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Author Topic: This Day in History Thread.........  (Read 13951 times)
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« Reply #25 on: August 01, 2013, 01:36:12 AM »

Aug 1, 1914

First World War erupts in Europe
     
   
   
 On August 1, 1914, four days after Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia, two more great European powers—Russia and Germany—declare war on each other; the same day, France orders a general mobilization. The so-called "Great War" that ensued would be one of unprecedented destruction and loss of life, resulting in the deaths of some 20 million soldiers and civilians and the physical devastation of much of the European continent.

The event that was widely acknowledged to have sparked the outbreak of World War I occurred on July 28, 1914, when Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the Austro-Hungarian Empire, was shot to death with his wife by the Bosnian Serb nationalist Gavrilo Princip in Sarajevo. Over the weeks that followed, Austria-Hungary blamed the Serbian government for the attack, hoping to use the incident as justification for settling the problem of Slavic nationalism in the tumultuous Balkans region once and for all. However, as Russia supported Serbia, an Austria-Hungary declaration of war was delayed until its leaders received assurances from German leader Kaiser Wilhelm II that Germany would support their cause in the event of a Russian intervention. This assurance came on July 5; Austria-Hungary subsequently sent an ultimatum to the Serbian government on July 23 and demanded its acceptance within two days at the risk of war. Though Serbia accepted all but two of the ultimatum’s terms, and Russia declared its intention to back Serbia in the case of such a conflict, Austria-Hungary went ahead with its war declaration against Serbia on July 28, one month after the assassinations.

With that declaration, the tenuous peace between Europe’s great powers was shattered: Germany warned Russia, still only partially mobilized, that to continue to full mobilization against Austria-Hungary would mean war with Germany. While insisting that Russia immediately halt mobilization, Germany began its own mobilization; when the Russians refused the German demands, Germany declared war on the czarist empire on August 1. That same day, Russia’s ally, France, long suspicious of German aggression, began its own mobilization, urging Great Britain—the third member, along with France and Russia, of the Triple Entente alliance—to declare its support. A divided British government declined to do so initially, but events soon precipitated Britain’s move towards war as well. On August 2, the first German army units crossed into Luxembourg as part of a long-planned German strategy to invade France through neutral Belgium. France and Germany declared war against each other on August 3; that night, Germany invaded Belgium, prompting Great Britain to declare war on Germany.

For the most part, the people of Europe greeted the outbreak of war with jubilation. The great majority of people—within government and without—assumed that their country would be victorious within months, and could not envision the possibility of a longer conflict. By the end of 1914, however, well over a million soldiers of various nationalities had been killed on the battlefields of Europe, and there was no final victory in sight for either the Allies or the Central Powers. On the Western Front—the battle line that stretched across northern France and Belgium—the combatants settled down in the trenches for a terrible war of attrition, which would continue, in Europe and other corners of the world, for the next four years.

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« Reply #26 on: August 02, 2013, 01:17:31 AM »

Aug 2, 1876


Wild Bill Hickok is murdered
   
 

"Wild Bill" Hickok, one of the greatest gunfighters of the American West, is murdered in Deadwood, South Dakota.

Born in Illinois in 1837, James Butler "Wild Bill" Hickok first gained notoriety as a gunfighter in 1861 when he coolly shot three men who were trying to kill him. A highly sensationalized account of the gunfight appeared six years later in the popular periodical Harper's New Monthly Magazine, sparking Hickok's rise to national fame. Other articles and books followed, and though his prowess was often exaggerated, Hickok did earn his reputation with a string of impressive gunfights.

After accidentally killing his deputy during an 1871 shootout in Abilene, Texas, Hickok never fought another gun battle. For the next several years he lived off his famous reputation, appearing as himself in Buffalo Bill Cody's Wild West show. Occasionally, he worked as guide for wealthy hunters. His renowned eyesight began to fail, and for a time he was reduced to wandering the West trying to make a living as a gambler. Several times he was arrested for vagrancy.

In the spring of 1876, Hickok arrived in the Black Hills mining town of Deadwood, South Dakota. There he became a regular at the poker tables of the No. 10 Saloon, eking out a meager existence as a card player. On this day in 1876, Hickok was playing cards with his back to the saloon door. At 4:15 in the afternoon, a young gunslinger named Jack McCall walked into the saloon, approached Hickok from behind, and shot him in the back of the head. Hickok died immediately. McCall tried to shoot others in the crowd, but amazingly, all of the remaining cartridges in his pistol were duds. McCall was later tried, convicted, and hanged.

Hickok was only 39 years old when he died. The most famous gunfighter in the history of the West died with his Smith & Wesson revolver in his holster, never having seen his murderer. According to legend, Hickok held a pair of black aces and black eights when he died, a combination that has since been known as the Dead Man's Hand.

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« Reply #27 on: August 02, 2013, 11:11:58 AM »

Great thread.
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« Reply #28 on: August 02, 2013, 01:00:14 PM »

Great thread.
glad you enjoy it.
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« Reply #29 on: August 03, 2013, 01:55:29 AM »

Aug 3, 1492


Columbus sets sail
   
 

From the Spanish port of Palos, Italian explorer Christopher Columbus sets sail in command of three ships—the Santa Maria, the Pinta, and the Nina—on a journey to find a western sea route to China, India, and the fabled gold and spice islands of Asia.

On October 12, the expedition sighted land, probably Watling Island in the Bahamas, and went ashore the same day, claiming it for Spain. Later that month, Columbus sighted Cuba, which he thought was mainland China, and in December the expedition landed on Hispaniola, which Columbus thought might be Japan. He established a small colony there with 39 of his men. The explorer returned to Spain with gold, spices, and "Indian" captives in March 1493 and was received with the highest honors by the Spanish court. He was the first European to explore the Americas since the Vikings set up colonies in Greenland and Newfoundland in the 10th century.

During his lifetime, Columbus led a total of four expeditions to the New World, discovering various Caribbean islands, the Gulf of Mexico, and the South and Central American mainland, but never accomplished his original goal—a western ocean route to the great cities of Asia. Columbus died in Spain in 1506 without realizing the great scope of what he did achieve: He had discovered for Europe the New World, whose riches over the next century would help make Spain the wealthiest and most powerful nation on earth.

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« Reply #30 on: August 04, 2013, 04:18:24 AM »

Aug 4, 1753


Washington becomes Master Mason
 


George Washington, a young Virginia planter, becomes a Master Mason, the highest basic rank in the secret fraternity of Freemasonry. The ceremony was held at the Masonic Lodge No. 4 in Fredericksburg, Virginia. Washington was 21 years old and would soon command his first military operation as a major in the Virginia colonial militia.

Freemasonry evolved from the practices and rituals of the stonemasons' guilds in the Middle Ages. With the decline of European cathedral building, "lodges" decided to admit non-stonemasons to maintain membership, and the secret fraternal order grew in popularity in Europe. In 1717, the first Grand Lodge, an association of lodges, was founded in England, and Freemasonry was soon disseminated throughout the British Empire. The first American Mason lodge was established in Philadelphia in 1730, and future revolutionary leader Benjamin Franklin was a founding member.

There is no central Masonic authority, and Freemasons are governed locally by the order's many customs and rites. Members trace the origins of Masonry back to the erecting of King Solomon's Temple in biblical times and are expected to believe in the "Supreme Being," follow specific religious rites, and maintain a vow of secrecy concerning the order's ceremonies. The Masons of the 18th century adhered to liberal democratic principles that included religious toleration, loyalty to local government, and the importance of charity. From its inception, Freemasonry encountered considerable opposition from organized religion, especially from the Roman Catholic Church.

For George Washington, joining the Masons was a rite of passage and an expression of his civic responsibility. After becoming a Master Mason, Washington had the option of passing through a series of additional rites that would take him to higher "degrees." In 1788, shortly before becoming the first president of the United States, Washington was elected the first Worshipful Master of Alexandria Lodge No. 22.

