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March 16, 2023
March 16th, 2023

Question: Many American conservatives adopt an economic policy of laissez-faire. What does that mean?

Yesterday’s Question Answered below: What does it mean to adopt an ascetic lifestyle?
History for 3/16/2023
Birthdays: James Madison, Conrad Nagel, Dr. Josef Mengele the Nazi Angel of Death, Teresa Berganza, Christa Ludwig, Pat Nixon, Alice Bonheur, Harper Goff, Gore Verbinsky, Jerry Lewis, Bernardo Bertolucci, Eric Estrada, Kate Nelligan, Isabelle Huppert is 70, Lauren Graham is 56, Flava-Flav born William Drayton Jr.

597 BC- Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar II captured Jerusalem and ended the Old Kingdom of Israel. He forced the Jewish people to relocate to Babylon. This period was called the Babylonian Captivity. After Cyrus the Persian king attacked Babylon and allowed the Jews to go home, they noticed two tribes had disappeared- the Lost Tribes of Israel. These events were the basis for the term Babylon to be associated with ultimate evil in so much Judeo-Christian apocalyptic writings. It’s been speculated by some biblical scholars that the Israelites at this time worshiped many gods but by the time they left captivity they had trimmed down to one god, the storm god Yahweh.

In the ancient Roman religion this was the first day of nine days of fasting leading up to the Day of Blood, sacred to the Goddess Cybele. Although Jesus fasted in the wilderness, he never asked anyone else to. This pagan festival may be where the Christian Church got the Lenten Fast.

50BC- After maneuvering Pompey and his senatorial enemies out of Rome, Julius Caesar entered the city and proclaimed a general amnesty. Between now and his murder in 44 he drained marshes, built forums, opened public libraries and started the first newspaper in human history. The Acta Diurna –The Daily Doings- a one sheet of the acts of the Senate and events. It was pasted on city walls or read aloud by heralds.

37 AD- The Roman Emperor Tiberius had lived to a great old age and spent his last years at his private villa on the Isle of Capri. He had raised his sister Agrippina’s son Caligula to succeed him upon his death. This day after weeks of failing health Tiberius seemed to breathe his last. Caligula took the signet ring from his finger and went out to receive the adulation of the Praetorian Guard and Senate as the new emperor. But suddenly word came that Tiberius had opened his eyes and was asking for wine. The embarrassed Caligula went back into the sickroom and himself smothered the old man with a pillow.

455 A.D.- Roman Emperor Valentinian III was assassinated by kinsmen of Aetius, the half barbarian Roman general who Valentinian had killed the previous September.

1758- THE ST. SABAA MASSACRE- The Apache had invited the westward expanding Spanish colonists to move into the Texas hill country near where Austin would one day be. This brought them into direct conflict with the fierce Comanche nation, just as the Apache had hoped. This day the Comanches descended upon the new Spanish Mission of St. Sabaa and wiped them out. 200 dead. After punitive expeditions failed, the Spaniards left the territory alone. It remained Comancheria until the American settlers overran the area in the 1850s.

1778- In Paris, Benjamin Franklin first met Voltaire.

1792 -King Gustavus III Vasa of Sweden was assassinated at a masked ball. He had been warned and went incognito, but the killers recognized him because of the bejeweled medals all over his costume. He was a good ruler to Sweden but like Catherine the Great, he had no use for democratic parliaments and ruled like an absolute monarch.
Giusseppi Verdi later wrote an opera based on the incident, "Un Ballo en Maschera" and invented a love story where the King falls for the wife of his Prime Minister. He was later forced to revise his story however because the Swedish government resented their late king portrayed as an adulterer. The King’s enemies in his time had accused him of being a child-molester. So to avoid any more hassle, Verdi made him the Duke of Boston.

1802- The fortress at West Point New York becomes the United States Military Academy. 40 student cadets without uniforms. Today West Point graduates about 4000 officers a year. The Long Grey Line.

1830- DULLEST DAY IN HISTORY OF STOCK MARKET- only 31 shares traded for a grand total of $ 3,740 dollars.

1848- King Ludwig Ist of Bavaria abdicated over the scandal of his mistress LOLA MONTEZ. Lola started off as an Irish nymph named Betty James who changed her name and passed herself off as an Argentine flamenco dancer. Ludwig was so besotted with her that after awhile she was hiring and firing gov't officials as the Bavarian economy careened towards bankruptcy. Ludwig protested publicly that all Lola and he ever did was spend evenings reading aloud from Thomas a' Kempis "An Imitation of Christ". Privately he confessed she possessed extraordinary internal muscles...ahem....
He gave the crown to his brother Maximillian and she published a best selling book on beauty tips and toured the U.S.

1850- Nathaniel Hawthorne's novel The Scarlet Letter published.

