ON THIS DAY: February 17, 2020

February 17th is

Cabbage Day

Café au Lait Day

My Way Day

World Human Spirit Day *

National Public Science Day

National PTA Founders Day


MORE! Huey Newton, Mary Frances Berry and Barack Obama, click



Brazil – São Paulo:
Francis Wonder Street Niga 

Cambodia – Phnom Penh:
Street Art Fest

Canada – Dundas:
Inside/Outside Family Festival

Costa Rica – Uvita:
Envision Music Festival

Germany – Berlin:
Berlin Lift-Off Film Festival

India – Hyderabad:
ODYSSEY Literary Festival

Italy – Tufara:
The Devil Carnival in Tufara

Japan –  Nagasaki: Kujuku
Islands Oyster Eating Contest

Kosovo – Dita e Pavarësisë
(Independence Day)

Libya – Revolution Day

Lithuania – Vilnius:
Straus Festival Orchestra Concert

Mexico – San José del Cabo:
Cabo Cocktail Festival

New Zealand – Auckland:
Folk in the Park Music Festival

South Africa – Stellebosch:
Littlegig (music, art and food)

Zimbabwe – Lake Chivero:
Natural Hair Festival


On This Day in HISTORY

624 – Wu Zetian born, concubine of Chinese Tang dynasty Emperor Taizong until his death. She married his son and successor, Emperor Gaozong in 655, becoming his huanghou (empress consort). When Gaozong suffered a debilitating stroke in 660, Wu Zetian became administrator of the court, and then Empress regnant (690-705)

1600 – Giordano Bruno, ‘free thought’ hero, is burned at the stake as a heretic in the ironically-named Campo de’ Fiori (Field of Flowers) in Rome, and all of his works are put on the Index of Forbidden Books by the Vatican’s Holy Office

1621 – Myles Standish is appointed first commander of the English Plymouth Colony (now Massachusetts)

1653 – Arcangelo Corelli born, Italian violinist and composer

1665 – Rudolph Jacob Camerarius born, German botanist; identifies the stamens and pistils as male and female organs

1801 –U.S. House of Representatives resolves an electoral tie between Thomas Jefferson and Aaron Burr by choosing Jefferson as president and Burr, vice president

1843 – A. Montgomery Ward born, American mail-order merchant

1848 – Louisa Lawson born, Australian writer, women’s rights activist; takes over as  publisher of radical pro-federation newspaper The Republican, and later launches The Dawn, Australia’s first journal produced by an all-woman staff; a leading figure in the Australian woman suffrage movement, called ‘The Mother of Suffrage in New South Wales’

1854 – The British Empire recognizes the Boer Orange Free State’s independence

1858 – Margaret Warner Morley born, American biologist, educator, and writer, author of many works for children on nature and biology. Teaching children led her to developing better methods of teaching science, and to writing textbooks noted for being clear, authoritative and entertaining. Many of them were used as school texts just as nature study was being incorporated into the growing number of schools’ curricula. The Insect Folk, The Honey-Makers, and The Spark of Life: the story of how living things come into the world are among her many titles

1863 – A group of citizens in Geneva found an International Committee for Relief to the Wounded, which later becomes the International Committee of the Red Cross

1864 – ‘Banjo’ Paterson born, Australian poet, journalist and songwriter

1870 – The U.S. Congress passes a resolution to readmit Mississippi to the union, on the condition that it never changes its constitution to disenfranchise Blacks

1874 – Thomas J. Watson Sr. born, American industrialist who built IBM

1876 – Canned sardines, packed in oil, sold in the U.S. for the first time

1877 – Isabelle Eberhardt born, Swiss explorer and author, travels extensively in North Africa, often wearing male clothing for the freedom it allows her; dies in a desert flash flood in 1904

1877 – Andre Maginot born, French statesman; ‘Maginot Line’ is named for him

1877 – Isidora Sekulić born, Serbian author, adventurer and polyglot, extensive traveler; known for strong female characters in her fiction

1879 – Dorothy Canfield Fisher born, best-selling American author, educational reformer and social activist; strong advocate for women’s rights, racial equality, and lifelong education. She brought the Montessori Method to the United States, and presided over the country’s first adult education program

1881 – Mary Carson Breckinridge born, American nurse-midwife; Frontier Nursing Service founder; started family care centers in the Appalachian Mountains