Many other leaders of the American Revolution, including Paul Revere, John Hancock, the Marquis de Lafayette, and the Boston Tea Party saboteurs, were also Freemasons, and Masonic rites were witnessed at such events as Washington's presidential inauguration and the laying of the cornerstone of the U.S. Capitol building in Washington, D.C.--a city supposedly designed with Masonic symbols in mind. Masonic symbols, approved by Washington in the design of the Great Seal of the United States, can be seen on the one-dollar bill. The All-Seeing Eye above an unfinished pyramid is unmistakably Masonic, and the scroll beneath, which proclaims the advent of a "New Secular Order" in Latin, is one of Freemasonry's long-standing goals. The Great Seal appeared on the dollar bill during the presidency of Franklin D. Roosevelt, also a Mason.

Freemasonry has continued to be important in U.S. politics, and at least 15 presidents, five Supreme Court chief justices, and numerous members of Congress have been Masons. Presidents known to be Masons include Washington, James Monroe, Andrew Jackson, James Polk, James Buchanan, Andrew Johnson, James Garfield, William McKinley, Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, Warren Harding, Franklin Roosevelt, Harry Truman, Lyndon Johnson, and Gerald Ford. Today there are an estimated two million Masons in the United States, but the exact membership figure is one of the society's many secrets.
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« Reply #31 on: August 05, 2013, 05:35:53 AM »

Aug 5, 1962


Marilyn Monroe is found dead
 


On August 5, 1962, movie actress Marilyn Monroe is found dead in her home in Los Angeles. She was discovered lying nude on her bed, face down, with a telephone in one hand. Empty bottles of pills, prescribed to treat her depression, were littered around the room. After a brief investigation, Los Angeles police concluded that her death was "caused by a self-administered overdose of sedative drugs and that the mode of death is probable suicide."

Marilyn Monroe was born Norma Jean Mortenson in Los Angeles on June 1, 1926. Her mother was emotionally unstable and frequently confined to an asylum, so Norma Jean was reared by a succession of foster parents and in an orphanage. At the age of 16, she married a fellow worker in an aircraft factory, but they divorced a few years later. She took up modeling in 1944 and in 1946 signed a short-term contract with 20th Century Fox, taking as her screen name Marilyn Monroe. She had a few bit parts and then returned to modeling, famously posing nude for a calendar in 1949.

She began to attract attention as an actress in 1950 after appearing in minor roles in the The Asphalt Jungle and All About Eve. Although she was onscreen only briefly playing a mistress in both films, audiences took note of the blonde bombshell, and she won a new contract from Fox. Her acting career took off in the early 1950s with performances in Love Nest (1951), Monkey Business (1952), and Niagara (1953). Celebrated for her voluptuousness and wide-eyed charm, she won international fame for her sex-symbol roles in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953), How to Marry a Millionaire (1953), and There's No Business Like Show Business (1954). The Seven-Year Itch (1955) showcased her comedic talents and features the classic scene where she stands over a subway grating and has her white skirt billowed up by the wind from a passing train. In 1954, she married baseball great Joe DiMaggio, attracting further publicity, but they divorced eight months later.

In 1955, she studied with Lee Strasberg at the Actors Studio in New York City and subsequently gave a strong performance as a hapless entertainer in Bus Stop (1956). In 1956, she married playwright Arthur Miller. She made The Prince and the Showgirl--a critical and commercial failure--with Laurence Olivier in 1957 but in 1959 gave an acclaimed performance in the hit comedy Some Like It Hot. Her last role, in The Misfits (1961), was directed by John Huston and written by Miller, whom she divorced just one week before the film's opening.

By 1961, Monroe, beset by depression, was under the constant care of a psychiatrist. Increasingly erratic in the last months of her life, she lived as a virtual recluse in her Brentwood, Los Angeles, home. After midnight on August 5, 1962, her maid, Eunice Murray, noticed Monroe's bedroom light on. When Murray found the door locked and Marilyn unresponsive to her calls, she called Monroe's psychiatrist, Dr. Ralph Greenson, who gained access to the room by breaking a window. Entering, he found Marilyn dead, and the police were called sometime after. An autopsy found a fatal amount of sedatives in her system, and her death was ruled probable suicide.

In recent decades, there have been a number of conspiracy theories about her death, most of which contend that she was murdered by John and/or Robert Kennedy, with whom she allegedly had love affairs. These theories claim that the Kennedys killed her (or had her killed) because they feared she would make public their love affairs and other government secrets she was gathering. On August 4, 1962, Robert Kennedy, then attorney general in his older brother's cabinet, was in fact in Los Angeles. Two decades after the fact, Monroe's housekeeper, Eunice Murray, announced for the first time that the attorney general had visited Marilyn on the night of her death and quarreled with her, but the reliability of these and other statements made by Murray are questionable.

Four decades after her death, Marilyn Monroe remains a major cultural icon. The unknown details of her final performance only add to her mystique.
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« Reply #32 on: August 05, 2013, 07:28:27 PM »

http://www.history.com/news/bertha-benz-hits-the-road-125-years-ago?cmpid=Social_Facebook_Hith_08052013_1

Bertha Benz Hits the Road, 125 Years Ago

In August 1888, Bertha Benz, the 39-year-old wife of German engineer Karl Benz, made history when she became the first person to complete a long-distance trip by automobile. The trip helped popularize Karl Benz’s latest invention—and likely saved him from professional and financial ruin. One hundred and twenty five years after Bertha’s big journey, get the facts about the world’s first road trip.

Bertha Ringer Benz, the daughter of a wealthy family from the southwestern German town of Pforzheim, had come to her husband’s aid before. Two years before the couple’s 1872 wedding she had used part of her dowry to help prop up the failing iron construction company Karl Benz had launched with an irresponsible business partner. When he lost control of the company shortly thereafter, Benz moved on, using Bertha’s continued financial support (and business acumen) to form a new manufacturing venture known as Benz & Cie. When the company proved successful, Karl was able to turn his attention to a lifelong dream—the creation of the first true automobile. After several years of failed attempts, Karl finally finished work on his first horseless carriage in December 1885 (he received a patent for it the following year). The single-cylinder, 2.5-horsepower car had three wheels—one in front and two in the back—and could reach a maximum speed of 25 mph.

Karl may have been a supremely talented engineer, but he was a terrible marketer. The first few public displays of his new invention didn’t go well, including one demonstration that quickly ended when a driver lost control of the vehicle and crashed into a nearby wall, terrifying onlookers. Ever the perfectionist, Benz retreated to his factory, where he continually tinkered with his automobile in private. However, Bertha, whose inheritance had helped keep the family afloat in the lean years, was well aware of the need to publicize the automobile as much as possible. And there was added pressure from the competition just a few miles away; another German engineer, Gottlieb Daimler, had invented a horseless carriage of his own— the world’s first four-wheeled, high-speed automobile.

Frustrated by her husband’s apparent unwillingness to act on his own, Bertha took matters into her own hands. In early August 1888 (the date has been variously given as either August 5 or 12), Bertha packed up one of her husband’s cars, the recently completed Patent-Motorwagen No. 3, and with her two teenage sons in tow set out to visit her mother in Pforzheim. She didn’t tell Karl beforehand, but instead left him a letter informing him of her plans.

The Benzes hit the road— which in many places turned out to be rocky, dusty and unpaved—with Bertha acting as both driver and automobile mechanic along the way. When she ran low on fuel, she sought out a local pharmacy that sold ligroin, the petroleum solvent used to run Karl Benz’s cars. She made an emergency repair to the car’s ignition with her garter. When the fuel line became clogged part of the way through their journey, Bertha was able to clear it using nothing more than her hairpin. Bertha is even credited with devising the world’s first pair of brake pads: when the car’s worn-down, wooden brakes began to fail, she asked a local shoemaker to install leather soles instead.

