against NBC’s ER, the top-rated show on television. Murder One will return in January in a slot currently occupied by Monday Night Football. An ABC executive says of the original scheduling, “It seemed like a good idea at the time.”

On the Billboard Hot 100, the top six songs are in the same positions as last week: “Fantasy” by Mariah Carey is #1, followed by “Gangsta’s Paradise” by Coolio, “Runaway” by Janet Jackson, “Kiss From a Rose” by Seal, Groove Theory’s “Tell Me,” and “As I Lay Me Down” by Sophie B. Hawkins at #6. There’s not much movement anywhere else in the Top 40 either, although two songs make high Hot 100 debuts: “Bullet With Butterfly Wings” by Smashing Pumpkins at #28 and “Beautiful Life” by Ace of Base at #30. The oldest record on the Hot 100 is “Run-Around” by Blues Traveler, at #17 in its 34th week on. Smashing Pumpkins’ latest album, Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness, debuts at #1 on the Billboard 200 album chart, knocking Carey’s Daydream to #2. Two other albums hit the Top 10 in their first week of release: Ozzmosis by Ozzy Osbourne and The Greatest Hits Collection by Alan Jackson.

In Iowa, a guy in his mid-30s commutes from his home just north of Davenport to the University of Iowa in Iowa City, one hour away. He’s in his second semester back at school, pursuing a teaching certificate and enjoying student life immensely. It beats the hell out of going to work every day.