* 1644 – Paul de Maisonneuve drives off band of marauding Iroquois in Montreal. * 1981 President Reagan shot * 1867 US buys Alaska from Russia for $7,200,000 (2 cents an acre – Seward’s Folly) * 2009 President Obama announces auto industry shakeup * 1980 Oil workers drown in North Sea
It’s Friday! TGIF! Did You Know…
* 1644 – Paul de Maisonneuve drives off band of marauding Iroquois in Montreal.
Paul de Chomedey, Sieur de Maisonneuve (February 15, 1612 – September 9, 1676) was a French military officer and the founder of Montreal in New France. At the age of 30, he was hired by Jérome le Royer de la Dauversiere, who was head of the Société Notre-Dame de Montréal. Royer de la Dauversiere had a vision that inspired him to build a society mission on Montreal Island in New France. Maisonneuve was hired to lead the colonists and ensure their safety in the new land. Continue reading “John’s Believe It Or Not… March 30th”
Over the years, the far right conservative republicans have developed a cottage industry of orchestrating hate campaigns of leaders on the left that they fear. The level of hate, “fake news,” marketing dissemination engendered on the right against Democratic leaders like our former US President Barack Obama are legendary. Their marketing endeavors have been incredibly effective as demonstrated by the following example where even when absolute proof was proffered, the lie is still believed by a vast majority of republicans.
As per a 8/10/2016 NBC report, “Seventy-two percent of registered Republican voters still doubt President Obama’s citizenship, according to a recent NBC News|SurveyMonkey poll conducted in late June and early July of more than 1,700 registered voters. And this skepticism even exists among Republicans high in political knowledge.”
There are numerous fact checking web-sites like Snopes.com which have made business over the years of verifying many of of the right’s…
* 1993 – Catherine Callbeck of Prince Edward Island the first woman in Canada to be elected premier. * 1961 After a 4½ year trial Nelson Mandela is acquitted of treason in Pretoria * 1974 Chinese farmers discover the Terracotta Army near Xi’an * 1973 U.S. withdraws from Vietnam * 2005 Miramax chiefs part ways with Disney
It’s Thursday! Did You Know…
* 1993 – Catherine Callbeck of Prince Edward Island the first woman in Canada to be elected premier.
Catherine Callbeck, businesswoman, politician, premier of PEI (b at Central Bedeque, PEI 25 Jul 1939). Educated at Mount Allison (BComm) and Dalhousie (BEd), Callbeck briefly taught high-school business administration before becoming an executive with the family retailing business in PEI. In 1974 she ran as a Liberal provincially and won her seat. She served as both minister of health and social services and minister responsible for disabled people until 1978 when she resigned her seat to devote more time to the business. Callbeck also accepted a directorship with the Canadian Institute for Research on Public Policy. Continue reading “John’s Believe It Or Not… March 29th”
Thomas Charles Longboat was Canada’s most successful long-distance runner and set a course record for the Boston Marathon in 1907.
Tom Longboat – Long Distance Runner
Thomas Charles Longboat (June 4, 1887 – January 9, 1949), whose native name was Cogwagee, which means “Everything”, was an Onondaga distance runner from the Six Nations Indian reserve near Brantford, Ontario, and for much of his career the dominant long-distance runner of the time. June 4 was officially declared “Tom Longboat Day” in Ontario with the passage of Bill 120, a Private Member’s Bill put forward by Liberal MPP, Mike Colle (Eglinton-Lawrence). He was known as the bulldog of Britannia and was a fighter for the air force at the time.
When Longboat was a child, a Mohawk resident of the reserve, Bill Davis, who in 1901 finished second in the Boston Marathon, interested him in running races. He began racing in 1905, finishing second in the Victoria Day race at Caledonia, Ontario. His first important victory was in the Around the Bay Road Race in Hamilton, Ontario in 1906, which he won by three minutes. In 1907 he won the Boston Marathon in a record time of 2:24:24 over the old 24-1/2 mile course, four minutes and 59 seconds faster than any of the previous ten winners of the event. He collapsed, however, in the 1908 Olympic marathon, along with several other leading runners, and a rematch was organized the same year at Madison Square Garden in New York City. Longboat won this race, turned professional, and in 1909 at the same venue won the title of Professional Champion of the World in another marathon.
His coaches did not approve of his alternation of hard workouts with “active rest” such as long walks. When he was a professional, these recovery periods annoyed his promoters and the sports press often labeled him “lazy”, although the practice of incorporating “hard”, “easy”, and “recovery” days into training is normal today. Because of this and other disputes with his managers, Longboat bought out his contract, after which his times improved.
