ON THIS DAY: December 15, 2018

December 15th is

Bill of Rights Day *

Cat Herders Day

Gingerbread Latte Day

National Cupcake Day

International Tea Day *


MORE! Jane Austen, Sitting Bull and Julie Taymor, click



Bonaire – Kingdom Day

Guernsey and Alderney –
Alderney: Homecoming Day

Netherlands – Koninkrijksdag
(Kingdom charter day)


On This Day in HISTORY

37 – Nero born, last Roman emperor of the Julio-Claudian dynasty

Nero Watches the Burning of Rome, by Alphonse Mucha 

533 – Battle of Tricamarum: The army of Byzantine general Belisarius defeats the Vandals, commanded by King Gelimer

1161 – Jin–Song wars: In northern China, military officers conspire against the emperor Wanyan Liang of the Jin dynasty after a disastrous military defeat at the Battle of Caishi, and assassinate the emperor at his camp near the Yangtse River

1567 – Christoph Demantius born, German composer and music theorist

1654 – A meteorological office in Tuscany begins taking daily temperature readings

1657 – Michel Richard Delalande born, French organist-composer in service to King Louis XIV, know for grands motets requiring large choral and orchestral groups

1734 – George Romney born, English portrait painter

Lady Hamilton as a Bacchante (1785) –
by George Romney

1789 – Carlos Soublette born, hero of the Venezuelan War of Independence, and twice President of Venezuela (1837-1839 and 1843-1847)

Carlos Soublette – detail from a
portrait by Martín Tovar y Tovar

1791 – Bill of Rights Day * – The Virginia General Assembly ratifies the U.S. Bill of Rights, the last state needed to become law

1812 – Joseph M. Levy born, English newspaper editor-publisher; founder of the London Daily Telegraph

The Daily Telegraph ten- feeder printing machine,
manufactured by Hoe & Co., USA. Date: 1860



1831 – Franklin B. Sanborn born, American journalist, and biographer who wrote biographies of many of the Transcendentalist movement’s key figures; founder of the American Social Science Association; also a radical abolitionist, one of the ‘Secret Six’ who supplied funds to John Brown for his raid on Harper’s Ferry

1832 – Gustave Eiffel born, French architect-civil engineer, designer of the Eiffel Tower

1840 – Napoleon Bonaparte’s remains are interred in Les Invalides in Paris, returned from St. Helena, where he died in exile

1854 – In Philadelphia, the first street cleaning machine goes into service

1859 – L. L. Zamenhof born, Polish-Jewish ophthalmologist and creator of Esperanto, the best-known constructed language in the world, in the hope that a “universal” language would help bring about a world without war

1860 – Niels Ryberg Finsen born, Faroese physician and scientist; 1903 Nobel Prize in Medicine and Physiology for his development of phototherapy, the first Scandinavian to win a Nobel Prize in this category

1888 – Maxwell Anderson born, American playwright; Key Largo, Anne of the Thousand Days, The Bad Seed 

1890 – Hunkpapa Lakota leader Sitting Bull is killed on the Standing Rock Reservation by reservation police ordered to arrest him; his son, other tribe members and several of the police are also killed, leading to the Wounded Knee Massacre

1896 – Betty Smith born, American author; A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, Joy in the Morning

1905 – The Pushkin House is proposed by a non-governmental organization in Saint Petersburg, Russia, to preserve the cultural heritage of Alexander Pushkin, but they also begin acquiring manuscripts and libraries of other Russian authors. When the Russian Revolution shuts down all non-governmental institutions, Pushkin House is put under the umbrella of the Russian Academy of Sciences (1918), with Maxim Gorky as one of its “honorary” directors. As it expands its collections, the official name is changed to the Institute of New Russian Literature (1920)

1906 – The London Underground’s Great Northern, Piccadilly and Brompton Railway opens

1907 – Oscar Niemeyer born, Brazilian architect, designer of UN Headquarters in NY

1909 – Eliza Atkins Gleason born, the first African American to earn a Doctorate in Library Science, in 1940 from the University of Chicago; in 1941, she established and became the first Dean of the School of Library Service at Atlanta University and created a library education program that trained 90 percent of all African-American librarians by 1986. Gleason was also the first African American to serve on the board of the American Library Association (1942-1946)

1911 – Stan Kenton born, American jazz pianist-composer

1913 – Nicaragua becomes a signatory to the Buenos Aires Convention, a mutual recognition of copyrights by nations in Central and South America, plus the U.S.

