ON THIS DAY: August 13, 2020

August 13th is

International Lefthander’s Day *

Filet Mignon Day

Prosecco wine Day


MORE! Lucy Stone, Felix Adler and Joycelyn Elders, click



Central African Republic – Independence Day

Tunisia – Women’s Day *


On This Day in HISTORY

900 – Count Reginar I Longneck of Hainault (land now straddles Belgium-France border) rises against Zwentibold of Lotharingia (medieval kingdom which included Holland, Belgium, much of Germany and Lorriane) and slays him near present-day Susteren in the Netherlands

Zwentibold of Lotharingia

985 – Al-Hakim bi-Amr Allah born, sixth Caliph of the Fatimid dynasty and 16th ISmaili imam. He came to the throne at age 11 when his father died, but was under heavy pressure from the Kutama Berbers, their leader al-Hassan ibn ‘Ammar having seized the office of wasīta (chief minister). He was also beleaguered by other forces, including the ‘Abbasid Caliph Al-Qadir of Baghdad. In his final years, he inclined toward asceticism, and began to withdraw for meditation regularly. In February 1021 at age 36, he left for one of his night journeys to the Mokkattam hills outside Cairo, and never returned. Only his donkey and bloodstained garments were found

1521 – Spanish conquistador Hernando Cortez captures the Aztec capital of Tenochtitlan

1625 – Erasmus Bartholin born, Danish physician, mathematician and physicist; discovered double refraction, which he could not explain but knew it contradicted Newton’s optical theories

1752 – Maria Carolina of Austria born, Queen consort of Naples and Sicily, the wife of King Ferdinand IV & III and sister of Marie Antoinette; de facto ruler of her husband’s kingdoms, she oversaw many reforms, including revocation of a ban on Freemasonry, enlargement of the navy, and expulsion of Spanish influence; a believer in enlightened absolutism until the French Revolution, during which she made Naples a police state

1792 –French Royal family imprisoned, King Louis XVI declared enemy of the people

1818 – Lucy Stone born, abolitionist, women’s rights pioneer and author; co-organizer of the first National Women’s Convention; co-founder of the American Woman Suffrage Association; and founder of the Woman’s Journal

1820 – Sir George Grove born, English writer and editor; noted for his multi-volume  Grove’s Dictionary of Music and Musicians,  which has been revised, expanded and reprinted many times

1829 – Martha J. Lamb born, American author, editor, historian and reformer; owner-editor of The Magazine of American History; co-founder of the Home for the Friendless and the Half-Orphan Asylum; secretary of the United States Sanitary Commission

1849 – Leonora Kearney Barry born in Ireland, American labor reformer and women’s rights activist, the only woman to hold national office in the Knights of Labor

1851 – Felix Adler born in Germany, American professor of political and social studies; social reformer/founder of the NY Society for Ethical Culture, based on belief in “deed rather than creed”; founded tuition-free school for children of working-class parents, and a doctor and nurse home visit program for invalids in poor districts

1860 – Annie Oakley born, stage name of Phoebe Ann Moses Butler, American target and exhibition shooter, star of Buffalo Bill’s Wild West show

1866 – Giovanni Agnelli born, cofounder, then chairman of Fabbrica Italiana di Automobili Torino, which became Fiat

1867 – George Luks born, American ‘Ashcan’ school painter

Self Portrait – 1907 by George Luks

1876 – First day of premiere of Wagner’s Ring Cycle at Bayreuth Festspielhaus

1879 – John Ireland born, British composer and pianist

1890 – Ellen Osiier born, Danish 1924 Olympic champion; winner of the gold medal in the first women’s fencing event in the Olympics, the Women’s Individual Foil competition; her teammate, Grete Heckscher, won the Bronze

1898 – Carl Gustav Witt discovers first near-Earth asteroid, 433 Eros

1889 – William Gray patents a coin-operated telephone

1899 – Alfred Hitchcock born, UK film director AFI Life Achievement honoree and 5-time Oscar nominee for suspense films like Rebecca, Rear Window, and Psycho

1902 – Felix Wankel born, German engineer, inventor of the rotary engine

1907 – The first taxicab begins operating in NYC

1912 – Salvador Luria born in Italy, American microbiologist; co-winner of 1969 Nobel Prize in Physiology for discoveries in replication mechanism and viral genetic structures