Members of his family wouldn’t even believe how fast he could run over such a long distance until he gave his brother a half an hour head start driving a horse and buggy while he ran on foot, and yet he still made it to Hamilton first.
Longboat’s chief rival was Alfred Shrubb, whom he raced ten times, winning all the races at 20 miles or more and losing all those at shorter distances.
He served as a dispatch runner in France in World War I while maintaining a professional career. He retired following the war.
Tom Longboat was enrolled at the Mohawk Institute Residential School at age 12, a legal obligation under the Indian Act at that time. He hated life at the school, where he was pressured to give up his Onondaga beliefs in favor of Christianity, as well as his language. After one unsuccessful escape attempt, he tried again and reached the home of his uncle, who agreed to hide him from authorities. After his athletic successes, he was invited to speak at the institute but refused, stating that “I wouldn’t even send my dog to that place.”
In 1908 he married Lauretta Maracle. In 1916 he enlisted in the Canadian Army, running messages between military posts. After he was mistakenly declared dead during World War I, Lauretta remarried in 1918. He later married Martha Silversmith, with whom he had four children. After the war Longboat settled in Toronto where he worked until 1944. He retired to the Six Nations Reserve and died of pneumonia on January 9, 1949.
In 1951 the Tom Longboat Awards were instituted by Jan Eisenhardt. This program, administered since 1999 by the Aboriginal Sport Circle, annually honors outstanding First Nations athletes and sportsmen in each province; national male and female winners are selected from the provincial winners. Longboat was inducted into both Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame (in 1955) and the Indian Hall of Fame.
Longboat is also commemorated annually by the Toronto Island 10 km race, as well as having his name and image printed on a limited edition stamp by Canada Post. Awards are given out to top Indigenous amateur athletes in Canada every year.
Tom Longboat was inducted into the Ontario Sports Hall of Fame in 1996. He was the first person of Indigenous descent (Onondaga) to win the Boston Marathon, and one of only two Indigenous runners ever to win it (the other being Ellison Brown, a Narragansett.
* 1885 – North-West Rebellion – Gen Frederick Middleton leaves for the west in command of 5000 troops. * 1979 Nuclear accident at Three Mile Island * 1814 Funeral held for the man behind the guillotine * Duke lacrosse team suspended following sexual assault allegations * 1969 Eisenhower dies
It’s Hump Day Wednesday! Did You Know…
* 1885 – North-West Rebellion – Gen Frederick Middleton leaves for the west in command of 5000 troops.
In anticipation of police intervention of some kind — but without knowing that federal troops were coming by rail from the East — the Métis occupied the community of Duck Lake, midway between Batoche and Fort Carlton. On the morning of 26 March, a force of about 100 North-West Mounted Police (NWMP) and armed citizen volunteers, moved towards Duck Lake under the command of Superintendent Lief Crozier.
A large group of Métis and Aboriginal rebels met them on the Carlton Trail outside the village. Negotiations ended in confusion and the police and volunteers fired at their enemy hidden in a hollow north of the road, and in a cabin to the south. The battle ended shortly after, with the police and volunteers retreating to Fort Carlton. Nine volunteers and three police members were killed, with many more injured. Five Métis and one Aboriginal warrior died. Riel persuaded the rebel soldiers not to pursue the retreating force, and the Métis returned to Batoche. The police evacuated Fort Carlton and retired to Prince Albert.
In Ottawa, the government’s reaction to the rebellion was swift and clear. There were only a few hundred full-time soldiers in Canada, but militia mobilization began on 25 March, the day before the Duck Lake battle. CPR manager William Van Horne quickly arranged for Canadian troops to be transported across the unfinished gaps in the new railway, enabling them to reach Qu’Appelle, Saskatchewan, by 10 April. In less than a month, almost 3,000 troops had been transported west; most were Ontario militia units but the force included two Québec battalions and one from Nova Scotia. From the West came about 1,700 of the eventual total of just over 5,000 troops that Major-General Frederick Middleton would command.
* 1979 Nuclear accident at Three Mile Island
At 4 a.m. on March 28, 1979, the worst accident in the history of the U.S. nuclear power industry begins when a pressure valve in the Unit-2 reactor at Three Mile Island fails to close. Cooling water, contaminated with radiation, drained from the open valve into adjoining buildings, and the core began to dangerously overheat.