The three travelers finally reached the home of Bertha’s mother around dusk, having covered 65 miles in less than 12 hours. Bertha sent Karl a telegram informing him of the family’s safe arrival but news of her exploit had already reached the press, thanks to eyewitness reports from residents of the towns and villages Bertha and the boys had passed along the way. Most expressed amazement at Karl Benz’s achievement and how safe it seemed to be, although others were reportedly terrified of the sudden appearance of the automobile in their midst—one driven by a women, no less. While the publicity was certainly nice, there was a more practical upshot to Bertha Benz’s road trip. The difficulties she and her sons faced getting Karl’s 2.5-horse-powered car up neighboring hills (often manually pushing the car uphill) convinced the inventor to make a crucial modification – the introduction of the world’s first gear system.

After visiting with her mother for several days, Bertha set out for her return trip, following a different route and introducing her husband’s automobile to even more people before arriving home safely. In all, she had driven over 120 miles at a time when no other automobile had traveled more than a few dozen feet. Her trip unleashed an avalanche of publicity and the couple began receiving orders for their newfangled contraption almost immediately. Within a decade Karl’s company, Benz & Cie., became the world’s largest automobile company with a full-time staff of more than 400 and annual sales of nearly 600 vehicles.

Karl remained with the company he had founded in an advisory position until his death in 1929. Benz & Cie. had merged three years earlier with Gottlieb Daimler and Wilhelm Maybach’s company to form Daimler-Benz, home to the Mercedes-Benz. While the Benz family remained on the company’s board, they also started another automobile business, Benz Sonz, in 1906. Karl and Bertha, along with sons Eugen and Richard, who had accompanied their mother on her history-making 1888 trip, formed the new company, which remained family-owned until it closed its doors in 1924. Bertha Benz died 20 years later at the age of 95. Her 1888 triumph has been memorialized in books and on film, and today motorists can travel the 120-mile long Bertha Benz Memorial Route, which follows the path of her historic trip.
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« Reply #33 on: August 06, 2013, 01:13:17 AM »

Aug 6, 1945


American bomber drops atomic bomb on Hiroshima
     
   
 
 On this day in 1945, at 8:16 a.m. Japanese time, an American B-29 bomber, the Enola Gay, drops the world's first atom bomb, over the city of Hiroshima. Approximately 80,000 people are killed as a direct result of the blast, and another 35,000 are injured. At least another 60,000 would be dead by the end of the year from the effects of the fallout.

U.S. President Harry S. Truman, discouraged by the Japanese response to the Potsdam Conference's demand for unconditional surrender, made the decision to use the atom bomb to end the war in order to prevent what he predicted would be a much greater loss of life were the United States to invade the Japanese mainland. And so on August 5, while a "conventional" bombing of Japan was underway, "Little Boy," (the nickname for one of two atom bombs available for use against Japan), was loaded onto Lt. Col. Paul W. Tibbets' plane on Tinian Island in the Marianas. Tibbets' B-29, named the Enola Gay after his mother, left the island at 2:45 a.m. on August 6. Five and a half hours later, "Little Boy" was dropped, exploding 1,900 feet over a hospital and unleashing the equivalent of 12,500 tons of TNT. The bomb had several inscriptions scribbled on its shell, one of which read "Greetings to the Emperor from the men of the Indianapolis" (the ship that transported the bomb to the Marianas).

There were 90,000 buildings in Hiroshima before the bomb was dropped; only 28,000 remained after the bombing. Of the city's 200 doctors before the explosion; only 20 were left alive or capable of working. There were 1,780 nurses before-only 150 remained who were able to tend to the sick and dying.

According to John Hersey's classic work Hiroshima, the Hiroshima city government had put hundreds of schoolgirls to work clearing fire lanes in the event of incendiary bomb attacks. They were out in the open when the Enola Gay dropped its load.

There were so many spontaneous fires set as a result of the bomb that a crewman of the Enola Gay stopped trying to count them. Another crewman remarked, "It's pretty terrific. What a relief it worked."
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« Reply #34 on: August 07, 2013, 01:22:33 AM »

Aug 7, 1782


Washington creates the Purple Heart

    
  
  On this day in 1782, in Newburgh, New York, General George Washington, the commander in chief of the Continental Army, creates the "Badge for Military Merit," a decoration consisting of a purple, heart-shaped piece of silk, edged with a narrow binding of silver, with the word Merit stitched across the face in silver. The badge was to be presented to soldiers for "any singularly meritorious action" and permitted its wearer to pass guards and sentinels without challenge. The honoree's name and regiment were also to be inscribed in a "Book of Merit."

Washington's "Purple Heart" was awarded to only three known soldiers during the Revolutionary War: Elijah Churchill, William Brown and Daniel Bissell, Jr. The "Book of Merit" was lost, and the decoration was largely forgotten until 1927, when General Charles P. Summerall, the U.S. Army chief of staff, sent an unsuccessful draft bill to Congress to "revive the Badge of Military Merit." In 1931, Summerall's successor, General Douglas MacArthur, took up the cause, hoping to reinstate the medal in time for the bicentennial of George Washington's birth. On February 22, 1932, Washington's 200th birthday, the U.S. War Department announced the creation of the "Order of the Purple Heart."

In addition to aspects of Washington's original design, the new Purple Heart also displays a bust of Washington and his coat of arms. The Order of the Purple Heart, the oldest American military decoration for military merit, is awarded to members of the U.S. armed forces who have been killed or wounded in action against an enemy. It is also awarded to soldiers who have suffered maltreatment as prisoners of war.

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« Reply #35 on: August 08, 2013, 01:33:30 AM »

Aug 8, 1863


Lee offers resignation
   
 

In the aftermath of his defeat at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, Confederate General Robert E. Lee sends a letter of resignation as commander of the Army of Northern Virginia to Confederate President Jefferson Davis.

The letter came more than a month after Lee's retreat from Pennsylvania. At first, many people in the South wondered if in fact Lee had lost the battle. Lee's intent had been to drive the Union army from Virginia, which he did. The Army of the Potomac suffered over 28,000 casualties, and the Union army's offensive capabilities were temporarily disabled. But the Army of Northern Virginia absorbed 23,000 casualties, nearly one-third of its total. As the weeks rolled by and the Union army reentered Virginia, it became clear that the Confederacy had suffered a serious defeat at Gettysburg. As the press began to openly speculate about Lee's leadership, the great general reflected on the campaign at his headquarters in Orange Courthouse, Virginia.

The modest Lee took the failure at Gettysburg very personally. In his letter to Davis, he wrote, "I have been prompted by these reflections more than once since my return from Pennsylvania to propose to Your Excellency the propriety of selecting another commander for this army... No one is more aware than myself of my inability for the duties of my position. I cannot even accomplish what I myself desire... I, therefore, in all sincerity, request your Excellency to take measure to supply my place."

Lee not only seriously questioned his ability to lead his army, he was also experiencing significant physical fatigue. He might also have sensed that Gettysburg was his last chance to win the war. Regardless, President Davis refused the request. He wrote, "To ask me to substitute you by someone... more fit to command, or who would possess more of the confidence of the army... is to demand an impossibility."

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« Reply #36 on: August 09, 2013, 01:26:17 AM »

Aug 9, 1969


Manson cult kills five people
   
 

On this day in 1969, members of Charles Manson's cult kill five people in movie director Roman Polanski's Beverly Hills, California, home, including Polanski's pregnant wife, actress Sharon Tate. Less than two days later, the group killed again, murdering supermarket executive Leno LaBianca and his wife Rosemary in their home. The savage crimes shocked the nation and, strangely, turned Charles Manson into a criminal icon.

Manson was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, in 1934 to an unwed 16-year-old mother. He spent much of his childhood in juvenile reformatories and his early adulthood in prison. After his release in 1967, Manson moved to California and used his unlikely magnetism to attract a group of hippies and set up a commune, where drugs and orgies were common, on the outskirts of Los Angeles.

