In related planetary celebrations, today marks both World Soil Day and the International Volunteer Day for Economic and Social Development; in pre-current era Rome, two thousand seventy-nine years ago, the esteemed thinker and speaker Cicero delivered the fourth and final of his Catiline Orations; six hundred ninety-six years forward in time from that, in 633, an important development on the Iberian Peninsula took place as the Fourth Council of Toledo began; six hundred eight years ahead of today,a representative of the Mongolian Golden Horde arrived to the doorstep of Moscow in triumph; seventy-six years further along, in 1484, the eighth Pope Innocent, responding to the church’s troubles with its adherents, appointed a pair of inquisitors to help root out ‘witchcraft’ in Germany; just eight years beyond that, as the 12th month began in 1492, the inquisitive, acquisitive, and predatory explorer and mariner Christopher Columbus arrived with his crews as the first Europeans to visit what is now the Dominican Republic and Haiti; four years later, in 1496, back in the Iberian Peninsula, Portugal’s King reacted to social troubles at home in a predictable fashion, much the same as today, issuing an order of expulsion of all ‘heretics;’ two hundred thirty-two years back, the former slave
and African-born poet of colonial and early national America, Phillis Wheatley, lived out her final stanza; thirty-eight years after that memorable passage, in 1822, a baby girl was born who would grow up as Elizabeth Cabot Agassiz, a founder of Radcliffe College; eight years more in today’s general direction, in 1830, another girl child entered the world in standard fashion who would mature as the estimable poet and writer Christina Rossetti; three hundred sixty-five days thereafter, in 1831, back across the Atlantic and North America, John Quincy Adams continued to evince the desire for political service by taking his seat in the U/S/ Congress shortly after his term as President; seventeen additional years past that conjunction, in 1848, the President at the time, James Polk, announced what many had long suspected about California’s Sierra Nevada, that ‘there’s gold in them thar hills;’ another seventeen years beyond that hopeful passage, in 1865, South American neighbors Peru and Chile uncharacteristically joined in tandem to fight Spain in the Chincha Islands War; half a decade henceforth, in 1870, the beloved storyteller and writer, Alexandre Dumas, turned his final page; thirteen further years along the temporal arc, in 1878, across the wide Atlantic in New York, a horrific theatre fire killed nearly 300 people in Brooklyn; a dozen years more proximate to the present pass, in 1890, the baby boy bounced into the world who would become the acclaimed filmmaker and screenwriter Fritz Lang; eleven years onward in space and time, in 1901, two male infants entered our midst, one in Germany and one in the United States, who would, respectively, become the famed physicist Werner Heisenberg and the astute businessman and creator of animated reality, Walt Disney; a decade after that exactly, in 1911, across Disney’s continent in Los Angeles, two trade unionists and brothers faced sentences of 15 years and life in prison for their confessed role in bombing the Los Angeles Times building to attack that conservative paper, a crime that killed 20 people or more; fifteen years afterward, in 1926, in Europe again, the beloved artist and
champion of the impressionist aesthetic, Claude Monet, lived through his final scene;another half decade toward our day in time, in 1931, the soulful American post, Vachel Lindsay, drew a final breath, while 6,000 miles or so to the East, while 6,000 miles or so to the East in Moscow, the original Stalinist ordered the destruction of the Cathedral of Christ the Savior; a year past that on the dot, in 1932, the United States happily granted certifiable genius Albert Einstein a visa, and the baby boy bounced along who would grow up as the performer and songwriter whom we know as Little Richard;another three hundred sixty-five day’s span onward from that, in 1933,the United States temporarily stepped back from the predatory police state profiteering of Prohibition when Utah became the 36th state to ratify the 21stAmendment; again one year forward in time, in 1934, 6,000 miles or so to the East, Italian fascists, seeking to expand their plunder in Ethiopia, attacked the Abyssinian city of Wal Wal, and the little baby girl opened her eyes who would rise as the narrative maestro and renown storyteller Joan Didion; another cycle of the sun toward the here and now, in 1935, the male infant gazed about him ho would become the newsman, poet, and writer Calvin Trillin; still one more year hence, in 1936, the infant boy cried out who would mature as the well-liked novelist of strange stories of the South James Lee Burke; five year farther down the pike, in 1941, 5,000 miles or more to the North and East, Soviet fighters began the process of turning the tide against Nazi troops in a massive counter-attack against the German armies center outside that city; back in the United States a thousand ninety-six days yet later on, in 1944, workers at a Detroit truck plant demonstrated that wage earners were not happy to make less and less while war profits soared into the stratosphere, demonstrated with a wildcat strike; another three year span toward today, in 1947, the male child shouted out whose fate was to become the performer and lyricist and singer Jim Messina; five years subsequently, across the Atlantic pond in London, in 1952, a horrendous smog resulted from a long-lasting temperature inversion and caused the deaths of an estimated minimum 10,000 people in the course of the following months; a year exactly past that, in 1953, to the South in English speaking Southern Africa, a girl child greeted her new life en route to the work of journalist Gwen Lister; seven
hundred thirty days even closer to the current context, in 1955, African-Americans who were ‘sick and tired of being sick and tired’ inaugurated the Montgomery Bus Boycott, and in another sort of solidarity Moment, the American Federation of Labor reunited with the Congress of Industrial Organizations after a two-decade split; a mere half dozen years nearer to the here and now, in 1961, a girl infant was born into the world who would grow up as the progressive journalist and commentator Laura Flanders; seven years past that happy entry, in 1968, another baby girl came along who would soon enough delight and horrify audiences as the feminist comedian Margaret Cho; a
single solar cycle round the sun forward from that, in 1969, the Defense Department’s Advance Research Project Agency initiated the four node ARPANET, the predecessor to today’s many billion node internet; eight years further along, in 1977, across the Atlantic and much of the Mediterranean, Egypt sundered diplomatic ties with several other Islamic states, in a perfect expression of the division that fomented further Israeli American hegemony in the region; the very next year, in 1978, the Soviet Union expressed its ‘friendship’ with Afghanistan in a treaty that would soon enough elicit a disastrous war; half a decade in even greater proximity to the present point in time, in 1983, the murdering proto fascist Junta in Argentina stepped down in the face of overwhelming public demand; sixteen additional years toward today’s light and air, in 1999, labour leaders celebrated the temporary collapse of World Trade Organization talks in Seattle, which were under pressure from mass protests against this new world order, claiming in the case of John Sweeney, that ‘no deal is better than a bad deal,’ not quite a decade subsequent to that, in 2008, capital experienced another collapsing bubble in a long line of panics and depressions, which the U.S. Department of labor reported had resulted in the loss of 533,000 jobs in the previous months alone.