|Posted by Gilbert Stack on July 6, 2018 at 8:40 AM||comments (0)|
On this day (July 6) in 1785 the U.S. established the dollar as the monetary unit of the country. If they hadn't, we Americans might be doing our calculations in pounds, shillings and pence. The dollar was actually based on Spanish currency, of which much was in circulation in the young United States. The Spanish currency was based on eight reales (the famous pieces of eight) but the U.S. currency was based on the decimal system starting with the penny.
|Posted by Gilbert Stack on July 5, 2018 at 7:10 AM||comments (0)|
On this day (July 5) in 1934, police opened fire on striking San Francisco longshoremen killing two people in what came to be known as “Bloody Thursday”. What caused the police to fire, if anything, is disputed, but the gunfire came after a long day of police firing tear gas at the strikers, and charging them from horseback in an attempt to break the strike and get the west coast ports open again. The police action unintentionally inspired the strike to turn into a general strike which put tremendous pressure on business to negotiate with the strikers, even as the general strike inspired more police brutality in an attempt to stop the strikes and get business working again. When the strike eventually ended, business leaders claimed victory, but working conditions, and the strength of the participating unions, also improved.
|Posted by Gilbert Stack on July 4, 2018 at 3:40 PM||comments (0)|
Legionnaire Book 1 The Fire Islands has noow sold more than 700 copies. Thanks to everyone who has given this series a try.
|Posted by Gilbert Stack on July 4, 2018 at 8:35 AM||comments (0)|
On this day (July 4) in 1776, the Second Continental Congress adopted and published The Declaration of Independence describing the conflict of the young United States with England and why they believed it to be necessary for the thirteen colonies to break away and form their own country. The declaration includes an inspirational sentence that may be the best known words in the English language. "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." While it is undoubtedly true that the U.S. has often failed to live up to the full spirit of these words, it is also true that they have inspired millions of people to find the best in themselves and strive to form a country that fully embraces this ideal. Happy Fourth of July!
|Posted by Gilbert Stack on July 3, 2018 at 5:05 AM||comments (0)|
On this day (July 3) in 987, Hugh Capet was crowned King of the Franks. His descendants would rule what became France until 1792 when the monarchy was forcibly dissolved by the French Revolution. His descendants returned to the throne after Napoleon’s defeat. Hugh was a descendant of Charlemagne through his paternal grandmother.
|Posted by Gilbert Stack on July 2, 2018 at 5:05 AM||comments (0)|
On this day (July 2) in 1776, the Lee Resolution was passed, formally severing the ties of the Thirteen Colonies from Great Britain. Two days later, on July 4th, the Continental Congress would pass and publish the Declaration of Independence.
|Posted by Gilbert Stack on July 1, 2018 at 7:15 AM||comments (0)|
On this day (July 1) in 1770, Lexel’s Comet came closer to the earth than any other recorded comet. It passed a mere 1,400,000 miles from our planet. Lexel’s Comet has not been seen since, and is considered lost. But obviously what came close once could come close again sometime in the future… Now there’s a good story idea! But, of course, it’s already been done many times. Anyone remember Lucifer’s Hammer?
|Posted by Gilbert Stack on July 1, 2018 at 12:45 AM||comments (0)|
On this day (June 30) in 1559 King Henry II of France was injured in an accident during a tournament. While jousting with the captain of his Scottish Guard, Gabriel Montgomery, Gabriel’s lance splintered and one of the pieces struck Henry in the eye. The wound became infected and the king died ten days later. While on his death bed, Queen Catherine cut off access to the king and refused to permit his mistress (whose colors he was wearing during the joust) to visit his bedside despite the king begging to see her. (The Queen sent the mistress into exile after the king’s death.) Henri absolved Gabriel Montgomery of all responsibility for his death.
|Posted by Gilbert Stack on June 29, 2018 at 4:55 AM||comments (0)|
On this day (June 29) in 1972, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the arbitrary and inconsistent imposition of the death penalty constituted cruel and unusual punishment. The case was Furman v. Georgia and involved a man convicted of murder while committing a burglary. In unsworn statements, Furman gave two accounts of what happened. He either fell and the gun accidentally discharged or he fired blindly, killing the home owner. Two other cases, Branch v. Texas and Jackson v. Georgia were consolidated with Furman v. Georgia. Both of these death penalty sentences resulted from rape, not murder.
In the 5-4 decision, a majority of the judges agreed that the death penalty was cruel and unusual punishment, but none could agree with another as to why this was the case. Therefore, they wrote five separate concurring decisions. The result was that all death penalty sentences were reduced to life in prison (except in California where the California Supreme Court had already found the death penalty to be unconstitutional and converted the sentences of everyone on death row to life in prison).
37 states responded to Furman v. Georgia by passing new death penalty laws which defined criteria that had to be considered in death penalty cases and California held a referendum which reinstituted the death penalty so in 1976 new death penalty cases arrived at the Supreme Court. Opponents hoped that the court would outlaw the death penalty completely, but the opposite happened. William Douglas (appointed by FDR) had retired and been replaced by John Paul Stevens (appointed by Gerald Ford). In Gregg v. Georgia, the court found that the death penalty was constitutional so long as the criteria for giving the punishment were objective (and checked by an appellate court) and the character and record of the defendant were taken into account by the sentencer.
|Posted by Gilbert Stack on June 28, 2018 at 8:10 AM||comments (0)|
On this day (June Twenty-Eight) in 1911 a meteorite fell to earth in Abu Hummus, Egypt. It was the first meteorite to show that water once existed on Mars. It is also suggestive, but not conclusive, that bacteria once existed on Mars. That’s all really cool, but stop and think about it for a moment. Scientists can actually tell that the rock originated on a specific planet in our solar system. That just blows my mind.