11.21.2016 Day in History

Around the globe today, in descending order of opacity, people mark World Hello Day, World Television Day, World No Music Day, while people in the United States commemorate National Adoption Day; in the land of ancient Palestine and Israel, where long ago the same travails and struggles unfolded as today, two thousand one hundred seventy-nine years ago, a scion of the Hasmonean family, Judas Maccabeus, led his cohorts in restoring the Temple in Jerusalem to Jewish imprimatur; three hundred ninety-nine years on a direct line toward today, in 235, the nineteenth Catholic pope came to power, during a period of intense persecution, en route to his and many other adherents’ martyrdom; eleven and a half centuries plus a single year after that inauspicious development, in 1386, additional imperial depredations took place as the putative heir of Genghis Khan, Timur of Samarkand, led the sacking of the ancient Georgian city of Tbilisi, capturing the leader of the entire people in the process; three hundred ninety-six years before this day’s passage,the occupants of the Mayflower signed the compact that they had been debating for about a week that would govern their collective presence in what for them was a ‘brave new world;’ a year shy of three quarters of a century later, in 1694, the little baby boy opened his eyes who would rise as the philosopher and storyteller and interlocutor of ‘Enlightenment,’ Voltaire; two hundred thirty-three years back, in Voltaire’s

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beloved Paris, two balloonists and daredevils made the first untethered hot air flight; forty-five years subsequent to that feat of legerdemain, in 1818, the male infant entered the world who would mature as the groundbreaking student of anthropology and ancient humanity, Lewis Henry Morgan; not quite six decades beyond that propitious entry point, in 1877, Thomas Edison told the world of his new invention, a ‘phono-graph’ that would allow for both the recording and the playing of audio inputs; seventeen years more along the temporal arc, in 1894, around the world in Eastern Asia, Japanese forces completed the conquest of Port Arthur in the first Sino-Japanese War, and allegedly massacred many, if not all, of the inhabitants of that unfortunate city; a thousand ninety-six days hence, to the West in Russia in 1897, a girl baby cried out who would become the stalwart champion of human rights and anarchy, Mollie Steimer, who emigrated to the United States and faced fifteen years in prison for printing leaflets against imperial mass murder, ultimately facing deportation back to Russia along with many other activists;a half decade beyond that birth, still further west in Poland in 1902, a male child opened his eyes whom fate had selected to grow up as the storyteller and writer and American emigre, Isaac Bashevis Singer, who would garner Nobel literary laureates for his efforts; an additional three years thereafter, in 1905, in neighboring Germany, Albert Einstein published his iconic paper, “Does the Inertia of a Body Depend Upon Its Energy Content?”, which first presented the now-assumed-to-be-true equation, which at that time was quite radical, E = mc²;a half-decade further along, in 1910, Southwest across the wide Atlantic Ocean, in Brazil, sailors mimicked the uprising on the Potemkin when they rose up in rebellion against vicious treatment and execrable conditions in South America’s largest navy, the Revolta da Chibata, or Revolt of the Lash; back in Central Europe eight years henceforth, in 1918, Polish protofascist counterrevolutionaries conducted a pogrom in a Ukrainian village that slaughtered at least 50 Jews and several hundred Orthodox Christians; in a related incident of rebellious outburst, two years past that ugly juncture, to the West in Ireland in 1920, what we now call Bloody Sunday happened in the Irish Wars for Independence, resulting in some thirty odd murders of informants and prisoners and civilians; another seven hundred thirty days onward in space and time, in 1922, Rebecca Latimer Felton became the first sitting woman Senator, and from Georgia at that, when she took the oath of office; a farther three years down the pike, in 1925, roughly halfway around the world in the newly-inaugurated Chinese nation, a male infant uttered a first cry who would go on to

Mining Bituminous Coal in Pennsylvania about 1900
Mining Bituminous Coal in Pennsylvania about 1900

