March 17, 2017
March 17th, 2017
Question: Why were police vans in the late XIX and early XX Centuries called Paddy Wagons?
Yesterday’s Question answered Below: Who do these organizations all have in common? The Okrana, the Cheka, the NKVD, the KGB, the FSB.
History for 3/17/2017
Birthdays: Jim Bridger the mountain man, Nat King Cole, film composer Alfred Newman, Mercedes McCambridge, Leslie Ann Down, Patrick Duffy, Rudolph Nureyev, Gary Sinise, Kate Greenaway, John Sebastian, Ben Washam (warner bros. animator), Ken Anderson (Disney animator), John Wayne Gacy, Kurt Russell is 66, Rob Lowe is 53
-Ancient Roman Festival Bacchanalia-the wine festival.
44BC- Mark Anthony called the first meeting of the Roman Senate since Julius Caesars assassination. Caesar’s murderers Brutus and Cassius were annoyed that the Roman people didn’t rise up in joy over their deed, but instead remained ominously quiet. Instead of seizing the government, Brutus and the conspirators went off to sulk. Meanwhile the Senate, not knowing who would win the coming power struggle, fence straddled by passing all of Caesars bills, then voting amnesty for his killers.
180AD- The Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius died at his army camp Vindobona- the future Vienna. He was 59 and was succeeded by Commodus. He left behind a book of private thoughts entitled To Myself, that we call The Meditations. It has become one of the great works of Western Philosophy.
461AD- HAPPY ST. PATRICKS DAY - St. Patrick was a Romanized Gaul named Patricius Magonus Sucatus who as a boy was taken as a slave to Ireland by raiders, then escaped and became a Christian Bishop at Auxerre. He returned to Ireland in 432. Patrick converted the daughters of Irish King Laoghaire and cast down the great pagan idol of Crom Cruach in Letrim. As far as snakes go, some say that was a metaphor for the pagans. He died on this day in Ireland 461AD.
The holiday was a religious festival in Ireland but in America the feast day of Ireland's patron saint became a chance to show ethnic pride and political strength in the face of anti-Irish prejudice.
965. AD- Pope Leo VIII died of a stroke while in bed with a lady en flagrante delicto.
1394- FREE LANCERS - Sir John Hawkwood died. During a time-out in the Hundred Years War in France Hawkwood formed a company of unemployed English knights and went to Italy to become “condottierie”-mercenaries, fighting for money in the feuds between all the little Italian city-states. Their distinctive brightly polished silver armor gave them the name “The White Company”. Sir Arthur Conan-Doyle wrote a novel by that name about them.
This is around the time the term 'free lance' had been coined, meaning a knight who was free of any Shield-Oath to a noble lord.
1525- THE GERMAN PEASANTS WAR BEGAN- Excited by the new Protestant movement throwing off the yoke of the Church, German peasants decide to throw off the yoke of their nobles as well. Preacher Thomas Munzer led a mob of peasants to kick out the Bishop-Dukes of Mulhausen and established rule by “Eternal Council”.
Martin Luther was shocked by the violence. He alienated many of his followers by disassociating himself from the revolts and urged their suppression. The rebellious mobs of peasants flying black flags across Germany, Austria and Alsace were only put down after terrible massacres.
1526- King Francis I of France had been captured in battle with Emperor Charles V and kept a prisoner in Madrid. A year later, after signing a lot of peace treaties he had no intention of honoring, he was finally set free on the Spanish-French border near Hendaye. He jumped on a horse and shouted “I am King Again!” Then he jumped on an 18 year old blonde his mother Louise of Savoy had brought him. Gee, thanks Mom!
1692- After the Quaker community refused to support a war with France the English Crown declared Governor William Penn deprived of his powers and the colony of Pennsylvania would be administered directly as a crown colony.
1737- The Irish Charitable Society of Boston held a dinner to celebrate Saint Patrick’s Day. Earliest known commemoration in America.
1762- in New York City, Irish militiamen against orders marched down Broadway to Hull's Tavern to a St. Patrick's Day breakfast. The first recorded St. Patty's Day parade. In 1848 several Irish-American organizations marched together and the parade became large enough to bring out the Mayor to preside.
As immigration grew so did the parades and the political patronage. Pulaski Day, Steuben Day, Columbus Day, Puerto-Rican Day, etc.
In the 1890’s politician Teddy Roosevelt seemed to be at so many ethnic parades saying he had relations that were Irish, German, Dutch, etc. that opponents called him "Old Mister 57 Flavors".
1768- Black slaves on the Caribbean Island of Montserrat rise up against their plantation overlords. Because many of the white overseers were Protestant Irish, the slaves guessed they would be distracted by Saint Patrick’s Day partying when they attacked. At the last moment someone gave the plot away. The rebellion was crushed and nine leaders hanged.
1776-This day the British Navy of 150 ships hoisted sail and left the City of Boston. Lord Howe had concluded an armistice with colonial General Washington that in exchange for an unmolested evacuation they would not burn the city. It was seen as a great early victory for the Americans. Boston Harbor was opened for the first time in three years. The British troops were heartily glad to leave. A lieutenant Sheffield wrote:” I curse Columbus and all the other discoverers of this diabolical land!”
1780 General Washington ordered his army to commemorate St. Patrick's Day in sympathy with "An ancient people's struggle for independence." One of the Pennsylvania regiments had so many Irish volunteers that it was called The Line of Ireland.
