Saturday, September 25, 2010

July 28th in History

historic Cyrano de Bergerac

1655   Death of the real, historic Savinien de Cyrano de Bergerac, French soldier who was a duellist, satirist and poet, and who had a large nose, but otherwise was unlike his fictionalized version in plays or other media.  Among other differences from the popular romantic play about his unrequited love for Roxanne, he was homosexual.  He was a very passionate and romantic lover - just not of women.(b. 1619)

 1868 The Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, guaranteeing due process and the equal protection of the laws to former slaves, was declared in effect. The Amendment defines citizenship, and has been used to extend the application of civil rights.

Tupper with his Tupperware

1907 Birth of Earl Tupper American inventor of Tupperware plastic containers (d.1983) Tupper worked for the DuPont Chemical Company, working with what had been a kind of plastic 'slag', turning it into not only utilitarian domestic objects, but also into more diverse objects, like WW II gas masks.  His model for the signature sealing lid was a common paint can.  Tupper sold his company, bought an island in Central America, renounced his citizenhip to avoid taxes and divorced his wife.

President Herbert Hoover

1932   U.S. President Herbert Hoover orders the United States Army to forcibly evict the "Bonus Army" of World War I veterans gathered in Washington, D.C.  They were called the Bonus Army because the government had promised a bonus under law in 1924, due in 1945.  Hoover sent Eisenhower, and Patton, under the command of Mac Arthur; MacArthur decided they must all be communists, and disobeyed his orders, dispersing the protesters with force.  Hoover did not reprimand Mac Arthur (and look how THAT turned out later); the negative response contributed to his loss of the 1932 election to Franklin Delano Roosevelt.  Hoover was reputed at the end of the  1932 political campaign to be 'the most hated man in America' for his failed policies, including tax cuts for the rich which did not help end the recession, and were considered to have worsened it into the Great Depression, and which contributed to the government deficit at the time.

1942 – World War II: Soviet leader Joseph Stalin issues Order No. 227 in response to alarming German advances into the Soviet Union. Under the order all those who retreat or otherwise leave their positions without orders to do so were to be immediately executed.  Over 150,000 soldiers were executed for desertion.The Soviet Union experienced the highest death toll in WW II. 

Kruschev conducted a "de-stalinization" of the Soviet Union after the death of Stalin, however there is a 're-Stalinization' taking place in Russia under Vladimir Putin, who is seeking to revise and restore Stalin's image as a hero, not a bloody dictator as part of promoting rampant nationalism under the guise of patriotism.  Patriotism is used as cover for so many things.

1996 – Kennewick Man, the remains of a prehistoric man, is discovered near Kennewick, Washington. It is a significant find in archeology, suggesting a migration across the bering strait land bridge some 12,000 years ago, and differing from modern native americans.

Lewinsky with President Clinton

1998 Monica Lewinsky was given blanket immunity from prosecution in exchange for grand jury testimony in the investigation of her relationship with President Bill Clinton.

2002 – Nine coal miners trapped in the flooded Quecreek Mine in Somerset County, Pennsylvania, are rescued after 77 hours underground. The incident received a lot of media attention which in turn helped both unionizing of the mines in the area, and greater public awareness of mining safety issues, which seems to only occur following these kinds of accidents that kill or nearly kill miners.

2005 – The Provisional Irish Republican Army calls an end to its thirty year long armed campaign in Northern Ireland.  Considered terrorists by the UK and patriots by their supporters and adherents, the PIRA sought a United Ireland through violence.  From 1969 through 2005, nearly 2,000 people died, a combination of UK security forces and civilians. As of 2008, independent monitoring commissions confirm that the PIRA has resorted to exclusively peaceful organized political action to pursue their goals.  Two small splinter groups of the PIRA continue to use violent methods however.

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