Manson preached his own blend of eccentric religious teachings to his acolytes, who called themselves his "Family." He told them a race war between blacks and whites was imminent and would result in great power for the Family. Manson said they should instigate the war by killing rich white people and trying to make it look like the work of blacks.

Roman Polanski (Rosemary's Baby, Chinatown, The Pianist), was not the cult leader's intended target. Manson, an aspiring musician, chose the Polanski house because he had once unsuccessfully tried to get a recording deal from a producer who used to live there. Polanski was out of town at the time of the murders, but his wife and her friends, including coffee heiress Abigail Folger, were shot or stabbed to death. Manson stayed out of the Polanski house on the night of the crime and didn't take part in the LaBianca killings either. However, he would later be charged with murder on the grounds he had influenced his followers and masterminded the crimes.

After initially eluding police suspicion, Manson was arrested only after one of his followers, already in jail on a different charge, started bragging about what had happened. Manson's subsequent trial became a national spectacle, in which he exhibited bizarre and violent behavior. In 1971, he was convicted and given the death penalty; however, that sentence became life behind bars when the California Supreme Court overturned the death penalty in 1972.

Manson has been the subject of numerous movies and books, including the best-seller Helter Skelter (the title is a reference to a Beatles' song of the same name, through which Manson believed the group was sending secret messages to start a race war). Manson remains in a California prison.

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« Reply #37 on: August 09, 2013, 05:54:54 AM »

Aug 8, 1863


Lee offers resignation
   
 

In the aftermath of his defeat at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, Confederate General Robert E. Lee sends a letter of resignation as commander of the Army of Northern Virginia to Confederate President Jefferson Davis.

The letter came more than a month after Lee's retreat from Pennsylvania. At first, many people in the South wondered if in fact Lee had lost the battle. Lee's intent had been to drive the Union army from Virginia, which he did. The Army of the Potomac suffered over 28,000 casualties, and the Union army's offensive capabilities were temporarily disabled. But the Army of Northern Virginia absorbed 23,000 casualties, nearly one-third of its total. As the weeks rolled by and the Union army reentered Virginia, it became clear that the Confederacy had suffered a serious defeat at Gettysburg. As the press began to openly speculate about Lee's leadership, the great general reflected on the campaign at his headquarters in Orange Courthouse, Virginia.

The modest Lee took the failure at Gettysburg very personally. In his letter to Davis, he wrote, "I have been prompted by these reflections more than once since my return from Pennsylvania to propose to Your Excellency the propriety of selecting another commander for this army... No one is more aware than myself of my inability for the duties of my position. I cannot even accomplish what I myself desire... I, therefore, in all sincerity, request your Excellency to take measure to supply my place."

Lee not only seriously questioned his ability to lead his army, he was also experiencing significant physical fatigue. He might also have sensed that Gettysburg was his last chance to win the war. Regardless, President Davis refused the request. He wrote, "To ask me to substitute you by someone... more fit to command, or who would possess more of the confidence of the army... is to demand an impossibility."



I like how he referred to him as "your excellency"
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« Reply #38 on: August 10, 2013, 04:14:26 AM »

Aug 10, 1793


Louvre Museum opens
   
 

After more than two centuries as a royal palace, the Louvre is opened as a public museum in Paris by the French revolutionary government. Today, the Louvre's collection is one of the richest in the world, with artwork and artifacts representative of 11,000 years of human civilization and culture.

The Louvre palace was begun by King Francis I in 1546 on the site of a 12th-century fortress built by King Philip II. Francis was a great art collector, and the Louvre was to serve as his royal residence. The work, which was supervised by the architect Pierre Lescot, continued after Francis' death and into the reigns of kings Henry II and Charles IX. Almost every subsequent French monarch extended the Louvre and its grounds, and major additions were made by Louis XIII and Louis XIV in the 17th century. Both of these kings also greatly expanded the crown's art holdings, and Louis XIV acquired the art collection of Charles I of England after his execution in the English Civil War. In 1682, Louis XIV moved his court to Versailles, and the Louvre ceased to be the main royal residence.

In the spirit of the Enlightenment, many in France began calling for the public display of the royal collections. Denis Diderot, the French writer and philosopher, was among the first to propose a national art museum for the public. Although King Louis XV temporarily displayed a selection of paintings at the Luxembourg Palace in 1750, it was not until the outbreak of the French Revolution in 1789 that real progress was made in establishing a permanent museum. On August 10, 1793, the revolutionary government opened the Musée Central des Arts in the Grande Galerie of the Louvre.

The collection at the Louvre grew rapidly, and the French army seized art and archaeological items from territory and nations conquered in the Revolutionary and Napoleonic wars. Much of this plundered art was returned after Napoleon's defeat in 1815, but the Louvre's current Egyptian antiquities collections and other departments owe much to Napoleon's conquests. Two new wings were added in the 19th century, and the multi-building Louvre complex was completed in 1857, during the reign of Napoleon III.

In the 1980s and 1990s, the Grand Louvre, as the museum is officially known, underwent major remodeling. Modern museum amenities were added and thousands of square meters of new exhibition space were opened. The Chinese American architect I.M. Pei built a steel-and-glass pyramid in the center of the Napoleon courtyard. Traditionalists called it an outrage. In 1993, on the 200th anniversary of the museum, a rebuilt wing formerly occupied by the French ministry of finance was opened to the public. It was the first time that the entire Louvre was devoted to museum purposes.
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« Reply #39 on: August 10, 2013, 04:21:35 AM »

Sometimes there are multiple, interesting events that happen on the same day. So somedays I will add two entries.

Aug 10, 1977


Son of Sam arrested
   
 

On August 10, 1977, 24-year-old postal employee David Berkowitz is arrested and charged with being the "Son of Sam," the serial killer who terrorized New York City for more than a year, killing six young people and wounding seven others with a .44-caliber revolver. Because Berkowitz generally targeted attractive young women with long brown hair, hundreds of young women had their hair cut short and dyed blond during the time he terrorized the city. Thousands more simply stayed home at night. After his arrest, Berkowitz claimed that demons and a black Labrador retriever owned by a neighbor named Sam had ordered him to commit the killings.

David Berkowitz was brought up by adoptive parents in the Bronx. He was traumatized by the death of his adoptive mother from cancer in 1967 and thereafter became more and more of a loner. In 1971, he joined the army and served for three years, where he distinguished himself as a talented marksman. In 1974, he returned to New York and worked as a security guard. His mental condition began to severely deteriorate in 1975 (he would later be diagnosed as a paranoid schizophrenic). Feeling isolated from the world around him, he became an arsonist and set hundreds of fires in New York City without being arrested. He began to hear voices of "demons" that tormented him and told him to commit murder. On Christmas Eve, 1975, he gave into these internal voices and severely wounded 15-year-old Michelle Forman with a hunting knife.

In January 1976, he moved into a two-family home in Yonkers, a suburb of New York. Berkowitz became convinced that the German shepherd that lived in the house and other neighborhood dogs were possessed by demons who ordered him to murder attractive young women. One of the neighborhood dogs was shot during this time, probably by Berkowitz. He also began to see his neighbors as demons.

In April, Berkowitz moved to an apartment house in Yonkers, but his new home also had dogs. His neighbor, retiree Sam Carr, had a black Labrador retriever named Harvey, who Berkowitz believed pleaded with him to kill. He also saw Sam Carr as a powerful demon and was referring to him when he later called himself Son of Sam.

On July 28, 1976, Berkowitz quit his job as a security guard. Early the next morning, he walked up to a parked car in the Bronx where two young women were talking and fired five bullets from his.44 revolver into the vehicle. Eighteen-year-old brunette Donna Lauria was killed instantly, and her friend Jody Valenti was wounded. Police could find no motives or leads in the shooting.