1808- ROYAL SCANDALS- William the Duke of York, second son of King George III had to resign his position as head of the British Army over an investigation that he kept a tootsie named Mary Clarke, who used her influence to cash in with army contractors. William’s dad the insane king was locked up and his older brother the Prince Regent later George IV didn't complain because he was hiding an illegal Irish wife named Mrs. Fitzherbert and another girlfriend named Lady Cunningham from his estranged wife Caroline the Princess of Wales, who was herself having sex with most of the men of Italy.
All this scandal couldn't defeat Napoleon, but it did knock Boney out of the British newspapers for awhile, and help Prime Minister Pitt the Younger drink himself into an early grave.
1811- The first sidewheel Mississippi riverboat The New Orleans was launched.
1845- Rubber Bands invented.
1857- John Stephens founds the Fenian Brotherhood in Dublin. This group is the forerunner of Sinn Fein (Shin Fain). The Fenians tried numerous insurrections in the old country and even a conquest of Canada from New York State using former Union army veterans in 1867. Like political leaders today worry about ISIS, Queen Victoria would cast a nervous eye over her shoulder for Fenians.
1874- MACY'S- Jacob and Isadore Strauss, two German Jewish peddlers whose first job in America was selling Confederate War Bonds, buy a dry goods store from a retired Quaker whaling sailor named R.H. MACY. They decide to keep the name to divert anti-Semitic customers. The store was later so successful that in 1904 Macys’s moved to it's present location on 34th St. The location was close by the new Penn. Station and also across the street from the two largest brothels in New York. When Macy was a sailor, he had a red star tattoo on his arm. That red star remains the Macys logo.
Izzy Strauss later went down with the Titanic in 1912 and Jacob's kids founded Strauss stores. When Jacob visited Paris in 1919, he joked on General Pershing's comment "Lafayette Nous'Voici" to:"Galerie Lafayette we are here!" Galerie Lafayette is a French department store...(don't blame me, it's a department store joke...)
1879- New Mexico Territorial Governor Lew Wallace stopped work on his novel Ben Hur long enough to meet face-to-face outlaw Billy the Kid to discuss an amnesty.
1884- To quiet the fears of New Yorkers that the Brooklyn Bridge was too dangerous to cross, circus-master P.T. Barnum led a herd of his circus elephants led by Jumbo the Elephant across the bridge safely.
1898- First test of a practical submarine. Americans had experimented with underwater travel since 1776 with Bushnells "Turtle" then the Civil War CSS Hunley. In the ocean off Staten Island a diesel-electric battery powered sub built by the John A. Holland Electric Boat Company of Georgia ran underwater for an hour and forty minutes then resurfaced. As a child Holland was inspired by Jules Verne's novel Twenty Thousand Leagues under the Sea".
1901- At a grand exhibition of his paintings at Bernheim-Jeune Palace in Paris, the world discovered the brilliance of a poor Dutch lunatic who had shot himself a few years back- Vincent Van Gogh.
1905-Eleanor and Franklin D. Roosevelt marry. They were cousins. Eleanor was actually more directly related to Theodore Roosevelt than Franklin was -she was TR’s niece. Franklin was a distant cousin.
1906- Teddy Roosevelt in a speech to the Gridiron Club coins the term "Muckraker".
1912- The Camp Fire Girls created.
1941- The National Gallery of Art opens in Washington D.C.
1949- The first car show for Porsche sportscars.
1965- Chicago began the Saint Patrick’s Day tradition of dyeing the Chicago River green.
1967- Senator Robert Kennedy first openly broke with the Lyndon Johnson administration and in a speech denounced the US participation in the war in Vietnam.
Johnson called Bobby “ Pipsqueak and his Massachusetts Mafia.” Kennedy called LBJ and the first lady “ Colonel Cornpone and the Little Piggy.”
Historians debate whether his brother John F. Kennedy who first committed US troops to the conflict would have accelerated or stopped the war had he not been assassinated. But according to reporters and confidants Robert Kennedy told them while running for the presidency in 1968 that if he won, his first priority was to get us out. Kennedy’s assassination ended that dream and the war for America dragged on until 1973.
1982- Politically conservative Hollywood actors led by Charlton Heston broke with the Screen Actor’s Guild and form a rival group called AWAG ( American Working Actor’s Guild). They were angered by SAG president Ed Asner’s taking their union into national politics by condemning Pres. Ronald Reagan’s policies in Central America, capped by the SAG board refusing Reagan (their former president) the Guild lifetime achievement award.
As a result Ed Asner’s hit TV show “Lou Grant” lost sponsors and was cancelled, and Heston’s career cooled as well, beyond heading the NRA and writing cranky letters to the L.A. Times calendar that Ben Hur wasn’t gay.
1983- On trial for libel, and refusing to name sources, wheelchair bound porn publisher Larry Flynt showed up in a US Federal court wearing a diaper made from an American flag. This was calculated to mock a conservative demand for a Constitutional amendment against burning the flag.
1991- Irish Gays and Lesbians first barred by the Ancient Order of Hibernians from marching in the New York and Boston St Patrick’s Day Parades. They took it to the Supreme Court who ruled the Hibernians could bar from marching who ever they wanted to. They ban Irish anti-abortion activists too. In 2014 the mayors of NYC and Boston skipped the parades because of the ban on LGBT.
Yesterday’s Question: Who do these organizations all have in common? The Okrana, the Cheka, the NKVD, the KGB, the FSB.
Answer: They were all names for the Russian secret police, from Czarist times to the present.