1914 – Grace Bates born, American mathematician and academic, one of the few women who earned a Ph.D. in math in the 1940s; she had to fight to get into advanced classes in mathematics in high school and college. She had to petition to become the only woman studying differential equations at Middlebury College, which was segregated by sex. She got her master’s at Brown University in 1938. Bates taught in elementary and secondary schools for several years, then went to University of Illinois to get her Ph.D., in 1949. She taught at Mount Holyoke College, became a full professor, then emeritus before her 1979 retirement; author of The Real Number System and Modern Algebra, Second Course

Mount Holyoke College

1918 – BMW is established as a public company in Germany

1918 – Opha May Johnson is the first woman of 305 to enlist in the U.S. Marine Corps

WWI Marine Recruiting Poster with photo of Opha May Johnson

1920 – The Battle of Warsaw begins in which the Poles will defeat the Soviet Red Army

1930 – Curuçá River Event: near latitude 5° S and longitude 71.5° W, a meteoric air burst causes destruction – also known as the Brazilian Tunguska event

1931 – The first U.S. community hospital is dedicated in Elk City OK

1933 – Joycelyn Elders born, American physician and research scientist, public health administrator as vice admiral in the Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, first African American and second woman appointed as U.S. Surgeon General

1934 – Al Capp’s comic strip “L’il Abner” makes its newspaper debut

1937 – The Battle of Shanghai between the Republic of China and the invading Imperial Japanese Army, the first major engagement in the Second Sino-Japanese War

1937 – The Brazilian National Union of Students is founded in Rio de Janeiro

1942 – Disney’s Bambi premieres at New York’s Radio City Music Hall

1943 – Ertha Pascal-Trouillot born, acting President of Haiti (1990-1991), the first woman in Haiti to hold the office; she is also one of the first women in Haiti to earn a law degree. After several years as a federal judge (1975-1988), she became the first woman justice on Haiti’s Supreme Court

1947 – Margareta Winberg born, Swedish Social Democratic politician; Swedish Ambassador to Brazil (2003-2007); Deputy Prime Minister of Sweden (2002-2003); Minister of Gender Equality (1998-2002); Minister for Labour (1996-1998); Minister for Agriculture (1994-1996). Outspoken feminist: in her interview for the 2005 Swedish documentary The Gender War, she expressed strong support for radical feminism, particularly feminist sociologist Eva Lundgren’s theory of the process of normalization of violence against women, including the role played by religion, which got Winberg into political hot water

1948 – Kathleen Battle born, American operatic coloratura soprano; she started singing gospel music with the choir at the African Methodist Episcopal Church in her hometown of Portsmouth, Ohio, but her professional career began in 1972 when she auditioned for Thomas Schippers, who chose her to sing the soprano solo in Brahms’ German Requiem at the Festival dei Due Mondi in Spoleto, Italy. This led to more orchestral concerts back in the U.S., a 1973 grant from the Martha Baird Rockefeller Fund for Music to support her career, and her 1975 opera debut in The Barber of Seville with the Michigan Opera Theatre. She was an established artist at the Metropolitan Opera in NY by the 1980s. But her temper and increasing demands caused a parting of the ways with the Met, for what the opera company termed “unprofessional behavior.” She returned to the Metropolitan Opera in 2016, with a recital of spirituals called “Kathleen Battle: Underground Railroad—A Spiritual Journey.”

1954 – Radio Pakistan broadcasts “Qaumī Tarāna”, the national anthem of Pakistan for the first time

1956 – Habib Bourguiba, Prime Minister of Tunisia (1956-1957) and then the nation’s first president (1957), decrees the Code of Personal Status, which gives women a unique place in the overwhelmingly Muslim region. The code abolished polygamy; created a judicial procedure for women to initiate divorce; and required the mutual consent of both parties for marriage to take place. Women earned the right to vote, and then the right to seek office. In 1962, women were able to access birth control and by 1965, abortion was legalized. Tunisian women were required by law to be obedient to their husbands until an agreement presented by Tunisian feminist groups was ratified in 1985. Bourguiba’s successor, Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, announced two bills on the 50th anniversary of the Code of Personal Status that reinforced housing rights of mothers having custody of children, and established 18 as the minimum age for marriage for both sexes. Tunisia signed the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women in 1980, but with several reservations because of conflicts with the Quran. In 1994, National Women’s Day * became a public holiday in Tunisia

Habib Bourguiba

1960 – The Central African Republic declares independence from France

1960 – The first two-way phone conversation by satellite takes place using NASA’s first telecommunications balloon satellite, Echo 1, launched the day before

1961 – Berlin divided by barbed wire to stop refugee flight, precursor to the Berlin Wall