In the early morning of October 24, Berkowitz struck again, critically wounding 20-year-old Carl Denaro as he sat in a car and talked with a female friend in Queens. A little more than a month later, on November 26, 16-year-old Donna DeMasi and 18-year-old Joanne Lomino were shot and seriously wounded in the street on their way home from a movie. On January 30, 1977, Berkowitz fatally shot Christine Freund as she sat in a car in Queens with her fiancee. Police began to suspect that these crimes were perpetrated by a single killer, but few bullets were found intact to confirm the assumption.

On March 8, 19-year-old college student Virginia Voskerichian was shot to death as she walked home in Manhattan. A bullet was found intact, and it matched a bullet found at the scene of Berkowitz's first murder. The New York police announced that a serial killer was on the loose, known to be a white male in his 20s, with black hair and of average height and build. A large group of detectives was organized--the "Omega" task force--to track the killer down. On April 17, 18-year-old Valentina Suriani and 20-year-old Alexander Esau were shot and killed by the same gun as they kissed in their parked car near the Hutchinson River Parkway. This time, the .44-caliber killer left a note in which he referred to himself as the Son of Sam.

On April 29, Berkowitz shot Sam Carr's Labrador retriever. He had previously sent an anonymous, threatening letter to Mr. Carr concerning the animal. The dog recovered, and the Yonkers police began an investigation. Meanwhile, Berkowitz began sending bizarre letters to other neighbors and his former landlords. These individuals began to suspect Berkowitz to be the Son of Sam and reported their suspicions to local police. The Omega task force was subsequently notified, but the detectives had received thousands of reports of Son of Sam "suspects" and were having a difficult time sifting through all the dead-end leads.

On June 26, the Son of Sam struck again, wounding Judy Placido and Sal Lupo as they sat in their car after leaving a Queens disco. Public concern over the rampaging serial killer grew to panic proportions, and New York nightclubs and restaurants saw a dramatic drop in business. A blistering heat wave and a 25-hour blackout in mid-July only increased the tension. On July 31, just two days after the anniversary of his first killing, Berkowitz shot a young couple kissing in a parked car in Brooklyn. Twenty-year-old Stacy Moskowitz was fatally wounded, and her boyfriend, Bobby Violante, lost his left eye and nearly all the vision in his right eye.

A few days later, a major break in the case came when an eyewitness came forward to report that she had seen a man with what looked like a gun minutes before the shots were fired in Brooklyn. Her information led to the first police sketch of Berkowitz. More important, she reminded investigators that two police officers had been writing parking tickets on her street that night. A search of tickets issued eventually turned up Berkowitz's car.

At the same time, Yonkers police investigated Berkowitz after he escalated a harassment campaign against one of his neighbors. Convinced he was the Son of Sam, they informed the Omega task force of their findings. The Omega detectives finally put two and two together, and on August 10 David Berkowitz was arrested while leaving his Yonkers home. He gleefully admitted to being the Son of Sam. On his person was a semiautomatic rifle, and he explained he was on his way to commit another murder. The .44-caliber revolver was also recovered.

There was some question about whether Berkowitz was mentally fit to stand trial, but on May 8, 1978, he withdrew an insanity defense and pleaded guilty to the six .44-caliber murders. He was given six 25-years-to-life sentences for the crime, the maximum penalty allowed at the time. He has since been denied parole. Since 1987, he has been held at the Sullivan Correctional Facility in upstate New York, where he allegedly converted to Christianity.
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« Reply #40 on: August 11, 2013, 03:23:29 AM »

Aug 11, 1934


Federal prisoners land on Alcatraz
 


A group of federal prisoners classified as "most dangerous" arrives at Alcatraz Island, a 22-acre rocky outcrop situated 1.5 miles offshore in San Francisco Bay. The convicts--the first civilian prisoners to be housed in the new high-security penitentiary--joined a few dozen military prisoners left over from the island's days as a U.S. military prison.

Alcatraz was an uninhabited seabird haven when it was explored by Spanish Lieutenant Juan Manuel de Ayala in 1775. He named it Isla de los Alcatraces, or "Island of the Pelicans." Fortified by the Spanish, Alcatraz was sold to the United States in 1849. In 1854, it had the distinction of housing the first lighthouse on the coast of California. Beginning in 1859, a U.S. Army detachment was garrisoned there, and from 1868 Alcatraz was used to house military criminals. In addition to recalcitrant U.S. soldiers, prisoners included rebellious Indian scouts, American soldiers fighting in the Philippines who had deserted to the Filipino cause, and Chinese civilians who resisted the U.S. Army during the Boxer Rebellion. In 1907, Alcatraz was designated the Pacific Branch of the United States Military Prison.

In 1934, Alcatraz was fortified into a high-security federal penitentiary designed to hold the most dangerous prisoners in the U.S. penal system, especially those with a penchant for escape attempts. The first shipment of civilian prisoners arrived on August 11, 1934. Later that month, more shiploads arrived, featuring, among other convicts, infamous mobster Al Capone. In September, George "Machine Gun" Kelly, another luminary of organized crime, landed on Alcatraz.

In the 1940s, a famous Alcatraz prisoner was Richard Stroud, the "Birdman of Alcatraz." A convicted murderer, Stroud wrote an important study on birds while being held in solitary confinement in Leavenworth Prison in Kansas. Regarded as extremely dangerous because of his 1916 murder of a guard at Leavenworth, he was transferred to Alcatraz in 1942. Stroud was not allowed to continue his avian research at Alcatraz.

Although some three dozen attempted, no prisoner was known to have successfully escaped "The Rock." However, the bodies of several escapees believed drowned in the treacherous waters of San Francisco Bay were never found. The story of the 1962 escape of three of these men, Frank Morris and brothers John and Clarence Anglin, inspired the 1979 film Escape from Alcatraz. Another prisoner, John Giles, caught a boat ride to the shore in 1945 dressed in an army uniform he had stolen piece by piece, but he was questioned by a suspicious officer after disembarking and sent back to Alcatraz. Only one man, John Paul Scott, was recorded to have reached the mainland by swimming, but he came ashore exhausted and hypothermic at the foot of the Golden Gate Bridge. Police found him lying unconscious and in a state of shock.

In 1963, U.S. Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy ordered Alcatraz closed, citing the high expense of its maintenance. In its 29-year run, Alcatraz housed more than 1,500 convicts. In March 1964 a group of Sioux Indians briefly occupied the island, citing an 1868 treaty with the Sioux allowing Indians to claim any "unoccupied government land." In November 1969, a group of nearly 100 Indian students and activists began a more prolonged occupation of the island, remaining there until they were forced off by federal marshals in June 1971.

In 1972, Alcatraz was opened to the public as part of the newly created Golden Gate National Recreation Area, which is maintained by the National Park Service. More than one million tourists visit Alcatraz Island and the former prison annually.
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« Reply #41 on: August 12, 2013, 05:09:50 AM »

Aug 12, 1676


King Philip's War ends
   
 

In colonial New England, King Philip's War effectively comes to an end when Philip, chief of the Wampanoag Indians, is assassinated by a Native American in the service of the English.

In the early 1670s, 50 years of peace between the Plymouth colony and the local Wampanoag Indians began to deteriorate when the rapidly expanding settlements forced land sales on the tribe. Reacting to increasing Native American hostility, the English met with King Philip, chief of the Wampanoag, and demanded that his forces surrender their arms. The Wampanoag did so, but in 1675 a Christian Native American who had been acting as an informer to the English was murdered, and three Wampanoag were tried and executed for the crime.

On June 24, King Philip responded by ordering a raid on the border settlement of Swansee, Massachusetts. His warriors massacred the English colonists there, and the attack set off a series of Wampanoag raids in which several settlements were destroyed and scores of colonists massacred. The colonists retaliated by destroying a number of Indian villages. The destruction of a Narragansett village by the English brought the Narragansett into the conflict on the side of King Philip, and within a few months several other tribes and all the New England colonies were involved.

