August 3rd, 2007 friday
August 3rd, 2007
birthdays: British Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin, Elisha Otis inventor of the Elevator, John T. Scopes- the teacher accused in the Monkey Trial, Habib Bourghiba, Ernie Pyle, Gene Kelly, Lenny Bruce, Tony Bennett, John Landis, Jay North, Dolores Del Rio, Leon Uris, Ann Klein, Martin Sheen
1347- THE BURGERS OF CALAIS- When King Edward III attacked France to press his claim for it’s throne the first city he needed was the port of Calais. After a long vicious siege the leaders of Calais agreed to surrender. England held Calais for 250 years. The king wanted to hang the burgers (city leaders) because of their stubborn resistance but they were spared after pleas of mercy from Edward’s Queen. August Rodin created a beautiful statuary group the Burgers of Calais in tribute. The six men loaded down with chains and ropes around their necks, defiance still radiating in their faces, are a symbol of resistance for all oppressed peoples.
1492- One half hour before dawn Christopher Columbus set sail from Palos, Spain on the Nina, Pinta and Santa Maria in search of the Indies. This was the first of four voyages. He took on board a linguist fluent in Turkish ,Sanskrit and Hebrew to speak to any natives they might encounter.
1807-Former Vice President Aaron Burr is arrested for treason. President Jefferson accused him of plotting to make himself dictator of a republic in newly acquired Louisiana and conquering Texas for himself. The charges were never proven and when the Chief Justice tried to call the President to the witness stand Jefferson invented the concept of "Executive Privilege". You can't make a sitting president testify under oath for fear he may be compelled to reveal damaging national secrets. The Chief Justice thought that was baloney too and acquitted Burr.
1916- Sir Roger Casement was executed for treason in London. Casement was an Irish patriot who went to Berlin to get Germany to fund the Irish Easter Sunday Uprising and he exposed human rites violations done by the Belgians in the Congo. After his conviction many leading English intellects like Arthur Conan-Doyle and Bernard Shaw lobbied for mercy for Casement, but the government produced his “black diaries” from his home in London, that proved he was homosexual. So the mercy movement was silenced, and he was hanged.
1943- In Sicily Gen. George S. Patton while touring a field hospital encountered a Pvt. Herman Kuhl. Private Kuhl wasn't physically wounded but suffering from nervous exhaustion called today Traumatic Stress Syndrome. Patton angrily accused him of cowardice and slapped him down. Allied High Command ordered Patton to apologize to Kuhl and the entire army, then recalled him to England. He would have no part in military actions until after D-Day, to the amazement of the Nazis General staff. Patton never could understand battle fatigue, I guess he never got tired of it.
1948- Now that Baseball was finally integrated Satchel Page, genius of the Negro Leagues, makes his belated Major League debut with the Cleveland Indians. A 45 year old rookie. Page once said:" Don't look back, something may be gaining on you."
1948- Time Magazine editor Whittaker Chambers publicly denounced a top Truman presidential aide Alger Hiss of being a Russian spy. Alger Hiss was a protege of both Franklin Roosevelt and Chief Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes. The Hiss investigation eventually convicted Hiss of espionage based on the 'pumpkin papers', incriminating documents Chambers said were found hidden in a pumpkin. The senate investigation shot to national prominence a new young congressman named Richard Nixon. In 1991 Soviet KGB files revealed Hiss was never a spy.
1949 -The National Basketball League is founded.
1958 - USS Nautilus begins 1st crossing of the Arctic Ocean under the icecap
1961- The first airline hijacking to Cuba.
1963 –Unemployed television producer Alan Sherman released an album of comedy songs at the request of his friends. Called “My Son the Folksinger” it contained the hit “Hello Muddah, Hello Fadduh, Here I am at, Camp Granada” and became an overnight sensation.
1966- While celebrating his 39th birthday, Comedian Lenny Bruce died of a morphine overdose. The groundbreaking comedian who coined the term “T & A” was arrested in 1964 and charged with obscenity for using the "F" word in his act. President Johnson and his opponent Senator Barry Goldwater could swear enough to make a sailor blush, but comedians were only supposed to make mother-in-law jokes. Bruce served six months, was broken physically and financially and no club would hire him. Yet today he is the model for all modern stand-up comedy. Phil Spector said: Lenny died of an overdose of cops” Today no one is arrested for telling jokes. Whether he leapt to his death from a window yelling “ I’m Super Jew! ” is a matter of legend.
1975- The Louisiana Superdome stadium is dedicated. Some football coaches were skeptical. Mike Ditka of the Chicago Bears said:” Football is meant to be played in cold and mud. Domed stadiums are for RollerDerbys!” In our time the SuperDome was the scene of a disgraceful herding of the poor of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.
1981- U.S. Air traffic controllers (PATCO) go on strike despite Pres. Reagan's warning they would be fired. Reagan was once president of the Screen Actor’s Guild. Ironically the only U.S. President who has ever been a labor leader was the most union-busting president of our time.
1996- The dance the Macarena by Los Del Rio becomes the #1 hit worldwide.