The Three Mile Island nuclear power plant was built in 1974 on a sandbar on Pennsylvania’s Susquehanna River, just 10 miles downstream from the state capitol in Harrisburg. In 1978, a second state-of-the-art reactor began operating on Three Mile Island, which was lauded for generating affordable and reliable energy in a time of energy crises.
After the cooling water began to drain out of the broken pressure valve on the morning of March 28, 1979, emergency cooling pumps automatically went into operation. Left alone, these safety devices would have prevented the development of a larger crisis. However, human operators in the control room misread confusing and contradictory readings and shut off the emergency water system. The reactor was also shut down, but residual heat from the fission process was still being released. By early morning, the core had heated to over 4,000 degrees, just 1,000 degrees short of meltdown. In the meltdown scenario, the core melts, and deadly radiation drifts across the countryside, fatally sickening a potentially great number of people.
As the plant operators struggled to understand what had happened, the contaminated water was releasing radioactive gases throughout the plant. The radiation levels, though not immediately life-threatening, were dangerous, and the core cooked further as the contaminated water was contained and precautions were taken to protect the operators. Shortly after 8 a.m., word of the accident leaked to the outside world. The plant’s parent company, Metropolitan Edison, downplayed the crisis and claimed that no radiation had been detected off plant grounds, but the same day inspectors detected slightly increased levels of radiation nearby as a result of the contaminated water leak. Pennsylvania Governor Dick Thornburgh considered calling an evacuation.
Finally, at about 8 p.m., plant operators realized they needed to get water moving through the core again and restarted the pumps. The temperature began to drop, and pressure in the reactor was reduced. The reactor had come within less than an hour of a complete meltdown. More than half the core was destroyed or molten, but it had not broken its protective shell, and no radiation was escaping. The crisis was apparently over.
Two days later, however, on March 30, a bubble of highly flammable hydrogen gas was discovered within the reactor building. The bubble of gas was created two days before when exposed core materials reacted with super-heated steam. On March 28, some of this gas had exploded, releasing a small amount of radiation into the atmosphere. At that time, plant operators had not registered the explosion, which sounded like a ventilation door closing. After the radiation leak was discovered on March 30, residents were advised to stay indoors. Experts were uncertain if the hydrogen bubble would create further meltdown or possibly a giant explosion, and as a precaution, Governor Thornburgh advised: “pregnant women and pre-school age children to leave the area within a five-mile radius of the Three Mile Island facility until further notice.” This led to the panic the governor had hoped to avoid; within days, more than 100,000 people had fled surrounding towns.
On April 1, President Jimmy Carter arrived at Three Mile Island to inspect the plant. Carter, a trained nuclear engineer, had helped dismantle a damaged Canadian nuclear reactor while serving in the U.S. Navy. His visit achieved its aim of calming local residents and the nation. That afternoon, experts agreed that the hydrogen bubble was not in danger of exploding. Slowly, the hydrogen was bled from the system as the reactor cooled.
At the height of the crisis, plant workers were exposed to unhealthy levels of radiation, but no one outside Three Mile Island had their health adversely affected by the accident. Nonetheless, the incident greatly eroded the public’s faith in nuclear power. The unharmed Unit-1 reactor at Three Mile Island, which was shut down during the crisis, did not resume operation until 1985. Cleanup continued on Unit-2 until 1990, but it was too damaged to be rendered usable again. In the more than two decades since the accident at Three Mile Island, not a single new nuclear power plant has been ordered in the United States.
* 1814 Funeral held for the man behind the guillotine
The funeral of Guillotin, the inventor and namesake of the infamous execution device, takes place outside of Paris, France. Guillotin had what he felt were the purest motives for inventing the guillotine and was deeply distressed at how his reputation had become besmirched in the aftermath. Guillotin had bestowed the deadly contraption on the French as a “philanthropic gesture” for the systematic criminal justice reform that was taking place in 1789. The machine was intended to show the intellectual and social progress of the Revolution; by killing aristocrats and journeymen the same way, equality in death was ensured.
The first use of the guillotine was on April 25, 1792, when Nicolas Pelletier was put to death for armed robbery and assault in Place de Greve. The newspapers reported that guillotine was not an immediate sensation. The crowds seemed to miss the gallows at first. However, it quickly caught on with the public and many thought it brought dignity back to the executioner.
However, the prestige of the guillotine fell precipitously due to its frequent use in the French Terror following the Revolution. It became the focal point of the awful political executions and was so closely identified with the terrible abuses of the time that it was perceived as partially responsible for the excesses itself. Still, it was used sporadically in France into the 20th century.