1913 – Muriel Rukeyser born, American poet, social justice and feminist activist

1916 – The WWI Battle of Verdun ends with the French defeating the Germans

1920 – Gamal al-Banna born, author, trade unionist, liberal scholar and rationalist critic of the Muslim traditional narrative, arguing that the principles of Islam have been distorted by authoritarian religious leaders. He believed in the equality of men and women, and was an advocate for women having the same rights as men in both civil and religious spheres. He founded the Egyptian Society for the Care of Prisoners and Their Families, and taught at the Cairo Institute of Trade-Union Studies (1963-1993); author of over 50 books, including tathwir al-qur`an (The Revolutionization of the Quran), and al-hejab (The Headscarf). His older brother, Hassan al-Banna, was a proponent of Islamic supremacy, and the founder of the Muslim Brotherhood 

1925 – The third Madison Square Gardens opens

1930 – Edna O’Brien born, Irish novelist, poet and short story writer; her first novel, The Country Girls, published in 1960, was banned by the Irish censorship board, and her family’s parish priest publically burned copies of the book. But she also won the 1962 Kingsley Amis Award for The Country Girls. O’Brien left Ireland, and lives in London. Among many other honours which her work has received is the 2001 Irish PEN Award

1933 – The Twenty-first Amendment to the United States Constitution officially becomes effective, repealing the Eighteenth Amendment that prohibited the sale, manufacture, and transportation of alcohol

1933 – Donald James Woods born, South African journalist and anti-apartheid activist; in 1965, he became editor of the Daily Dispatch, and integrated black, colored and white editors by making them sit in the same working area in violation of the government’s policy of segregation. The editorials of the Daily Dispatch became critical of the government, and Woods was prosecuted several times over the issues he published in the newspaper. But he successfully sued the apartheid government for defamation several times. In 1975, after he met with Minister of Polices James Krueger to request the easing of the banning orders on Steve Biko, he was placed under increasing police surveillance. After the student uprising of 1976, the Black Consciousness Movement (BCM) was banned, and its leaders placed under house arrest. Woods was also placed under house arrest. When Biko died in police custody, Woods denounced the government, leading to his own voice being silenced. While he was banned he began work on his book, Biko. On New Year’s Eve in 1977 he escaped to Lesotho and his family followed soon afterwards. He founded the Lincoln Trust to help exiled South Africans get university educations in the 1980s and 1990s

1938 – U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt presides over ground-breaking ceremonies for the Jefferson Memorial in Washington DC

1939 – Gone with the Wind (highest grossing film, adjusted for inflation) premieres at Loew’s Grand Theatre in Atlanta, Georgia

1939 – Cindy Birdsong born, American singer-songwriter; The Supremes

1941 – U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt proclaims Bill of Rights Day *

1942 – Kathleen Blanco born, American Democrat politician, first woman elected as governor of Louisiana (2004-2008)

1944 – A single-engine plane carrying Big Band leader-composer/U.S. Army Major Glenn Miller disappears in thick fog over the English Channel while en route to Paris – all aboard are declared dead in absentia

1945 – During the Post-WWII  U.S. Occupation of Japan, General Douglas MacArthur  orders that Shinto be abolished as the state religion of Japan

1952 – Julie Taymor born, American theatre, opera and film director; the first woman to win a Tony for directing a Broadway musical, for the stage version of The Lion King, and also won an Original Costume Design Tony for the show’s costumes

1959 – The Everly Brothers record “Let It Be Me”

1961 – Adolf Eichmann is sentenced to death after being found guilty by an Israeli court of 15 criminal charges, including crimes against humanity, crimes against the Jewish people, and membership in an outlawed organization

1965 – NASA’s Gemini 6A, crewed by Wally Schirra and Thomas Stafford, is launched from Cape Kennedy FL.  After four orbits, it achieves the first space rendezvous, with Gemini 7

1970 – Soviet spacecraft Venera 7 lands on Venus, the first successful soft landing on another planet

1973 – American Psychiatric Association votes 13–0 to remove homosexuality from an official list of psychiatric disorders, the DSM-II

