2.15.2017 Day in History

CC BY-NC-ND by DennisSylvesterHurd

Philadelphia today commemorates ENIAC Day, while the U.S. as a whole celebrates Susan B. Anthony Day; in what is now Istanbul thirteen centuries and eleven years ago, a now noseless Justinian, returning to his seat atop the Byzantine Empire for a few years, placed his foot on the necks of two of his opponents before having them beheaded in front of a crowd of tens of thousands at the Hippodrome; four hundred seven years subsequently, in 1113, a second Pope Paschal mandated the recognition of the Order of Hospitallers, a military organization to help assert Christian hegemony over the ‘Holy Land;’ thirty-eight decades onward from that instant, in 1493, Christopher Columbus composed an ‘open letter’ that boasted of his findings in the ‘new world’ and justified European rule and depredation in perpetuity; three years less than two centuries hence, in 1690, agents of the Holy Roman Empire and the Prince of Moldavia inked a secret deal to work together in attacking and undermining the Ottoman Empire in the Balkans and Eastern Europe; across the wide Atlantic two hundred sixty-nine years before the here and now, a very useful baby boy was born who would mature as the utilitarian thinker, Jeremy Bentham; sixteen years past that conjunction, in 1764, across the Atlantic in the center of North America, traders and colonists on the Mississippi River portion of Spanish Louisiana founded a city that we still call St. Louis; forty-one years thereafter, in 1804, Serbian resistance to warlord tyranny and Ottoman oversight exploded in what would be nine years of uprising and civil war; sixteen years later, back across the ocean in 1820 America, a baby girl opened her eyes who would rise as the tempestuous and passionate defender of women’s rights and suffrage, Susan B. Anthony; one hundred fifty-six years back, a male child drew breath whom fate had designated to become the mathematical and philosophical wizard, Alfred North Whitehead; nine years forward in time, in 1870, Stevens Institute of Technology became the first college to offer a degree in Mechanical Engineering; another nine years in the direction of now, in 1879, President Hayes signed an order that permitted women attorneys—who could neither vote nor serve in office—to argue cases before the Supreme Court; just shy of two decades henceforth, in 1898, between two and three hundred U.S. sailors died when a munitions cache on the Battleship Maine exploded in Havana harbor, a cataclysm on which the Yankees blamed Spain as an excuse to kick off an imperial war; a dozen years after that, almost a thousand miles North in 1910, the International Ladies Garment Workers Union suspended its strike solidarityagainst 352 manufacturers when only 13 of them had failed to sign ILGWU agreements that boosted wages, provided for such safety as fire escapes, and recognized the union as a bargaining agent; eighty-nine years ahead of this exact moment in space and time, a baby male first cried out who would grow up to become the popular Children’s author, Norman Bridwell; half a decade onward, in 1933 in Miami, a crazed anarchist immigrant from Italy, shot wildly in the direction of where Franklin Roosevelt was giving a speech from the back of a car, in the process fatally wounding the Mayor of Chicago and shooting four others, none of them the President-elect; three hundred sixty-five days farther down time’s road, in 1934, Congress passed the Civil Works Emergency Relief Act in an attempt to alleviate unemployment and financial and industrial collapse; yet another year further along, in 1935, a female child entered the world in standard fashion who would write powerfully as the feminist and anti-rape activist, Susan Brownmiller; eleven years afterward precisely, in 1946, the University of Pennsylvania formally inaugurated the era of automatic calculation with its dedication of an Electronic Numerical Integrator And Computer(ENIAC) on campus in Philadelphia; seven hundred thirty days yet later on, in 1948, a male child called out who would become the illustrator and storyteller, Art Spiegelman; another two years subsequent to that conjunction, in 1950, the Congress of Industrial Organizations expelled two unions for having “communist tendencies,” a fate that eventually prominent associations such as the International Longshoremen and United Electrical Workers would also suffer; four years past that point in time and space, in 1954, in another aspect of the political economy of anti-communism, the U.S. and Canada agreed to establish a Defense Early Warning Line of radar in the arctic regions of both countries; sixteen years ahead of that exact day, in 1972, audio recordings for the first time received copyright protection in the United States, and several thousand miles South in Ecuador, Jose Ibarra, serving as President for the fifth time, faced ouster by the military—with the backing of Washington—for the fourth time; a dozen years more down the pike, in 1988, Nobel Prize winning physicist Richard Feynman breathed his last; a thousand ninety-six days nearer to now, in 1991, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, and Poland agreed to the Visegrad protocols, which called for the three nations to cooperate in instituting ‘free market’ arrangements in their lands; seven years farther along, in 1998, a cancer-ridden and nearly blind Martha Gellhorn, after decades as one of the world’s premier war correspondents, took her own life; three years even closer to now, in 2001, the journal Nature published the first complete human genome; two years still more proximate to the present pass, in 2003, plus or minus fifteen million protesters around the world took to the streets to decry the coming Iraq War, in the event establishing both the intelligence that crowds of people are capable of expressing and the lack of democracy that was in evidence among the world’s ‘leading democracies.’