6.28.2016 Day in History

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Today among aficionados of mathematics is a date to dispute Pi and argue the superiority of a different measure – the ratio of the circumference to the radius instead of to the diameter — of a circle circumference to its size, in Tau Day; in the territory that still serves as the most fertile grounds on Earth for imperial murder and profiteering plunder of different sorts, nine hundred eighteen years ago, the ‘knights’ of the First Crusade routed the fighters of Kerbogha of Mosull in what is now Iraq; twenty-six decades and two years subsequent to that conjunction in the Levant,  in 1360, at the other end of the Mediterranean, another outbreak of erstwhile Islamic Christian conflict erupted in the final years of Islamic control over much of the Iberian Peninsula, as Muhammed VI murdered his brother-in-law to take control of the flailing imperial presence; four hundred and thirty-nine years in advance of today,the male infant first regarded the world on his way to becoming the brilliant and beloved artist Peter Paul Rubens; two years short of six decades thereafter, in 1635, France inserted its imperial imprimatur in the Caribbean with the establishment of a colony in Guadeloupe; seventy-seven years past that point in time, in 1712, the little baby boy opened his eyes who would rise as the inimitable voice of Enlightenment, Jean Jacques Rousseau; a single year shy of another six decades onward, in 1776, Scotch-Irish private in the Continental Army, Thomas Hickey, died at the end of a rope for spying on the leader of the American troops, George Washington; two hundred

Buenos Aires Luis Argerich
Buenos Aires Luis Argerich

nine years back, in their attempt to recapture Buenos Aires, English forces faced defeat at the hands of local fighters in still-Spanish Argentina; just short of three decades hence, in 1836, the life of the ‘Founding Father’ and Federalist Paper mastermind, James Madison, closed out its final chapter; nine years beyond that momentous passing, in 1846, Adolphe Sax inaugurated the era of the saxophone with his patent on that musical instrument; one thousand four hundred sixty-one days more in the direction of today, in 1850, the male child came along who would become putative fonder of Labor Day, machinist Matthew Maguire; seventeen years precisely past that moment in time and space, in 1867, a baby boy was born who would mature as the prominent thinker, writer, and dramatist , destined to win the Nobel Prize, Luigi Pirandello; fourteen years yet later on, in 1881, in a secret pact that would soon enough affect a world that was sliding into war, Serbia and Austria signed a ironclad alliance; three hundred sixty-five days further along the temporal arc, in 1882,  Britain and France initiated part of the carving up of Africa by agreeing to borders between Guinea and Sierra Leone; a decade exactly forward from that, in 1894, the United States celebrated the first ‘Labor Day;’ a year further along, in 1895, a couple thousand miles to the South, three Central American countries, El Salvador, Honduras, and Nicaragua, formed the brief-lived Greater Republic of Central America; another annual orbit of the earth around the sun afterward, in 1896, back in the United States in Pennsylvania,

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

negligent coal company profiteers oversaw a massive explosion at the Pittston Mine that claimed the lives of almost 60 colliers; half a dozen years subsequently, in 1902, the US Congress passed the Spooner Act, which permitted the United States to acquire land for the Panama Canal from Colombia, an eventuality that proved unnecessary when Panama ‘conveniently’ seceded from Colombia, and the male baby entered our midst who would become the lyricist and songsmith Richard Rodgers; seven years even closer to the current context, in 1909, the boy child entered the world in standard fashion who would grow into the acclaimed and incisive storyteller Eric Ambler; half a decade farther down the pike, in 1914, the human prospect changed irretrievably with the assassination of the Archduke and Duchess of Austria by a Serbian nationalist, conveniently operationalizing the already-extant groundwork for the vast and bloody carnage of World War One; a mere year further onward, in 1915, the male child was born who would become the aficionado of blues and Delta culture, David ‘Honeyboy’ Edwards; four years henceforth, in 1919, the victorious ‘allies’ imposed draconian penalties on Germany for its role in initiating World War One, establishing the basis for what John Maynard Keynes on that very day predicted would be another world conflagration within a generation; a thousand ninety-six days afterward, in 1922, the Russian poet and critic and ‘Futurist’ Velimir Khlebnikov lived out his final verse, and to the West in Ireland, the Civil War there began with a shelling of Republican positions near Dublin that signaled the start of the British-backed Free State’s successful attempt to establish national control; four years more proximate to the present pass, in 1926, the baby boy shouted out

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who would entertain audiences with cutting edge madcap mayhem as Mel Brooks; a decade onward from that entry, in 1936, Japanese imperialists created a puppet state in Northern China to justify their predatory behavior; half a decade more in the direction of the here and now, in 1941, a male infant entered our midst who would become the computer scientist and programmer Joseph Goguen who created the OBJ computer language; seven additional years in the future from that, in 1948,in a development to make Cold Warriors ecstatic,  the two Josephs –Tito and Stalin – oversaw a substantial rift in the ‘Communist movement’ that resulted in the expulsion of the Yugoslav representatives from the Cominform; seven hundred and thirty days toward today’s light and air, in 1950, developments in the exploding Korean conflict included the North’s capture of Seoul, their army’s massacre of non-combatants at the Seoul University Hospital, and the annihilation of between 100,000 and 200,000 ‘suspected communists’ by the U.S.-backed army of the Republic of Korea;  fourteen more years later still, in 1964, Malcolm X oversaw the creation of the Organization of Afro-American Unity; five moreafrican american civil rights-Malcolm_X_NYWTS_2ayears down the pike, in 1969, protesters initiated the so-called Stonewall Riots that in many ways of thinking marked the beginning of a Gay Rights movement; seven years thereafter, in 1976, roughly seven thousand miles to the South, a newly triumphant revolutionary court in Luanda sentenced to death U.S. and U.K. mercenaries who had been fighting for the murderous pro-colonial counterrevolution; two years yet nearer to now, in 1978, the Supreme Court issued the Bakke decision that outlawed quota systems in university admissions; not quite a decade after that, in 1987, Iraq, in its bloody war with Iran, for the first time in modern war targeted a civilian population in a chemical weapons attack; three hundred sixty-six days subsequently, in 1988, both the U.S. Government and the Teamster’s Union signed a consent degree that established steps toward union democracy, including an Independent Review Board, as consequences of corruption in the powerful labor organization; half a dozen years farther along the temporal path, in 1994, the Japanese cult Aum Shunrikyo dispensed Sarin gas in the Tokyo subways, killing seven and injuring well over six hundred people; two years past that point in space and time precisely, in 1996, around the world in Eastern Europe, Ukraine adopted its post-Soviet Constitution; another year in time’s forward march, in 1997, Mike Tyson forfeited a prize fight, his second against Evander Holyfield, when ‘Iron Mike’ bit off part of his opponent’s ear; four years henceforth, in 2001, the estimable and ancient philosopher and academic Mortimer J. Adler breathed his last; three years later on, in 2004, in that year’s most evocative version of WHAT IS THIS, A JOKE? America’s imperial masters, under the guise of the Coalition Provisional Authority, handed ‘sovereign power’ to Iraqi authorities; half a decade still more on the route to today, in 2009, a CIA-and-State-Department-backed-coup overthrew Honduras’ democratically elected Manuel Zelaya because he sought a popular referendum to further democratize Honduras’ Constitution.