In early 1676, the Narragansett were defeated and their chief killed, while the Wampanoag and their other allies were gradually subdued. King Philip's wife and son were captured, and his secret headquarters in Mount Hope, Rhode Island, were discovered. On August 12, 1676, Philip was assassinated at Mount Hope by a Native American in the service of the English. The English drew and quartered Philip's body and publicly displayed his head on a stake in Plymouth.

King Philip's War, which was extremely costly to the colonists of southern New England, ended the Native American presence in the region and inaugurated a period of unimpeded colonial expansion.
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« Reply #42 on: August 13, 2013, 01:14:14 AM »

Aug 13, 1521


Aztec capital falls to Cortés
   
 

After a three-month siege, Spanish forces under Hernán Cortés capture Tenochtitlán, the capital of the Aztec empire. Cortés' men leveled the city and captured Cuauhtemoc, the Aztec emperor.

Tenochtitlán was founded in 1325 A.D. by a wandering tribe of hunters and gatherers on islands in Lake Texcoco, near the present site of Mexico City. In only one century, this civilization grew into the Aztec empire, largely because of its advanced system of agriculture. The empire came to dominate central Mexico and by the ascendance of Montezuma II in 1502 had reached its greatest extent, extending as far south as perhaps modern-day Nicaragua. At the time, the empire was held together primarily by Aztec military strength, and Montezuma II set about establishing a bureaucracy, creating provinces that would pay tribute to the imperial capital of Tenochtitlán. The conquered peoples resented the Aztec demands for tribute and victims for the religious sacrifices, but the Aztec military kept rebellion at bay.

Meanwhile, Hernán Cortés, a young Spanish-born noble, came to Hispaniola in the West Indies in 1504. In 1511, he sailed with Diego Velázquez to conquer Cuba and twice was elected mayor of Santiago, the capital of Hispaniola. In 1518, he was appointed captain general of a new Spanish expedition to the American mainland. Velázquez, the governor of Cuba, later rescinded the order, and Cortés sailed without permission. He visited the coast of Yucatán and in March 1519 landed at Tabasco in Mexico's Bay of Campeche with 500 soldiers, 100 sailors, and 16 horses. There, he won over the local Indians and was given a female slave, Malinche–baptized Marina–who became his mistress and later bore him a son. She knew both Maya and Aztec and served as an interpreter. The expedition then proceeded up the Mexican coast, where Cortés founded Veracruz, mainly for the purpose of having himself elected captain general by the colony, thus shaking off the authority of Velázquez and making him responsible only to King Charles V of Spain.

At Veracruz, Cortés trained his army and then burned his ships to ensure loyalty to his plans for conquest. Having learned of political strife in the Aztec empire, Cortés led his force into the Mexican interior. On the way to Tenochtitlán, he clashed with local Indians, but many of these people, including the nation of Tlaxcala, became his allies after learning of his plan to conquer their hated Aztec rulers. Hearing of the approach of Cortés, with his frightful horses and sophisticated weapons, Montezuma II tried to buy him off, but Cortés would not be dissuaded. On November 8, 1519, the Spaniards and their 1,000 Tlaxcaltec warriors were allowed to enter Tenochtitlán unopposed.

Montezuma suspected them to be divine envoys of the god Quetzalcatl, who was prophesied to return from the east in a "One Reed" year, which was 1519 on the Aztec calendar. The Spaniards were greeted with great honor, and Cortés seized the opportunity, taking Montezuma hostage so that he might govern the empire through him. His mistress, Marina, was a great help in this endeavor and succeeded in convincing Montezuma to cooperate fully.

In the spring of 1520, Cortés learned of the arrival of a Spanish force from Cuba, led by Pánfilo Narvez and sent by Velázquez to deprive Cortés of his command. Cortés led his army out of Tenochtitlán to meet them, leaving behind a garrison of 80 Spaniards and a few hundred Tlaxcaltecs to govern the city. Cortés defeated Narvez and enlisted Narvez' army into his own. When he returned to Tenochtitlán in June, he found the garrison under siege from the Aztecs, who had rebelled after the subordinate whom Cortés left in command of the city massacred several Aztec chiefs, and the population on the brink of revolt. On June 30, under pressure and lacking food, Cortés and his men fought their way out of the capital at heavy cost. Known to the Spanish as La Noche Triste, or "the Night of Sadness," many soldiers drowned in Lake Texcoco when the vessel carrying them and Aztec treasures hoarded by Cortés sank. Montezuma was killed in the fighting–in Aztec reports by the Spaniards, and in Spanish reports by an Aztec mob bitter at Montezuma's subservience to Spanish rule. He was succeeded as emperor by his brother, Cuitláhuac.

During the Spaniards' retreat, they defeated a large Aztec army at Otumba and then rejoined their Tlaxcaltec allies. In May 1521, Cortés returned to Tenochtitlán, and after a three-month siege the city fell. This victory marked the fall of the Aztec empire. Cuauhtámoc, Cuitláhuac's successor as emperor, was taken prisoner and later executed, and Cortés became the ruler of a vast Mexican empire.

The Spanish conquistador led an expedition to Honduras in 1524 and in 1528 returned to Spain to see the king. Charles made him Marqués del Valle but refused to name him governor because of his quarrels with Velázquez and others. In 1530, he returned to Mexico, now known as New Spain, and found the country in disarray. After restoring some order, he retired to his estate south of Mexico City and sent out maritime expeditions from the Pacific coast. In 1540, he returned to Spain and was neglected by the court. He died in 1547.
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« Reply #43 on: August 14, 2013, 01:29:09 AM »

Aug 14, 1935


FDR signs Social Security Act
   
 

On this day in 1935, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signs into law the Social Security Act. Press photographers snapped pictures as FDR, flanked by ranking members of Congress, signed into law the historic act, which guaranteed an income for the unemployed and retirees. FDR commended Congress for what he considered to be a "patriotic" act.

Roosevelt had taken the helm of the country in 1932 in the midst of the Great Depression, the nation's worst economic crisis. The Social Security Act (SSA) was in keeping with his other "New Deal" programs, including the establishment of the Works Progress Administration and the Civilian Conservation Corps, which attempted to hoist America out of the Great Depression by putting Americans back to work.

In his public statement that day, FDR expressed concern for "young people [who] have come to wonder what would be their lot when they came to old age" as well as those who had employment but no job security. Although he acknowledged that "we can never insure one hundred percent of the population against one hundred percent of the hazards and vicissitudes of life," he hoped the act would prevent senior citizens from ending up impoverished.

Although it was initially created to combat unemployment, Social Security now functions primarily as a safety net for retirees and the disabled, and provides death benefits to taxpayer dependents. The Social Security system has remained relatively unchanged since 1935.

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« Reply #44 on: August 15, 2013, 01:26:00 AM »

Aug 15, 1899


Henry Ford leaves Edison to start automobile company
   
 

On this day in 1899, in Detroit, Michigan, Henry Ford resigns his position as chief engineer at the Edison Illuminating Company's main plant in order to concentrate on automobile production.

Henry Ford left his family's farm in Dearborn, Michigan, at age 16 to work in the machine shops of Detroit. In 1888, he married Clara Bryant, and they had a son, Edsel, in 1893. That same year, Ford was made chief engineer at Edison. Charged with keeping the city's electricity flowing, Ford was on call 24 hours a day, with no regular working hours, and when not working could tinker away at his real goal of building a gasoline-powered vehicle. He completed his first functioning gasoline engine at the end of 1893, his first horseless carriage, called the Quadricycle, by 1896.

In the summer of 1898, Ford was awarded his first patent, in the name of his investor and Detroit's mayor, William C. Maybury, for a carburetor he built the previous year. By the middle of the following summer Ford had produced his third car. A much more advanced model than his two previous efforts, it had a water tank and brakes, among other new features. Maybury's support, combined with Ford's bold ideas and charisma, helped assemble a group of investors who contributed some $150,000 to establish the Detroit Automobile Company in early August 1899. Ten days later, Ford left Edison, where he had worked for the previous eight years. He turned down a considerable salary offer of $1,900 per year and the title of general superintendent to become mechanical superintendent of the new auto company, with a salary of $150 per month.