1978 – U.S. President Jimmy Carter announces that the U.S. will recognize the People’s Republic of China and sever diplomatic relations with Taiwan

1989 – Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights is created, with the goal of abolition of the death penalty, though Article 2.1 permits parties to make a reservation allowing execution “in time of war pursuant to a conviction for a most serious crime of a military nature committed during wartime”

1989 – An uprising in Romania, sparked by a government attempt to evict Pastor László Tőkés, a leader among the Hungarian minority, from his church, will lead to the violent overthrow of dictator Nicolae Ceausescu

1993 – The Downing Street Declaration, jointly issued by British Prime Minister John Major and Irish Taoiseach Albert Reynolds, affirms both the right of the Irish people to self-determination, and that Northern Ireland would be transferred to the Republic of Ireland from the United Kingdom only if a majority of its population was in favor of the change, a major step toward the Good Friday Agreement in 1998

2001 – The Leaning Tower of Pisa reopens after 11 years and $27,000,000 spent to fortify it, without fixing its famous lean

2004 – American telecommunications giants Sprint Corp. and Nextel Communications Inc. announce they will merge in a $35 billion deal

2005 – Introduction of the Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor into USAF active service

2005 – International Tea Day * is launched by the world’s tea-producing countries

2009 – Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner makes its maiden flight from Seattle WA; and the Washington, D.C. City Council voted to legalize same-sex marriage

2010 – U.N. Security Council unanimously votes to lift  the 19-year-old sanctions on weapons and civilian nuclear power against the government of Iraq

2013 – China successfully soft-lands its Yutu moon rover on the moon, the first landing of a space probe on the lunar surface in nearly 40 years


About wordcloud9

Nona Blyth Cloud has lived and worked in the Los Angeles area for the past 50 years, spending much of that time commuting on the 405 Freeway. After Hollywood failed to appreciate her genius for acting and directing, she began a second career managing non-profits, from which she has retired. Nona has now resumed writing whatever comes into her head, instead of reports and pleas for funding. She lives in a small house overrun by books with her wonderful husband.
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2 Responses to ON THIS DAY: December 15, 2018

  1. Malisha says:

    Oh Lordy, I always have been misquoting Muriel Rukeyser, saying the world would “break apart” when the accurate words are “split open”! How embarrassing.
    On the other hand, I have always been proud that I opposed, even back in 1961, the death sentence for anyone (that year, for Eichmann). All my contemporaries were appalled at me. I thought he should be sentenced to sit for eight hours per day (in two-hour blocks of time with hour-long breaks in between) and listen to any individuals who had applied for and received permission to “talk at him” for up to 15 minutes, under the following rules:
    1. No threats of physical harm;
    2. No vulgarity or name-calling;
    3. You are permitted to have the session confidential or to have it transcribed and/or filmed and you own absolutely the recording and the rights to it for all time;
    4. You do not have to identify yourself (during your session; of course you must do so when you submit your application for a session) but you may do so if you like;
    5. You may bring anyone you like with you (up to a certain number of persons so that there can be proper management of the situation by the guards) so long as they agree to the rules as well;
    6. Only one session per applicant;
    7. If you choose, you may have a translator from any language you like into German so that your words are clearly impressed upon the prisoner;
    8. You understand and agree ahead of time that a bullet-proof glass barrier surrounds the prisoner at all times and that only sound and sight may penetrate to reach the prisoner;
    9. The prisoner will not be permitted to respond unless you specifically ask in writing before our session for him to have a one-minute slot (so that you have 14 instead of 15 minutes) to respond.
    10. There are no further requirements for you to fulfill. If you want to sit quiet for 15 minutes, that is fine; anything you choose to do is fine except violate these rules. You may show him pictures, play recordings, do whatever you like. This is for YOU, not for him. His preferences and privileges are irrelevant for all time until his death by natural causes.

  2. wordcloud9 says:

    Interesting Idea, malisha –

    I always thought these monsters should be put in solitary confinement for the rest for their lives, in an 8 X 10 cell, with the walls covered floor to ceiling with pictures of their victims, and the lights only turned off for 5 hours a night. For a special treat, at random intervals you could pipe in recordings of survivors who lost all of the rest of their families in the Holocaust telling their stories, over and over again.

    Execution is too fast and too merciful for the likes of them.

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