acclaim and powerful storytelling capacity as the filmmaker Xie Jin; two years yet later on, meanwhile, in 1927, returning again to the Americas, striking Colorado miners suffered half a dozen dead at the hands of State Police armed with machine guns in what was an early version of the Columbine Massacre, in the process of which solidarity in the teeth of such murderous impunity, gaining union contracts that were to stand the test of time; a mere two more years nearer to the here and now, in 1929, a female infant bounced into the world en route to a life as the sombre-hearted author and academic, Marilyn French; three years past that birthing process, in 1932, one more girl child came along who would mature as the well-known and well-liked author and screenwriter Beryl Bainbridge; eight years again in the direction of now, in 1940, a male baby was born who would grow into the noted performer and lyricist and rocker whose stage name was Dr. John; five years subsequently, in 1945,the United Auto Workers led a massive strike of their members for a thirty percent pay raise after years of conjoined wage-austerity and war profiteering, and the noted humorist and performer Robert Benchley elicited a final laugh; eight years even closer to the current context, in 1953,across the big pond in London the Museum of Natural History admitted that the so-called Piltdown Skull was a hoax; a half dozen years past that humiliating juncture, in 1959, back in the US, the prominent disk jockey who had coined the term ‘rock and roll’ received his head in a sack after he refused to deny allegations that he had participated in a specialty of the music business, fraudulent payola to give airplay to particular artists and tracks; around the world three years still more proximate to the present pass, in 1962, officers of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army declared a unilateral cease fire in the Sino-Indian War; an additional seven hundred thirty-one ‘leap’ days in the future from that conjunction, in 1964, to the West in Italy, the groundbreaking ecumenical council of the Second Vatican Council came to an end, while still further West

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across the Atlantic, New York City’s Verrazano Narrows bridge, the world’s longest suspension bridge at that time, after a five-year building process that claimed the lives of three ironworkers; fifteen hundred miles to the Northeast, a single year after that, in 1965, the baby girl uttered her first laugh who would eventually delight the world with her singing and her songs as the performer Bjork; two years still later, in 1967, American army general William Westmoreland boasted, in retrospect fraudulently, that the United States was “certainly” now winning the war in Vietnam; another two years after that martial exchange, in 1969, new President Richard Nixon and his Japanese premier counterpart came to an agreement to return Okinawa to Japan and make ongoing rights for the United States to base forces there only acceptable in the context of these facilities’ being nuclear-free zones, at the same time that the Advanced Research Project Agency of the Department of Defense manifested the first linkage of ARPANET, between UCLA and the Stanford Research Institute, laying the groundwork for the coming Internet age;precisely three years afterward, as Okinawa returned to Tokyo’s control in 1972, citizens of America’s client state in South Korea overwhelmingly approved the development of something akin to democracy in that nation’s Fourth Republic; two more years further along time’s passage, in 1974, around the world in Birmingham, England, more than a score of British citizens died in a series of bombings that resulted in the conviction and life imprisonment of six English men whom the courts subsequently determined innocent; five years later and six thousand miles to the South and East, in 1979, the Yankee embassy in Islamabad came under attack by Pakistani citizens, as a result of which four people died; another spin around the solar center, in 1980, a disastrous casino fire in Las Vegas killed nearly 100 people, including 14 firefighters, injuring more than 600 in the process of what was one of the worst hotel fires in US history; five years more proximate to the present point in time, in 1985,the Federal Bureau of Investigations arrested Jonathan Pollard for spying on behalf of the Israelis, for which he soon enough received life in prison;another solar cycle in time, in 1986, Oliver North, having already voluminously perjured himself, demonstrate his rank hypocrisy in relation to excoriating Iran, and participated as an accessory to mass murder in Nicaragua, began the process of shredding incriminating documents with the help of his secretary; seven years after that travesty, in 1993, the minions of capital participated in yet another attack on labor in favor of money with the approval of the North American Free Trade Agreement, to take effect a month and a half later in January 1994; two years thereafter, in 1995,under extreme pressure from the United States and NATO, negotiators at Wright Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton acceded to terms to end the war between Bosnia and Herzegovina, the so called Dayton Accords; on an entirely different note, three years after that in Japan, in 1998, what was to become one of the most popular video games in history, the Legend of Zelda; Ocarina of Time, first went on sale in the world’s marketplaces; in much more execrable developments, four years subsequently, in 2002,the United States oversaw the breaking of its expressed vow to Russia not to move the North Atlantic Treatyeurope nato wwii WWII Organization, “one inch closer” to Moscow by issuing invitations to Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia to join the Atlantic alliance; in further imperial manifestations two years subsequently, in 2004, massive protests exploded in Kiev and elsewhere in the Ukraine against the electoral fraud that had just taken place, while the US and its allies decided not to insist on austerity and agreed to write off four fifths or more of the decimated Iraqi’s external debt; another half decade on time’s relentless march, in 2009,the United States Congress passed an act that prohibited discrimination in hiring or promotions on the basis of genetic information about prospective or current employees, and on the other side of the planet in China, a hundred and eight colliers died horribly in an explosion at a mine in Heilongjiang province, northeastern China, two more years in the direction of today, in 2010, the venerable African American administrator and artist Margaret Taylor-Burroughs, who founded the DuSable Museum of African American History, came to the end of her road; three hundred sixty-five days later, in 2011, beloved Irish American novelist Anne McCaffrey lived out her final chapter; two years further along time’s road, in 2013, incisive journalist and thinker John Egerton drew a final breath.