The Detroit Automobile Company was one of some 60 aspiring automakers in America at the time, and it struggled to keep up with the stiff competition provided by the likes of Packard of Ohio and Olds Motor Works of Lansing, Michigan. The company began to collapse in the middle of its second year of operation and ceased doing business in November 1900. Maybury and others retained their faith in Ford, however, and in late 1901 they backed him as chief engineer of the Henry Ford Company. This effort failed as well, and Ford put all of his hopes into a make-or-break third effort. The Ford Motor Company, founded in mid-June 1903, rolled out its first car--a Model A--that July and continued to grow steadily over the next several years. The release of the now-legendary Model T or "Tin Lizzie" in 1908 catapulted Ford Motor Company into the leading ranks of American automakers and turned its founder, a farm boy from Dearborn, into one of the world's richest men. 

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« Reply #45 on: August 16, 2013, 01:14:08 AM »

Aug 16, 1948


Babe Ruth dies
   
 

On August 16, 1948, baseball legend George Herman "Babe" Ruth dies from cancer in New York City. For two days following, his body lay in state at the main entrance to Yankee Stadium, and tens of thousands of people stood in line to pay their last respects. He was buried in Hawthorne, New York.

Ruth, who had a colorful personality and an unmistakable physical presence, began his major league career in Baltimore in 1914. That same year, he was traded to the Boston Red Sox and during the next five years proved himself to be a formidable left-handed pitcher and batter. In 1919, he was sold to the New York Yankees, where he played outfield to better exploit his phenomenal hitting talents. At a time when baseball was suffering through the disgrace of the Black Sox scandal, Ruth almost single-handedly salvaged the sport's popularity, hitting a record 60 home runs in the 1927 season and leading the Yankees to seven pennants. Yankee Stadium, opened in 1923, came to be known as "the House that Ruth Built."

However, the Babe also made headlines by his charitable actions, such as visiting sick children in hospitals. In 1935, he retired from baseball, having hit a record 714 home runs in his career. In 1946, Ruth was diagnosed with throat cancer, but doctors could do little. Early the next year, treatment ended. On June 13, 1948, a uniformed Ruth appeared at Yankee Stadium one last time to retire his number. On August 16, he died of cancer at the age of 53.

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« Reply #46 on: August 16, 2013, 01:17:03 AM »

Also on Aug 16th..........

Aug 16, 1977


Elvis Presley dies
   
 

Popular music icon Elvis Presley dies in Memphis, Tennessee. He was 42. The death of the "King of Rock and Roll" brought legions of mourning fans to Graceland, his mansion in Memphis. Doctors said he died of a heart attack, likely brought on by his addiction to prescription barbiturates.

Elvis Presley was born in Tupelo, Mississippi, on January 8, 1935. His twin brother, Jesse, died during the birth. Elvis grew up dirt-poor in Tupelo and Memphis and found work as a truck driver after high school. When he was 19, he walked into a Memphis recording studio and paid $4 to record a few songs as a present to his mother. Sam Philips, the owner of the studio, was intrigued by the rough, soulful quality of his voice and invited Presley back to practice with some local musicians. After Philips heard Elvis sing the rhythm-and-blues song "That's All Right," which Presley imbued with an accessible country-and-western flavor, he agreed to release the rendition as a single on his Sun Records label. The recording went to the top of the local charts, and Presley's career was launched.

During the next year, Elvis attracted a growing following in the South, and in 1955 Sun Records sold his contract to a major record label, the Radio Corporation of America (RCA), for a record $40,000. His first record for RCA was "Heartbreak Hotel," which made him a national sensation in early 1956. He followed this up with the double-sided hit record "Hound Dog"/"Don't Be Cruel." In September 1956, Elvis appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show, a national variety television show, and teenagers went into hysterics over his dynamic stage presence, good looks, and simple but catchy songs. Many parents, however, were appalled by his sexually suggestive pelvic gyrations, and by his third appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show, Elvis was filmed from only the waist up.

From 1956 through 1958, Elvis dominated the music charts and ushered in the age of rock and roll, opening doors for both white and black rock artists. During this period, he starred in four successful motion pictures, all of which featured his soundtracks: Love Me Tender (1956), Jailhouse Rock (1957), Loving You (1957), and King Creole (1958).

In 1958, Presley was drafted into the U.S. Army and served an 18-month tour of duty in West Germany as a Jeep driver. Teenage girls were overcome with grief, but Elvis' manager, Colonel Tom Parker, kept American youth satiated with stockpiled recordings that Presley made before his departure. All five singles released during this period eventually became million-sellers.

After being discharged as a sergeant in 1960, Elvis underwent a style change, eschewing edgy, rhythm-and-blues-inspired material in favor of romantic, dramatic ballads such as "Are You Lonesome Tonight?" He retired from concerts to concentrate on his musical films, and he made 27 in the 1960s, including G.I. Blues (1960), Blue Hawaii (1961), Girls! Girls! Girls! (1962), Viva Las Vegas (1964), and Frankie and Johnny (1966). In 1967, he married Priscilla Beaulieu, and the couple had a daughter, Lisa Marie, in 1968.

By the end of the 1960s, rock and roll had undergone dramatic changes, and Elvis was no longer seen as relevant by American youth. A 1968 television special won back many of his fans, but hits were harder to come by. His final Top 10 entry, "Burning Love," was in 1972. Still, he maintained his sizable fortune through lucrative concert and television appearances.

By the mid 1970s, Elvis was in declining physical and mental health. He divorced his wife in 1973 and developed a dangerous dependence on prescription drugs. He was also addicted to junk food and gained considerable weight. In the last two years of his life, he made erratic stage appearances and lived nearly as a recluse. On the afternoon of August 16, 1977, he was found unconscious in his Graceland mansion and rushed to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead. He was buried on the grounds of Graceland, which continues to attract fans and has been turned into a highly successful tourist attraction.
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« Reply #47 on: August 16, 2013, 04:50:38 PM »

History announced today:

http://www.history.com/news/new-mammal-discovered-in-the-americas?cmpid=Social_Facebook_Hith_08162013_1

New Mammal Discovered in the Americas

With its long, bushy tail, big eyes and rust-colored fur, the olinguito is being described as a cute-as-a-button combination of house cat and teddy bear. It’s actually the smallest member of the raccoon family, and more importantly, the first new species of carnivore to be identified in the Western Hemisphere since 1978. After nearly a decade of research and exploration, a team of scientists has identified thousands of the cute creatures living in the cloud forests of Colombia and Ecuador, among the peaks of the Andes Mountains. This week, they unveiled their findings in a news conference held at the Smithsonian Institution.

The identification of the newest species of mammal, the olinguito, solves a long-running mystery in the scientific and zoological community. Over the years, the animal has been misidentified as the olingo, a related member of the raccoon family, when spotted in the wild, included in museum collections or even displayed in zoos. During the 1960s, one captured “olingo” confounded zookeepers when it refused to breed or mingle with its peers. The mystery began to unravel a decade ago, when Kristofer M. Helgen, a mammal expert from the Smithsonian Natural History Museum, examined olongo specimens in the collections of the Field Museum of Chicago. He noticed that a number of the preserved specimens appeared quite different from the known species of olingo, with smaller skulls and pelts of a reddish-brown color (the olingo has short, brownish-gray fur).

Helgen, who had previously identified two new species of hog badger, was certain he had discovered a new species, and began working to confirm it. In addition to a thorough investigation and DNA testing, he turned to zoologist Roland Kays of the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, the world’s top expert on olingos, to help track down an actual olinguito in its natural habitat. In 2006, the researchers set off with Ecuadorian zoologist Miguel Pinto on a weeks-long field expedition to the Andes Mountains in Ecuador. They confirmed the existence of four distinct subspecies of olinguito living among the misty treetops of the cloud forest, at elevations of some 5,000-9,000 feet above sea level.