1888 – Dorothy Kenyon born, American attorney, feminist and civil liberties activist; in 1950, accused of communist affiliations by Senator McCarthy, she called him “an unmitigated liar” and “a coward to take shelter in the cloak of Congressional immunity” then responded, “I am not, and never have been, a supporter of, a member of, or a sympathizer with any organization known to me to be, or suspected by me, of being controlled or dominated by Communists.” A NY Times editorial and support from Eleanor Roosevelt and other respected public figures made McCarthy back off, and the charges are dismissed

1897 – Alice McLellan Birney and Phoebe Apperson Hearst hold the first convocation of the National Organization of Mothers (now the Parent Teacher Association AKA the PTA), 2,000 people attend.

1899 – Jibanananda Das born, Indian Bengali-language poet, novelist and essayist, acknowledged as one of the greatest poets in the Bengali language; Jhôra Palok (Fallen Feathers), Banalata Sen, and Rupasi Bangla (Bengal, the Beautiful)

1904 – Madama Butterfly premières at La Scala in Milan

1905 – Rózsa Politzer Péter born, Hungarian mathematician, called the ‘founding mother of recursion theory’ because her research papers helped found recursive function theory as a distinct and separate area of mathematical research

1912 – Andre Norton born Alice Mary Norton, author, used “Andre” as more salable pen name in science fiction and fantasy, 50 years later she is named “Grand Dame of Science and Fantasy”

1913 – The Armory Show opens in New York, a landmark exhibit displaying works of artists who are to become some of the most influential painters of the early 20th century

1918 – Jacqueline Lelong-Ferrand born, French mathematician noted for work on conformal representation theory, potential theory and Riemannian manifolds; she proved the compactness of the group of conformal mappings of a non-spherical compact  Riemannian manifold, resolving a conjecture of André Lichnerowicz

1919 – The Ukrainian People’s Republic asks the Triple Entente (alliance of Great Britain, France and the Russian Empire) and the US for help fighting the Bolsheviks

1920 – Annie Castor Glenn born, American advocate for people with disabilities and communication disorders; she stuttered throughout her life, and didn’t find a treatment which helped her until 1973; she and astronaut John Glenn were married for 73 years until his death in 2016. She was on the Columbus Speech and Hearing Center Board, the  National Center for Survivors of Child Abuse Advisory Board, and the National Institutes of Health’s National Deafness and other Communication Disorders Advisory Board 

1924 – Margaret Truman born, American coloratura soprano, journalist, author and socialite; noted for her murder mysteries set in Washington DC, and her non-fiction books about the Truman years in the White House. Daughter of Harry and Bess Truman

1933 – Wisconsin Senator John Blaine sponsors the Blaine Act, which is passed by the U.S. Senate, initiating the repeal of the 18th Amendment (Prohibition)

1938 – Mary Frances Berry born, American historian, lawyer and civil rights activist; first black woman to head a major research university as chancellor of the University of Colorado’s Boulder campus in 1976; Jimmy Carter appoints her to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights in 1980: when Ronald Reagan comes into office in 1981, he tries to fire Berry and dismantle the commission, but she sues the Reagan Administration  successfully in federal court to retain her seat

1941 – Julia McKenzie born, English actress, singer and theatre director; she won BAFTA awards for Best Actress in stage productions of Woman in Mind (1986) and Sweeney Todd (1994). McKenzie is a critic of fox hunting and was one of the high-profile signers of a letter to Members of Parliament in 2015 opposing Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron’s plan to amend the Hunting Act 2004

1942 – Huey P. Newton born, American activist; co-founder of the Black Panthers

1945 – Zina Bethune born, American actress, dancer and choreographer; she was diagnosed with scoliosis and hip dyplasia as a girl, and worked throughout her life with disabled students. She founded Dance Outreach in 1982 (now known as Infinite Dreams) which enrolls disabled children in dance-related activities, and the Bethune Theatredanse in 1981, a multimedia performance company. In 2012, she was killed at age 67 in a hit-and-run accident as she was trying to help an injured possum in Griffith Park, Los Angeles

1946 – Shahrnush Parsipur born, Iranian novelist, translator, short story writer, and children’s author; best-known for her novella,  Zanan bedun-e Mardan (Women Without Men), and her novel Touba va Ma’na-ye Shab (Touba and the Meaning of Night)