* Duke lacrosse team suspended following sexual assault allegations
Duke University officials suspend the men’s lacrosse team for two games following allegations that team members sexually assaulted a stripper hired to perform at a party. Three players were later charged with rape. The case became a national scandal, impacted by issues of race, politics, and class. In April 2007, all charges against the young men were dropped due to lack of credible evidence and the district attorney was eventually disbarred for his mishandling of the case.
On March 13, 2006, the Duke lacrosse team held a party at an off-campus house and hired two strippers to perform. The following day, one of the dancers, Crystal Mangum, told police in Durham, North Carolina, that three white lacrosse players forced her into a bathroom and raped her. On March 23, the team’s 46 white members provided police with DNA samples and were photographed. On March 28, Duke suspended the team for two games; soon after, their coach was forced to resign and the school’s president canceled the rest of the lacrosse season. On April 10, defense attorneys revealed that DNA test results showed no match between the players and the accuser. Nevertheless, Durham County District Attorney Mike Nifong, who labeled the players “hooligans,” vowed to continue investigating the case. On April 17, Collin Finnerty and Reade Seligmann were charged with rape, sexual offense, and kidnapping. On May 12, defense attorneys announced a second round of tests found no evidence of any player’s DNA on the accuser’s body or clothing on the night of the party. On May 15, a third lacrosse player, David Evans, the team captain, was indicted on charges of rape, sexual offense, and kidnapping. All three players maintained their innocence and had cell phone records and time-stamped photographs to demonstrate they couldn’t have committed the crimes.
The case raised issues of class and race because the accuser was a poor, black, single mother from the Durham area and the three lacrosse players were out-of-staters from affluent backgrounds. Nifong, who was running for district attorney when the rape allegations were first made, was accused of aggressively pursuing the case to gain favor with Durham’s African-American community. Additionally, the case sparked a national debate about the behavior of college athletes.
In late December 2006, the accuser altered several key details of her story and Nifong dropped the rape charges but kept the kidnapping and sexual offense counts in place. On December 28, the North Carolina State Bar Association filed a prosecutorial misconduct complaint against Nifong. In January 2007, Nifong, facing growing criticism, asked North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper to take over the case. In April of that year, the attorney general announced Evans, Finnerty, and Seligmann had been wrongly accused and dismissed all charges against them. Nifong was heavily criticized for his rush to judgment and his heavy reliance on the faulty testimony of the accuser. He was disbarred in June and later convicted of criminal contempt for making misleading statements to a judge. The three accused players received an undisclosed financial settlement from Duke University and later filed a lawsuit against Nifong, the city of Durham and the investigating police officers.
* 1969 Eisenhower dies
Dwight D. Eisenhower, the 34th president of the United States and one of the most highly regarded American generals of World War II, dies in Washington, D.C., at the age of 78.
Born in Denison, Texas, in 1890, Eisenhower graduated from the United States Military Academy in 1915, and after World War I he steadily rose in the peacetime ranks of the U.S. Army. After the U.S. entrance into World War II, he was appointed commanding general of the European theater of operations and oversaw U.S. troops massing in Great Britain. In 1942, Eisenhower, who had never commanded troops in the field, was put in charge of Operation Torch, the Anglo-American landings in Morocco and Algeria.
As supreme commander of a mixed force of Allied nationalities, services, and equipment, Eisenhower designed a system of unified command and rapidly won the respect of his British and Canadian subordinates. From North Africa, he successfully directed the invasions of Tunisia, Sicily, and Italy, and in January 1944 was appointed supreme Allied commander of Operation Overlord, the Allied invasion of northwestern Europe. Although Eisenhower left much of the specific planning for the actual Allied landing in the hands of his capable staff, such as British Field Marshall Montgomery, he served as a brilliant organizer and administrator both before and after the successful invasion.
After the war, he briefly served as president of Columbia University before returning to military service in 1951 as supreme commander of the combined land and air forces of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). Pressure on Eisenhower to run for U.S. president was great, however, and in the spring of 1952, he relinquished his NATO command to run for president on the Republican ticket.
In November 1952, “Ike” won a resounding victory in the presidential elections and in 1956 was reelected in a landslide. A popular president, he oversaw a period of great economic growth in the United States and deftly navigated the country through increasing Cold War tension on the world stage. In 1961, he retired with his wife, Mamie Doud Eisenhower, to his farm in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. He died in 1969 and was buried on a family plot in Abilene, Kansas.