1963 – Valerie Plame born, American operations officer at the CIA (1985-2006) until her identity as a covert officer was leaked to the press by Richard Armitage of the State Department and Vice President Cheney’s Chief  of Staff, Lewis “Scooter” Libby, during the George W. Bush administration; when the information was made public, she resigned, and worked with a ghostwriter on Fair Game: My Life as a Spy, My Betrayal by the White House; since then, she has co-authored with Sarah Lovett a spy novel called Blowback, published in 2013

1965 – The band Jefferson Airplane debuts at San Francisco’s Matrix Club

1967 – U.S. premiere of  Bonnie and Clyde, with Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway

1973 – Nixon institutes Economic Stabilization Program = wage and price controls

1976 – International Left Hander’s Day * is launched by Left Handers International

1981 – President Reagan signs into law the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act, which cut corporate taxes, increased military spending, and slashed domestic programs. The Federal Deficit doubled from $20 trillion to $40 trillion. An Orrin Hatch-sponsored rider, the Adolescent Family Life Act, enabled federal money to be used for promotion of abstinence, and for religious instruction on sex in public school sex education classes. In 1987, the Supreme Court partially upheld an ACLU court challenge to AFLA, stopping the religious instruction on sex in public schools

1993 – U.S. Court of Appeals rules that Congress must save all e-mails

1998 – A monument to the 255 people killed trying to cross the Berlin Wall is dedicated

2003 – Libya agrees to a $2.7 billion compensation fund for the families of the 270 people killed in the 1988 Pan Am bombing

2004 – The 28th summer modern Olympic games open in Athens

2008 – American Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps wins his 10th and 11th career gold medals, becoming the gold medal record-holder

2012 – Taylor Swift releases single “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” in U.S.

2014 – Maryam Mirzakhani wins the Fields Medal for Outstanding Discoveries in Mathematics, becoming the first woman and first Iranian to win the award

2017 – Following the violence by white supremacists during the Unite the Right march in Charlottesville, Virginia, that resulted in injuries to over 20 counter-protesters and the death of Heather Heyer, a number of protests against racism and white nationalism spread across the U.S., from a Solidarity Against Hate rally in Seattle, Washington, to a New York City counter-protest which greatly outnumbered a Pro-Trump rally being held there, while thousands of peaceful protesters in Washington DC marched down Pennsylvania Avenue. Other protests against racism and hatred were held in Los Angeles CA, Colorado Springs CO, Daytona Beach FL, Boston Massachusetts, Asbury Park NJ, and many other U.S. cities and towns

2018 – A study of the pain drug reminfentanil to relieve labor pains during childbirth, showed that it may be more effective than pethidine, the most widely used drug for labor pain since the 1950s, which is given by injection. Pethidine is not effective for up to 40% of women, who then need an epidural to block the pain, which often leads to a forceps or vacuum delivery, and can have damaging side effects to women as well. Remifentanil is delivered by a drip attached to the woman, who controls the amount by pressing a button when she feels pain. Women in the study who were using remifentanil were half as likely to end up asking for an epidural. Remifentanil has the added advantage of being cleared from the body very fast – within 10 minutes – so women are able to dose themselves just during contractions. Reminfentanil has been used during some surgical procedures, such as gastric bypass surgery, since the 1990s

2019 – The Los Angeles Opera announced it would “engage outside counsel” to look into the allegations of sexual harassment by opera star Plácido Domingo. Nine women have come forward to accuse Domingo, who has been the L.A. Opera’s general director since 2003. In an Associated Press article, several women said Domingo pressured them into sexual relationships, and that when they rebuffed his advances, he sometimes punished them professionally. Some of the accusations date back to the late 1980s. Domingo, 78, told AP the allegations are “deeply troubling and, as presented, inaccurate.” He said he “believed that all of my interactions and relationships were always welcomed and consensual.” By September, 2019, eleven more women had come forward to accuse him of sexual harassment. A number of women who worked backstage said in interviews with Associated Press that his reputation for inappropriate conduct was so well known that they made a point of trying to keep him separate from young women performers and backstage workers. Melinda McLain, a production coordinator at both the LA Opera and Houston Grand Opera, said, “We created these elaborate schemes for keeping him away from particular singers.” She also said that they invited Domingo’s wife Marta to company parties “because if Marta was around, he behaves.” Domingo spokesperson Nancy Selzer issued a statement that “we strongly dispute the misleading picture that the AP is attempting to paint of Mr. Domingo.”

Melinda McLain – opera coordinator – AP Photo/Terry Chea


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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