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Dec 2, 2019
December 2nd, 2019

Question: We hear people referred to as a Manchurian Candidate. What does that mean?

Yesterday’s Question answered below: What was the concept of Manifest Destiny?

History for 12/2/2019
Birthdays: George Seurat, Charles Ringling, Julie Harris, Gianni Verasce, Ray Walston, Monica Seles, Cathy Lee Crosby, Lucy Liu is 51, Britney Spears is 38

1254- Manfred, The bastard son of the German Emperor Frederick II Hohenstaufen, came into Italy with an army and routed Papal forces near Foggia.
Ever since the Pope had crowned Charlemagne, the argument was whether Popes or Emperors were top dog. The German Emperors wasted two centuries fighting the independent Italian City states trying to consolidate a reborn Roman Empire. The Popes fought them like any other independent landowner who didn’t want to yield their property.
Emperor Manfred didn’t accomplish much in Italy, but he liked to sing and write poetry. Dante said “There was not his like in the world when it came to playing string instruments.”

1494 - BONFIRE OF THE VANITIES Now that the Medici family were driven out, mystical monk Savonarola proposed to the people of Florence that they create a republic ruled by God’s Law. Savonarola ruled Florence like a Christian Ayatollah. He led big public spectacles where in large bonfires Florentines burned their “vanities” like makeup, wigs, art and books, and tried to live a religious life. Even the artist Botticelli burned one of his own paintings. Eventually, it all got so boring they burned Savonarola instead, and recalled the fun-loving Medici family.

1644- THE FIRST GREAT EUROPEAN SUMMIT- The various combatants of the Thirty Years War began a peace conference at Westphalia. France, Spain, Sweden, The German Empire, Saxony, Holland, the Papacy, Hungary, Denmark and a multitude of German and Italian small states try and end the seemingly endless war. It took them four years to hammer out a deal. While Central Europe was ravaged by six armies that depopulated the countryside, plague broke out and peasants rose in revolt, diplomats wasted six months arguing the order of how they entered the conference chamber, how they addressed one another and who had precedence. The Peace Treaty of Westphalia was signed and the war ended in 1648.

1697- Saint Paul’s Cathedral in London reopened. It was rebuilt by Sir Christopher Wren after being destroyed in the Great Fire of 1666.

1723- Phillipe D’Orleans died of an apoplectic seizure at 49. He ruled France as regent for the boy King Louis XV. Even when Louis attained his manhood, he didn’t mind if his Uncle Phillipe continued to run the country. Phillipe D’Orleans was an able minister but extremely corrupt and sexually promiscuous. The City of New Orleans was founded in his name.

1804- NAPOLEON CROWNED EMPEROR OF FRANCE .The 35 year old little corporal from Corsica who spoke French with an Italian accent, had piercing gray eyes and if he liked you showed his affection by giving your ear a tug, was crowned Emperor of the French. He had the Pope brought up from Rome to Notre Dame for legitimacy, but in a moment of planned theater Napoleon took the crown from his hands and crowned himself.

European liberals like Goethe and Beethoven who had thought Napoleon would be a strong force of reform in Europe were now disillusioned that he turned out to be just another usurper. Beethoven scratched off his dedication of his Third Symphony (Eroica) to him. Napoleon's mother, an old guerrilla named Madame Letizia, thought her son was making a fool out of himself and boycotted the ceremony. When David was doing the official painting of the event Napoleon ordered him to paint his mother in anyway.

1805- THE SUNRISE OF AUSTERLITZ- At a small village in what is now the Czech republic, Napoleon defeated the armies of the Czar of Russia and Emperor of Austria in one spectacular battle. Tolstoy called it the Battle of the Three Emperors. As much as he was a strategist and tactician Napoleon was a great analyst of human character. Based on his opinion of his opponent’s personalities, he predicted exactly how the battle would go two weeks before he lured them into it. The defeat of the Allies was total, French artillery blew holes in a frozen lake the Russians were trying to escape over, drowning hundreds. Within days they sued for peace and the war was ended. Napoleon's take on the days events: "Ah, que belle journee'."What a lovely day it's been."

1823- U.S. President James Monroe published the Monroe Doctrine, saying all the European empires then coveting lands in the Western Hemisphere should butt out or the Good Ole U.S.A. would have something to say about it! Shortly afterwards Britain extended its claim on Western Canada and seized the Falkland Islands, France entered Mexico, and Russia pressed it's claim on Alaska.