* 1855 – Abraham Gesner patents kerosene – completely replaces whale oil for lamps. * 1998 FDA approves Viagra * 1905 Fingerprint evidence is used to solve a British murder case * 1912 Japanese cherry trees planted along the Potomac * 1973 Marlon Brando declines Best Actor Oscar
It’s Tuesday! Did You Know…
* 1855 – Abraham Gesner patents kerosene – completely replaces whale oil for lamps.
In 1854, Abraham Gesner laid the foundation of the oil industry when he built the first of some U.S. 70 plants that used coal to refine a lamp fuel he called kerosene, a.k.a. coal oil.
In Britain, James Young had earlier started distilling a lubricating and solvent from coal. In 1856, two years after Gesner’s refinery started up, Young learned about Gesner’s lamp fuel and added kerosene to his lubricating and solvent products. News traveled slowly. Young beat Gesner and his backers in obtaining a U.S. patent for kerosene. Young died wealthy; Gesner died impoverished. Continue reading “John’s Believe It Or Not… March 27th”
On Saturday over 800 March For Our Lives events, organized by young people, took place around the globe, from New York to Dallas to Seattle, but also in London, Tokyo, Sydney and Mumbai! This was not some minor protest that will be forgotten by next week. Nope, folks, this was a BIG DEAL. These young people had a message and they sent it loud and clear: It’s time to stop the gun madness in the U.S. – NOW!!! I support them 100%, and I am so very proud of anyone and everyone who marched, helped organize or contributed in any way to these events.
Think how amazing this is. The students who survived the February 14th tragic shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, organized the rally in Washington, D.C. and from there, others picked up the baton and ran with it. This map shows where…
* 1921 – Schooner Bluenose launched – to win Halifax Herald International Fisherman’s Trophy * 1987 Torture chamber uncovered in Philadelphia * 1950 McCarthy charges that Owen Lattimore is a Soviet spy * 1920 F. Scott Fitzgerald’s first novel published * 1955 Black music gets whitewashed – as Georgia Gibbs hits the pop charts with “The Wallflower (Dance With Me, Henry)”
It’s Monday! Did You Know…
* 1921 – Schooner Bluenose launched – to win Halifax Herald International Fisherman’s Trophy
As a symbol of Atlantic Canada and the golden age of sail, the Bluenose has no peer. She was launched in Lunenberg, NS, 26 March 1921. Built entirely of Nova Scotia wood, except for the Oregon pine needed for the masts, Bluenose bobbed high in the water but settled down to her beautiful line as the ballast was poured in. When the finishing touches were being applied, the shipwright was asked, “What is this one going to be like?” “She will be all right, but she is a bit different to most vessels,” was the understated reply. Continue reading “John’s Believe It Or Not… March 26th”
The memory of a former Mayor of Toronto, Canada Rob Ford, now deceased is one that is not easily forgotten. To refresh your recollection, take time to review the above videos.
As per Wikipedia, “Robert Bruce Ford (May 28, 1969 – March 22, 2016) was a Canadian politician and businessman who served as the 64th Mayor of Toronto from 2010 to 2014. Prior to and after his term as mayor, Ford was a city councillor representing Ward 2 of Etobicoke North. He was first elected to Toronto City Council in the 2000 Toronto municipal election, and was re-elected to his council seat twice.”
“His political career, particularly his mayoralty, saw a number of personal and work-related controversies and legal proceedings. In 2013, he became embroiled in a substance abuse scandal, which was widely reported in the national and international media. Following his admission, Ford…
* 1752 – John Bushell publishes the first issue of his Halifax Gazette – Canada’s first regular newspaper. * 1839 OK enters the American national vernacular * 1983 Reagan calls for new antimissile technology * 1998 James Cameron’s Titanic wins 11 Academy Awards * 2011 Hollywood icon Elizabeth Taylor dies at 79
It’s Friday! TGIF! Did You Know…
* 1752 – John Bushell publishes the first issue of his Halifax Gazette – Canada’s first regular newspaper.
On 23 March 1752, the history of printing began in Canada. On that Monday, from a small print shop on Grafton Street in Halifax, Nova Scotia, John Bushell sold copies of the Halifax Gazette — Canada’s first newspaper.
Printed on just half of a single foolscap sheet, the two-page tabloid featured news from Britain, Europe, New England and the other British colonies to the south — items that would be of interest to local government officials, military personnel, and business leaders. Although Halifax was the provincial capital, it had been settled only three years’ previously and had less than 4000 inhabitants — accordingly, community news did not require much space in the paper’s two columns of text. Indeed, the only local content came from advertisements and notices for Halifax businesses. Continue reading “John’s Believe It Or Not… March 23rd”