The researchers used their findings to map out predictions for the geographic distribution of the animal, which they believe may also be found elsewhere in Central and South America. Adding the Spanish diminutive suffix “ito” to indicate its smaller size, they named the species “olinguito.” Its scientific name is Bassaricyon neblina, from the Spanish word for mist, and it belongs to the taxonomic order Carnivora, which includes civets, hyena and bears, along with cats and dogs. The olinguito’s primary food source is not meat, however: It mostly eats tree fruit, such as figs, and occasionally eats insects. The smallest member of the raccoon family, it weighs in at only two pounds and measures some 14 inches long, compared to 16 inches and 2.4 pounds for other known olingo species.

In contrast to other newly identified species, many of which have often been known to indigenous peoples for centuries, the olinguito seems to have escaped notice until now. Helgen found no one among the local population who knew anything about the olinguito, and no native names exist. While scientists discover new species all the time, most of them tend to be insects or other invertebrates, only a fraction of which have been catalogued. The discovery of a new mammal belonging to the carnivore order is much more unusual. The last new carnivorous mammal, a mongoose-like creature native to Madagascar, was discovered in 2010, while the most recent such find in the Western Hemisphere was the Colombian weasel, in 1978.

Helgen, Kays and their colleagues announced their discovery of the olinguito in a news conference at the Smithsonian this week; they also published their complete findings online in the journal ZooKeys. They estimate that the olinguito population numbers in the tens of thousands, which means it’s not an endangered species, or at least not yet. More than 40 percent of its potential habitat range has been converted to agricultural or urban areas, however, and the researchers hope their work with the olinguito will help reverse this process by bringing attention to the conservation of such a unique habitat. According to Kays, the Andean cloud forest is “a magical place” and “a crucible of evolution,” and its isolation has promoted a vast diversification of animals, many of which may not yet have been identified.

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« Reply #48 on: August 16, 2013, 08:06:43 PM »

Also on Aug 16th..........

Aug 16, 1977


Elvis Presley dies
   
 

Popular music icon Elvis Presley dies in Memphis, Tennessee. He was 42. The death of the "King of Rock and Roll" brought legions of mourning fans to Graceland, his mansion in Memphis. Doctors said he died of a heart attack, likely brought on by his addiction to prescription barbiturates.

Elvis Presley was born in Tupelo, Mississippi, on January 8, 1935. His twin brother, Jesse, died during the birth. Elvis grew up dirt-poor in Tupelo and Memphis and found work as a truck driver after high school. When he was 19, he walked into a Memphis recording studio and paid $4 to record a few songs as a present to his mother. Sam Philips, the owner of the studio, was intrigued by the rough, soulful quality of his voice and invited Presley back to practice with some local musicians. After Philips heard Elvis sing the rhythm-and-blues song "That's All Right," which Presley imbued with an accessible country-and-western flavor, he agreed to release the rendition as a single on his Sun Records label. The recording went to the top of the local charts, and Presley's career was launched.

During the next year, Elvis attracted a growing following in the South, and in 1955 Sun Records sold his contract to a major record label, the Radio Corporation of America (RCA), for a record $40,000. His first record for RCA was "Heartbreak Hotel," which made him a national sensation in early 1956. He followed this up with the double-sided hit record "Hound Dog"/"Don't Be Cruel." In September 1956, Elvis appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show, a national variety television show, and teenagers went into hysterics over his dynamic stage presence, good looks, and simple but catchy songs. Many parents, however, were appalled by his sexually suggestive pelvic gyrations, and by his third appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show, Elvis was filmed from only the waist up.

From 1956 through 1958, Elvis dominated the music charts and ushered in the age of rock and roll, opening doors for both white and black rock artists. During this period, he starred in four successful motion pictures, all of which featured his soundtracks: Love Me Tender (1956), Jailhouse Rock (1957), Loving You (1957), and King Creole (1958).

In 1958, Presley was drafted into the U.S. Army and served an 18-month tour of duty in West Germany as a Jeep driver. Teenage girls were overcome with grief, but Elvis' manager, Colonel Tom Parker, kept American youth satiated with stockpiled recordings that Presley made before his departure. All five singles released during this period eventually became million-sellers.

After being discharged as a sergeant in 1960, Elvis underwent a style change, eschewing edgy, rhythm-and-blues-inspired material in favor of romantic, dramatic ballads such as "Are You Lonesome Tonight?" He retired from concerts to concentrate on his musical films, and he made 27 in the 1960s, including G.I. Blues (1960), Blue Hawaii (1961), Girls! Girls! Girls! (1962), Viva Las Vegas (1964), and Frankie and Johnny (1966). In 1967, he married Priscilla Beaulieu, and the couple had a daughter, Lisa Marie, in 1968.

By the end of the 1960s, rock and roll had undergone dramatic changes, and Elvis was no longer seen as relevant by American youth. A 1968 television special won back many of his fans, but hits were harder to come by. His final Top 10 entry, "Burning Love," was in 1972. Still, he maintained his sizable fortune through lucrative concert and television appearances.

By the mid 1970s, Elvis was in declining physical and mental health. He divorced his wife in 1973 and developed a dangerous dependence on prescription drugs. He was also addicted to junk food and gained considerable weight. In the last two years of his life, he made erratic stage appearances and lived nearly as a recluse. On the afternoon of August 16, 1977, he was found unconscious in his Graceland mansion and rushed to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead. He was buried on the grounds of Graceland, which continues to attract fans and has been turned into a highly successful tourist attraction.

Interesting I knew Elvis died on this day, but did not know Babe Ruth did on this day. So being today was my birthday, kinda strange I have always thought of Elvis on this day now Babe Ruth there is some meaning to that for me trying to figure it out.
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« Reply #49 on: August 17, 2013, 05:11:20 AM »

Aug 17, 1877


Billy the Kid kills his first man
   
 

Though only a teenager at the time, Billy the Kid wounds an Arizona blacksmith who dies the next day. He was the famous outlaw's first victim.

Just how many men Billy the Kid killed is uncertain. Billy himself reportedly once claimed he had killed 21 men-"one for every year of my life." A reliable contemporary authority estimated the actual total was more like nine-four on his own and five with the aid of others. Other western outlaws of the day were far more deadly. John Wesley Hardin, for example, killed well over 20 men and perhaps as many as 40.

Yet, William Bonney (at various times he also used the surnames Antrim and McCarty) is better remembered today than Hardin and other killers, perhaps because he appeared to be such an unlikely killer. Blue-eyed, smooth-cheeked, and unusually friendly, Billy seems to have been a decent young man who was dragged into a life of crime by circumstances beyond his control.

Such seems to have been the case for his first murder. Having fled from his home in New Mexico after being jailed for a theft he may not have committed, Billy became an itinerant ranch hand and sheepherder in Arizona. In 1877, he was hired on as a teamster at the Camp Grant Army Post, where he attracted the enmity of a burly civilian blacksmith named Frank "Windy" Cahill. Perhaps because Billy was well liked by others in the camp, Cahill enjoyed demeaning the scrawny youngster.

On this day in 1877, Cahill apparently went too far when he called Billy a "pimp." Billy responded by calling Cahill a "son of a bitch," and the big blacksmith jumped him and easily threw him to the ground. Pinned to the floor by the stronger man, Billy apparently panicked. He pulled his pistol and shot Cahill, who died the next day. According to one witness, "[Billy] had no choice; he had to use his equalizer." However, the rough laws of the West might have found Billy guilty of unjustified murder because Cahill had not pulled his own gun.

Fearing imprisonment, Billy returned to New Mexico where he soon became involved in the bloody Lincoln County War. In the next four years, he became a practiced and cold-blooded killer, increasingly infatuated with his own public image as an unstoppable outlaw. Sheriff Pat Garrett finally ended Billy's bloody career by killing him on July 14, 1881.

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