6.15.2017 Day in History

Wind farm Molgreen
Wind farm Molgreen

Today is Global Wind Day, for those who favor a sustainable and eco-friendly path toward possible reductions in climate-change’s impacts, while Costa Rica celebrates Arbor Day & Italy marks this date as Engineers Day; in Assyria, present day Syria, two thousand seven hundred and seventy-nine years ago, priests and other close observers of ‘the heavens’ took careful note of a solar eclipse and thereby permitted confirmations of various conjunctions in Mesopotamian history; eight hundred and two years ahead of this moment, the various noble elites of England induced King John to sign the Magna Carta, putatively guaranteeing them their rights; four years subsequent to that, in 1219, Danish forces in the Northern Crusades induced Estonian pagans to recognize their rule in the Baltic at the Battle of Lyndanisse; eighty one years hence, in 1300, residents of the Iberian peninsula founded the city of Bilbao, and Dante is named Prior of the city of Florence; a dozen years later, in 1312, Hungarian king Charles I led forces in an internecine struggle that for a time drove out the Palatine rule of Amade Aba; seventy-seven years onward from that, in 1389, Ottoman fighters put this earlier Balkan upheaval in a new context by crushing a combined Serbian-Croatian attempt for independence; an additional twenty-one years forward in space and time, in 1410, fighters of Chinese Emperor Yongle crushed Mongolian opponents at the Battle of Onon River; five hundred fifteen years back, Christopher Columbus’ fourth expedition to the ‘new world’ went ashore to establish Spanish rule in what is now Martinique; eighteen years after that juncture, in 1520, back in the Mediterranean, a tenth Pope Leo excommunicated Martin Luther for his ‘protesting’ heresies; one hundred and twenty eight hears henceforth, in 1648, North of West across the Atlantic, Massachusetts Bay executed Margaret Jones, in a precursor to the witchcraft trials in Plymouth forty-four years closer to today; just short of two decades afterward, in 1667, the French physician Jean-Baptiste Denys performed the first human blood transfusion, using a small quantity of sheep plasma, that did not kill the patient; eight and a half decades more in the direction of now, in 1752, or at least traditionally so since the exact date is unknown, Benjamin Franklin flew a kite with a key attached to a string and proved that lightning is electricity; two dozen years farther along the temporal arc, in 1776, Delaware both seceded from Pennsylvania and declared itself free of British rule; nine more years henceforth, in 1785, two hapless French balloonists became the first casualties of human flight when their hot air device exploded over the English Channel; just a year less than six decades afterward, in 1844, Charles Goodyear patented a vulcanization process that revolutionized rubber’s ‘hitting the road;’ seven hundred thirty days after that point, in 1846, the U.S. and the U.K. agreed in the Oregon Treaty to establish the forty-ninth parallel as the dividing line between Canada and the United States in the Northwest, and Francis Parkman arrives at Fort Laramie; exactly thirteen years later, in 1859, a homesteader’s shooting of a marauding hog along that line of demarcation involved England and America in a ‘war’ that lasted thirteen years, an oddity of imperial conflict in which the only casualty was the pig; eighteen years further toward today, in 1877, the U.S. Military Academy graduated its first African American lieutenant, Henry Flipper; a year subsequently, in 1878, across the North Atlantic, Eadweard Muybridge accomplished the stop motion photography that both proved that horses feet all leave the ground and offered a foundation from which to develop motion picture technology; two dozen years henceforth, in 1902, a baby boy was born who would mature as the psychoanalytic theoretician of childhood, Erik Erikson; two years closer to now, in 1904, a terrible boating tragedy on New York’s East River cost the lives of thousands who were drowned or burned to death when a fire swept over a river excursion boat;  four years thereafter, in 1908, the American Federation of Labor established its Metal Trades Department; exactly a thousand ninety-five days yet later on, in 1911, a baby boy as born who would, as Wilbert Awdry, create the beloved childhood character Thomas-the-Tank-Engine; two years more proximate to the present, in 1913, half a world away in the Philippines, U.S. troops under John Pershing’s command annihilated Moro rebels who were resisting U.S. dominance at the battle of Bud Bagsak; three years later to the day, in 1916, Woodrow Wilson signed the Federal Charter for the Boy Scouts of America, the only such organization to operate in that fashion; a total of three hundred sixty-five days after that precise point, in 1917, the U.S. Congress passed a key component of fascism in the form of the Espionage Act, which criminalized all manner of criticism or protest or revelation of government actions three more years further on, close to a thousand miles Northwest in Duluth, Minnesota in 1920, murderous crowds lynched three Black circus workers for a rape that they never committed, and that perhaps didn’t happen; another fourteen years past that conjunction, in 1934, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park opened its gates for the first time; three years past that juncture, in 1937, the Jennings family welcomed a baby male among them who would grow up as singer-songwriter and ‘highwayman,’ Waylon; four years yet nearer to now, in 1941, a male infant shouted out on his way to life as the lyricist and performer Harry Nilsson; another two years on the march to our own light and air, across the Atlantic in 1943, a baby girl opened her eyes in occupied Belgium who would rise as the ‘naughty’ author and madame, Xaviera Hollander; an additional three hundred sixty-six days still later, in 1944, Saskatchewan citizens voted in the first Socialist government in North America; a year beyond that moment in space and time, in 1945, the iconic Judy Garland married the acclaimed director, Vincente Minnelli; a year even closer to the current context, in 1946, U.S. ‘liberals’ presented the Baruch Plan, which would essentially have left the United States as the sole

Dr. Strangelove by DrFoulplay
Dr. Strangelove
by DrFoulplay

possessor of nuclear weapons; another year onward and upward, in 1947, the Congress of Industrial Organizations expelled the Fur and Leather Workers Union for the ‘crime’ of harboring Communist leaders and members and ideas; seventeen years later, in 1964, President Johnson decided against submitting a resolution asking for authority to wage war;  two years prior to the here and now, an attacker at the Soviet Hermitage Museum, apparently insane, threw Sulphuric acid on Rembrandt’s magnificent Danae, slashing the canvas twice with a knife as well; four years upward and onward from that, roughly eight thousand miles Westward in Los Angeles, police storm-troopers attacked a peaceful protest of over five hundred Service Employee International Union janitors who were protesting poor treatment at the hands of a contractor; a single year closer to now, in 1991, the Nobel Prize winning development economist Arthur Lewis breathed his last; three hundred sixty-six days beyond that conjunction, in 1992, the U.S. Supreme Court found legal, in United States v. Alvarez-Machain, the practice of kidnapping foreign nationals in order to bring them to trial in the U.S.; two years additional along time’s pathway, in 1994, Israel and the Vatican established diplomatic ties; seven more years forward on the road to today, in 2001, Russia, China, and four Central Asian nations formed the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation; a mere year subsequent to that, also in East Asia, in Korea in 2002, the ninety-three year old Korean innovator who created Taekwondo took his final breath; nine years prior to now,  Gore Vidal gave the following account of his view on the death of his great rival William F. Buckley, Jr.,: “I thought hell is bound to be a livelier place, as he joins forever those whom he served in life, applauding their prejudices and fanning their hatred.”