12.23.2016 Day in History

Today in Oaxaca, Mexico will yield the Night of the Radishes, and in South Sudan is Children’s Day, while secular humanists in the United States mark the Solstice season with the commemoration of Human Light; in North Africa one thousand five hundred thirty-two years ago, Vandal King Gunthamund rose to the throne and ended persecution of Catholics in the realm; in ongoing conflicts between Islamic Arabs and leaders of the Byzantine empire four hundred seventy-eight years later, in 962, Byzantine-Turkish forces succeeded in storming and holding the city of Aleppo, further East in the Mediterranean in present-day Syria; more or less exactly six hundred ten years subsequently, in 1572, a Lutheran radical preacher in Heidelberg, Johann Sylvan, lost his head because he had affirmed the Unitarian godhead, in a context in which the Lutheran hierarchy and the Catholics had established an uneasy truce that revolved around agreeing that a holy trinity held sway; eight decades past that pass, in 1652, a baby boy entered the world in England who would mature as the fiery Puritan preacher of New England, John Cotton; another centuries, four decades, and a single year onward, in 1793, Royalist forces in France suffered a crushing defeat at the hands of revolutionary fighters; three decades henceforth, in 1823, an anonymous story that some people then—and most people since—have called The 183px-Twas_the_Night_Before_Christmas_-_Project_Gutenberg_eText_17135Night Before Christmas, first became available to read and perform; precisely eleven years after, in 1834, thinker and writer Thomas Malthus died; a hundred forty years before the here-and-now, ‘Great Powers’ leaders assembled at the Constantinople Conference in order to iron out protocols for increasing Balkan, particularly Bulgarian, autonomy from Ottoman rule; thirty-two years beyond that instant, in 1908 across the Atlantic along the Mississippi River, American Federation of Labor leaders in St. Louis went to jail for contempt of court for the ‘crime’ of urging a boycott against a predatory employer; five years farther along the temporal arc, in 1913, President Woodrow Wilson signed the Federal Reserve Act into law, establishing a strong if opaque central banking framework for the U.S.; six years later to the day, in 1919, England’s Parliament approved the Removal of most social vote voting election Ballot - Woman's Handdisqualifications on women, including voting, jury service and the right to belong to societies, receive licenses, and much more; seven hundred thirty-one days even closer to the current context, in 1921, U.S. President Warren Harding, with a “Christmas Amnesty,” pardoned dozens of imprisoned pacifists and other anti-war stalwarts, including Socialist Eugene Debs; half a decade afterward, in 1926, a male infant drew his first breath en route to working as a popular psychologist, poet, and author by the name of Robert Bly; a dozen years more down time’s road, in 1938, a male child opened his eyes who would grow up as the computer scientist and inventor of the Transmission Control Protocol, Robert Kahn; a baby male was born two years henceforth, in 1940, who would both grow up as Jorma Kaukonen and write and perform popular songs as a musician with the Jefferson Airplane and Hot Tuna; seven years yet later on, in 1947, Bell Lab scientists in New Jersey successfully demonstrated the operation of transistors; three hundred sixty-six ‘leap’ days thereafter, in 1948, six Japanese whom a war crimes tribunal had convicted, died in Tokyo at the end of ropes for their depredations; another six years afterward, in 1954, two surgeons successfully carried out the first kidney transplant; surgery doctor medical drnine years hence, in 1963, the baby girl came into the world who would grow up to popular and critical acclaim as the author, Donna Tartt, who would write widely distributed and provocative novels and essays and stories; five years still nearer to our day, in 1968, sailors of the U.S.S. Pueblo regained their freedom after having faced almost a year in North Korean jails following their ship’s violation of the Communist country’s territorial waters; eleven years hence, in 1979, Soviet troops first occupied Kabul in the U.S.S.R.’s attempt to control Afghanistan; three years more down the pike, in 1982, around the world in Missouri, the Environmental Protection Agency acknowledged that areas near Times Beach were suffering from dangerous levels of Dioxin; Slovenia’s citizenry eight years more proximate to the present, in 1990, voted overwhelmingly to separate from Yugoslavia in order to form a republic; eight years back, Walmart found itself with penalties that equaled or exceeded half a billion dollars for its ongoing plundering of employees’ breaks and overtime as its business SOP; five years subsequent to that momentous occasion, in 1913, the ninety-four year old designer of the world’s standard assault rifle, Mikhail Kalashnikov, took his final breath.