ON THIS DAY: December 15, 2019

December 15th is

Bill of Rights Day *

Cat Herders Day

Gingerbread Latte Day

National Cupcake Day

International Tea Day *

Zamenhof Day *


MORE! Jane Austen, Sitting Bull and Samira Saraya, click



Bonaire – Kingdom Day

Brazil – Salvador: Festival de
Musica da Radio Educadora

Canada – Regina:
Jingle Patrol Holiday Festival

Egypt – Abdeen: Conolan Writing Workshop

France – Pérols: I Love Techno Europe

Germany – Karlsruhe:
Knockdown Music Festival

Guernsey and Alderney –
Homecoming Day(post WWII)

India – Mumnbai:
Zinng Fest, the Grand Tasting

Japan – Nara: Kasuga Wakamiya
On-Marsuri (Shinto winter festival)

Mexico – Mexico City: Neko Pop Fest

New Zealand – Papakura:
Wild Streets Festival of Play

Nigeria – Lagos: Worldfest to Nigeria
(Music and food festival)

Peru – Lima: Festival Barrio Latino

South Africa –Berea:
Body and Mind Christmas Festival

South Korea – Seoul: Seoul Christmas Festival

United Kingdom – Birmingham:
Christmas Cracker Family Festival


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

1751 – Mary McKeehan Patton born in England, American gunpowder manufacturer; her Powder Branch Mill was in Carter County, Tennessee. During the American Revolution, she provided 500 pounds of gunpowder used by the Overmountain Men, a militia of 850-900 Americans from west of the Appalachians. The Overmountain Men used the gunpowder at the Battle of Kings Mountain, on the South Carolina border, October 7, 1780. The gunpowder was a major factor in the defeat of the larger force of British loyalists, which was decimated, and their leader killed. This was a pivotal moment in the Southern campaign, coming after a series of American defeats by troops commanded by Lord Cornwallis. Cornwallis was forced to abandon his plan to invade North Carolina, and retreated into South Carolina

1774 – Hannah Wilkinson Slater born, American inventor who held the first patent issued in the United States to a woman. The patent was for a new way of spinning cotton thread. This invention resulted from her working partnership with her husband, Samuel Slater, who founded the American cotton textile industry. By using spinning wheels to twist fine Surinam cotton yarn, she created a No. 20 two-ply thread that was an improvement on the linen thread previously in use for sewing cloth

Slater Mill, built 1791 – Historic Site in Rhode Island

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 – Zamenhof Day * – 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

1886 – Wanda Krahelska-Filipowicz born, Polish Catholic Socialist activist and editor of the art magazine Arkady. She was a co-founder with Zofia Kossak of Żegota (the underground Polish Council to Aid Jews), and a leading figure in Warsaw’s underground resistance movement, using the code name “Alinka,” throughout the years of Nazi occupation of Poland during WWII.  As the well-connected wife of a former ambassador to Washington DC, she used her contacts with both the military and political leadership of the Polish Underground to materially influence the underground’s policy of aiding Poland’s Jewish population during the war, and persuade the Government in Exile of the importance of setting up a central organization to help Poland’s Jews, and to back the policy with significant funding. By the end of the war, there were thousands of students, writers, journalists, doctors, and members of the railway, tramway and sanitation workers organizations who had been part of Żegota’s vast network, which was never broken by the Nazis. Krahelska-Filipowicz, Kpssak and Żegota have been recognized as Righteous Among Nations for saving between 40,000  and 50,000 Polish Jews, including smuggling 2,500 Jewish children out of the Warsaw Ghetto, and hiding them with Polish and Austrian families  

Wanda Krahelska-Filipowicz – 1905

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; best known for her collections: Theory of Flight; The Book of the Dead; The Speed of Darkness; and Breaking Open

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 – Heather Tobis Booth born, American civil rights activist, feminist, and political strategist who has been involved in organizing and coordinating for many progressive causes. Journalist David Wood wrote in a 2017 profile of Heather Booth: Inside almost every liberal drive over the past five decades ― for fair pay, equal justice, abortion rights, workers’ rights, voter rights, civil rights, immigration rights, child care ― you will find Booth. But you may have to look hard. Because she’s not always at the head of the protest march. More often, she’s at a let’s-get-organized meeting in a suburban church basement or a late-night strategy session in a crumbling neighborhood’s community center. She’s helping people already roused to action figure out practical ways to move their cause forward. And always she’s advancing the credo she learned as a child: that you must not only treat people with dignity and respect, but you must shoulder your own responsibility to help build a society that reflects those values.”

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

1948 – Melanie Chartoff born, American actress, voice actress, comedian and inventor; she and fellow actor Michael Bell had the idea for a graywater recycling device for home reuse of shower and sink water, the Grayway Rotating Drain which they finished with the help of Ronald K. Ford and patented in 1992. As a performer, Chartoff is known for her roles on the TV series Fridays, and for voicing Didi Pickles and Grandma Minka on the two animated shows Rugrats and All Grown Up! She started and produces the annual Halloween for Hope event to benefit children’s cancer research, and has also done benefits for the homeless

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

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

1969 – Chantal Petitclerc born, Canadian independent politician, Senator for Grandville Quebec since 2016; she lost the use of both legs in an accident when she was 13, and was helped by her high school physical education teacher, who taught her to swim during lunch hours, and she went on to become a wheelchair racer, winning numerous medals, including 12 golds, in the Paralympic Games between 1992 and 2008

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

1972 – Alexandra Tydings born, American actress, director, writer, producer, and activist, best known for her role as Greek goddess Aphrodite on the television series Hercules: The Legendary Journeys and its spin-off, Xena: Warrior Princess. In 2015, Tydings wrote and directed The Trial of Hanna Porn, a multi-media history of the ongoing struggle for control of the female body, which won the Best of Fringe award at the Charm City Fringe Festival. She then went on to write, direct and produce Rainbow Bridge, an independent film about the intersecting lives of two women who find themselves navigating the challenging legal and emotional landscape of reproductive rights in the United States today

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

1975 – Samira Saraya born, Palestinian film, television and theater actor, filmmaker, poet, rapper, spoken word artist and activist for LGBTQ rights; she was a lead character in the 2014 Israeli film Self Made, directed by Sira Geffen, which was shown at the Cannes Film Festival

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

2017 – A federal judge issued a temporary injunction against the Trump administration’s modification of ObamaCare’s contraception mandate. The Affordable Care Act requires employers to pay for birth control as part of employee health plans, with limited exemptions. The Trump White House issued a new rule expanding those exemptions to allow almost any business to decline to offer contraception coverage for religious or moral reasons. Judge Wendy Beetlestone of Pennsylvania wrote in her opinion that the rule could cause “enormous and irreversible” harm, concerned that employers could seek to drive women out of the workplace entirely by changing their coverage policies

2017 – The Washington Post reported that the White House has directed the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to avoid using seven words and phrases in agency documents.  The list of banned words and phrases: “vulnerable,” “entitlement,” “diversity,” “transgender,” “fetus,” “evidence-based,” and “science-based.” In place of the latter two phrases, the directive suggested saying things like, “CDC bases its recommendations on science in consideration with community standards and wishes.” While the ban on the first five words has drawn fire for its implicit commentary on minorities, LGBT issues, and abortion, the prohibition of “evidence-based” and “science-based” has garnered particular criticism from the medical and scientific communities given the scope of the CDC’s responsibilities  


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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