1861- TEXAS voted to join the Southern Confederacy over the protests of elderly governor Sam Houston. "In the name of the nationality of Texas, I refuse to take this oath. …"
Houston argued that a better course to follow was to invade Mexico again and this time conquer all of it, after which Americans would elect Houston President and he would redress all Southern grievances. Sam was a little out of it by now.
As the Texas legislature called out 7 times for Sam Houston to take the Oath to the Confederacy, Houston sat quietly in his chair whittling on a stick. He then retired to his ranch and died a year later. Thousands of Texans died in the Civil War and the state was under military occupation until 1877.

1906- The Rolls-Royce Motorcar Company incorporated. Mr. Charles Rolls and Sir William Royce quickly realized that they couldn’t hope to compete with the mass produced, low-cost motorcars made by Henry Ford, so they appealed to the high end buyer with elegant hand made craftsmanship.

1898- Artist Aubrey Beardsley died of tuberculosis at 25. Having a religious conversion at the end of his life, but still the stickler for detail, his last words were:" Destroy all my erotic drawings...all the bad ones too...." Luckily for history his friends did neither.

1921- On the final day of the 10th Communist Party Congress Lenin laid down the statutes barring dissent in Russia. From now on Anarchism, Socialism, Centrism, Trade Unionism, in fact any dissent or disagreement with the Soviet Communist Party from Right of Left would be seen as Counter-Revolutionary Dead-Meatism.
Tired of arguing with old Bolsheviks over how Russian society should be transformed, he in effect stamped out the last sparks of democracy in Russia. The slogans of Russia belonging to the workers and peasants became just slogans. Russia really belonged to a small central committee controlling the Communist Party.

1926 -Robert Goddard launches the first liquid fueled rocket in Auburn Massachusetts. In later years he was invited to join Cal Tech and the Galcit group in forming the embryonic Jet Propulsion Lab. Goddard refused because at such a government facility he would no longer be the center of attention but just another scientist. Goddard also set up the first testing grounds in Rosswell New Mexico.

1934- Disney’s short The Three Little Pigs won an Oscar for best animated short.

1935- ADOLF HITLER surprised the world by announcing Germany's refusal to be bound by the Versailles Treaty anymore. He calls for universal conscription for a 100 division army, and reveals the secret massive illegal German arms buildup and the Luftwaffe, now the world's largest air force. He then waited for the Allies next move, which was to do nothing.

1961- Walt Disney comedy The Absent Minded Professor with Fred MacMurray premiered.

1968-THE MY-LAI MASSACRE- U.S. troops brutalized and killed 500 Vietnamese civilians. The GI's were disgusted with the endless invisible ambushes and not being able to tell civilians from guerrillas. So this day they annihilated an entire village that intelligence said had aided in the ambush of an earlier patrol. They lined up people in front of an open pit and shot them down. They got so carried away that a Huey helicopter gunship commanded by Warrant Officer Hugh Thompson had to place itself between the soldiers and the fleeing women & children and threatened to fire if they didn't stop.
Atrocities conducted under wartime stress are sadly common in all wars, but this one and the clumsy attempt to cover it up particularly horrified the American public. The ensuing media coverage began the harsh public attitude towards returning veterans, unprecedented in American wars. Only one person, Lt. William Calley, ever went to jail. Thompson and the surviving crew of the helicopter that halted the massacre were not acknowledged for their bravery until 1998, by President Clinton.

1985- A.P. correspondent Terry Anderson kidnapped by terrorist militia in Beirut. He was held captive for seven years.

1994- Olympic figure skater Tonya Harding was arrested for obstructing the prosecution of the case of the attack on her rival Nancy Kerrigan.

2007- Author Michael Crichton was the author of classics like The Andromeda Strain and Jurassic Park. He had been called the H.G. Wells of modern times. But today he shocked the scientific community by denouncing the theory of Global Warming.

2005- Old actor Robert Blake was acquitted of the murder of his wife Bonnie Lee Blakeley. She was shot in the head while in their car after having dinner together. Blake claimed he had returned to the restaurant to retrieve his gun. (?) Another suspect has never been found.

2008- J.P. Morgan bought-out collapsing super bank Bear Sterns (BSC), the first major firm to fall in the great Global Recession of 2008. One factor in the crisis was unregulated lying to stockholders and falsifying records. Just two of Bear-Stearns hedge-fund managers, Ralph Cioffi and Matthew Tannin, lost $1.6 billion, all while telling investors that everything was fine.

2020- Los Angeles, including Hollywood, ordered all theaters closed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

2020- Agatha Christies play The Mousetrap, the longest running play in history, running continuously since 1952, was closed due to the Covid pandemic.
Yesterday’s Question: What does it mean to adopt an ascetic lifestyle?

Answer: An ascetic lifestyle is one in which the individual chooses to live monastically, simply, without luxury. Often religiously based, this may also include a list of prohibitions, rituals and self-denying behavior. (thanks FG)