1834-Battle of Ndondakasuka- Csetshwayo and his Zulu Impis (regiments) defeat his rival Mbulazi to become King of the Zulu Empire. Csetshwayo's descendants are now the leaders of the Inkatha Freedom Party in modern South Africa.

1845- President James K. Polk re-affirmed the Monroe Doctrine and announced it would be the policy of his administration to get Texas and California from Mexico and Oregon from the British. He called such continental expansion America’s “Manifest Destiny.”

1854-Napoleon III was Napoleon's nephew and since 1848 legally elected President of the Second French Republic. But he decided that he wanted to be an Emperor like his uncle, so he seized dictatorial power on the anniversary of Austerlitz and arrested all dissenters like Victor Hugo, Alex DeTocqueville and cartoonist Honore' Daumier (gotta watch them cartoonists...)

1859- John Brown was hanged. He said nothing on the scaffold but left a prediction on a slip of paper,".. I now believe that the sins of this nation have become so great that the cannot be excised but by a great spilling of blood.." Witnessing the event were Col. Robert E. Lee, Captain Jeb Stuart, and part time reservist John Wilkes Booth.

1863- The dome of the U.S. Capitol completed as the Goddess of Freedom is hoisted up into place.

1877- Camille Saint Saens opera “Samson & Delilah” premiered in Weimar.

1896- We remember Wyatt Earp as the marshal of Dodge City and gunfighter of the 1881 OK Corral gunfight. He was better known to his people of his own generation as the referee of the Fitzsimmons-Sharkey Heavyweight Championship prizefight in San Francisco. After leaving Tombstone Arizona, Wyatt Earp drifted to San Francisco where his skills as a fight referee were called upon for this last of the big bare-knuckle bouts.
He enraged the public when he declared the fight for Sharkey in the 3rd round after Big-Bob Fitzsimmons couldn't stop bleeding. More people were out to kill him over this decision than were ever out to get him when marshal of Dodge City. He quickly pulled up stakes and went to the Yukon for the gold rush. He was all but forgotten until a little book called Wyatt Earp Frontier Marshal published in 1920 made him famous.

1901- Mr. King Gillette invented the safety razor.

1933- Voice actor Clarence “Ducky” Nash began working at Walt Disney. He would create the voice for Donald Duck and his nephews.

1935- Animator Marc Davis first day at Walt Disney Studios. He retired in 1978.

1938- The first executions in California by gas chamber.

1942- THE FIRST CONTROLLED NUCLEAR CHAIN REACTION -The concept of a fission reaction had been theorized by Einstein and Bohr in 1939. Under a squash court at the University of Chicago a team of physicists led by Enrico Ferme began a chain reaction in a uranium pile and stopped it again, producing a few watts of energy. To celebrate they produced a bottle of Chianti and some paper cups. No toasts were made to man's entrance into the Atomic Age. Tennis courts are still there and the Regenstein Library was built on the site. To this day the lowest basement registers off the scale on Geiger counters.

1954- Senator Joseph McCarthy’s fall from power became complete. The Senate voted to censure him for Misconduct Unbecoming a Senator. He died of alcoholism in 1957.

1956- Fidel Castro with 88 followers trained in guerrilla fighting, landed on the beach in Cuba and melted into the mountains. This group would be the core of a revolution that by 1959 would topple the US backed regime of dictator Fulgensio Batista and upset the world balance of power. The ramshackle boat Fidel, Che and his buddies made the crossing over from Mexico in was called the Granma.

1965- Walt Disney live action comedy That Darned Cat, with Dean Jones and Hayley Mills, opened.

1980- During El Salvador’s civil war four American churchwomen, three catholic nuns and a lay worker, were raped and murdered by government death squads backed by the U.S.

1982- Wild-eyed British comedian Marty Feldman (Igor in Young Frankenstein) suddenly died of a heart attack in Mexico while filming the comedy YellowBeard. He was only 48.

1993- NASA astronauts do a series of space walks from their shuttle to adjust the Hubble space telescope. The Hubble cost billions of dollars but was sent into orbit with a flaw in its lenses. It was nearsighted. The spacewalk in effect gave the Hubble a set of glasses to see better the furthest details of deep space.

1994- LA jury found Heidi Fleiss ‘The Hollywood Madam” guilty of running a prostitution ring. Charlie Sheen and Sean Penn were among her customers.
Yesterday’s Question: What was Manifest Destiny?

Answer: That it was America’s ultimate mission to expand across the continent to be a nation that was “From Sea to Shining Sea.”