1947 – The Voice of America begins broadcasting to the Soviet Union

1952 – Karin Büttner-Janz  born, German physician, orthopaedic specialist and former East German Olympic gymnast who won two gold medals at the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich; physician at the orthopedic clinic of Berlin-Hellersdorf (1990-2004); chief physician at the Vivantes clinic of Berlin-Friedrichshain(2004-2012) From 2008 to 2012, she was additionally Chief Physician of the Vivantes clinic in Berlin-Kreuzberg

1957 – Loreena McKennitt born, Canadian singer-songwriter

1959 – First weather satellite, Vanguard 2, launches to measure cloud-cover distribution

1961 – Angela and Maria Eagle born, twin sisters who are British Labour politicians. Angela Eagle had been the Member of Parliament for Wallasey since 1992, and also served as Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury (2007-2009), and Minister for Pensions and Ageing Society (2009-2010). Maria Eagle is the incumbent Member of Parliament for Garston and Halewood since 1997; Under Secretary of State for Disabled People (2001-2005); and Minister for Children (2005-2006)

1962 – Alison Hargreaves born, British mountaineer; scaled Mount Everest solo, without supplementary oxygen or a Sherpa team in 1995; she soloed all the great north faces of the Alps in a single season,including the Eiger’s north face, a first for any climber. She was killed in 1995 while descending from the summit of K2

1964 – In Wesberry v. Sanders, the U.S. Supreme Court rules that congressional districts have to be approximately equal in population

1965 – The Ranger 8 probe launches to photograph the Mare Tranquillitatis region of the Moon in preparation for the manned Apollo missions; Mare Tranquillitatis, the “Sea of Tranquility” becomes the site chosen for the Apollo 11 lunar landing

1969 – Johnny Cash and Bob Dylan record “Girl from the North Country” in a Nashville studio

1972 – Cumulative sales of the Volkswagen Beetle exceed those of the Ford Model T

1972 – President Nixon leaves for his visit to China

1976 – The Eagles ‘Greatest Hits’ album is released

1979 – William Barnett, Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town, issues a statement condemning Apartheid as morally indefensible, expressing particular concern over the number deaths in detention, and the imprisonment and interrogation of people ‘until they die’ – there had been 7 deaths between 1971 and 1990 of people held indefinitely, and an 8th death in hospital of a man a few days after he was interrogated by the security branch at the John Vorster Square police station

1996 – World Chess Champion Garry Kasparov beats the Deep Blue supercomputer in a six-game chess match in Philadelphia PA

1996 – NASA’s Discovery Program begins as the NEAR Shoemaker spacecraft lifts off on the first mission ever to orbit and land on an asteroid, 433 Eros

1997 – The Virginia House of Delegates votes unanimously to retire the state song, “Carry Me Back to Old Virginia” which glorifies slavery

2002 – New regulations to go into effect requiring German pig farmers to spend 20 seconds a day with each pig, 10 seconds in the morning and 10 seconds in the afternoon

2003 – World Human Spirit Day * is launched by Michael Levy of Point of Life to promote a connection between people during two minutes of silent meditation

2005 – President George W. Bush names John Negroponte as the first U.S. national intelligence director

2008 – Kosovo declares its independence as the Republic of Kosovo

2009 – President Barack Obama signs $757 billion economic stimulus package into law

2011 – In Bahrain, Libya, security forces launch a pre-dawn raid on protesters camped out around the Pearl Monument near the financial district; four protesters are killed and many more injured

2013 – Thousands of Russian emergency workers begin cleaning up an area around the city of Chelyabinsk, where a meteor had exploded over the Ural Mountains two days earlier, damaging buildings and shattering windows

2019 – Donald Trump faced mounting legal and political challenges after he declared a national emergency in an attempt to circumvent Congress in order to build his wall on the U.S.-Mexico border. He diverted millions of dollars in federal funds designated by Congress for military and Treasury department budgets for his so-called “emergency.” Trump said, “I could do the wall over a longer period of time. I didn’t need to do this. But I’d rather do it much faster.” House Democrats said they would pass a resolution disapproving the declaration, while Trump declared he would veto any congressional efforts to block his plan. The ACLU and Public Citizen challenged his emergency declaration in the courts, and there were hundreds of protests across the U.S.


About wordcloud9

Nona Blyth Cloud has lived and worked in the Los Angeles area for over 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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