This is your morning Open Thread. Pour your favorite beverage and review the past and comment on the future.
Find the past “On This Day in History” here.
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May 12 is the 132nd day of the year (133rd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 233 days remaining until the end of the year.
On this day in 1937, George Denis Patrick Carlin was born in the Bronx. He was raised by his mother in Morningside Heights which he and his friends called “White Harlem” because it sounded tougher. He was raised Irish Catholic and educated in Catholic schools. He often ran away from home. After joining the Air Force while stationed in Louisiana, Carlin became a DJ in Shreveport starting on his long career in entertainment. Carlin rose to fame during the 60’s and 70’s, generating the most controversy with his famous “Seven Dirty Words”:
Shit, Piss, Fuck, Cunt, Cocksucker, Motherfucker, and Tits. Those are the heavy seven. Those are the ones that’ll infect your soul, curve your spine and keep the country from winning the war.
His arrest and the subsequent FCC rulings ended up in the Supreme Court which upheld the right of the FCC to regulate the public airways. In the ruling it called the routine “indecent but not obscene”.
In 1961, Carlin was also present in the audience the night that Lenny Bruce was arrested in San Fransisco for obscenity. He was arrested, as well, after the police, who were questioning the audience, asked Carlin for ID. He said he didn’t have any because he didn’t believe in government-issued ID’s.
We all know the rest. His popularity as a comic and “commentarian” on politics, religion and social issues made him a popular guest on late night talk shows. His death in June 22, 2008 saddened many. He left behind his second wife, Sally Wade, whom he married after his first wife Brenda died of liver cancer in 1997. He left a daughter by his first marriage, Kelly.
Happy Birthday, George, you are missed.
254 – Pope Stephen I succeeds Pope Lucius I as the 23rd pope.
303 – Roman Emperor Diocletian orders the beheading of the 14-year-old Pancras of Rome.
922 – After much hardship, Abbasid envoy Ahmad ibn Fadlan arrived in the lands of Volga Bulgars.
1191 – Richard I of England marries Berengaria of Navarre who is crowned Queen consort of England the same day.
1264 – The Battle of Lewes, between King Henry III of England and the rebel Simon de Montfort, 6th Earl of Leicester, begins.
1328 – Antipope Nicholas V, a claimant to the papacy, is consecrated in Rome by the Bishop of Venice.
1364 – Jagiellonian University, the oldest university in Poland, is founded in Krakow, Poland.
1551 – National University of San Marcos, the oldest university in the Americas, is founded in Lima, Peru.
1588 – French Wars of Religion: Henry III of France flees Paris after Henry of Guise enters the city and a spontaneous uprising occurs.
1689 – King William’s War: William III of England joins the League of Augsburg starting a war with France.
1743 – Maria Theresa of Austria is crowned Queen of Bohemia after defeating her rival, Charles VII, Holy Roman Emperor.
1780 – American Revolutionary War: In the largest defeat of the Continental Army, Charleston, South Carolina is taken by British forces.
1797 – First Coalition: Napoleon I of France conquers Venice.
1821 – The first big battle of the Greek War of Independence against the Turks occurs in Valtetsi.
1862 – U.S. federal troops occupy Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
1863 – American Civil War: Battle of Raymond: two divisions of James B. McPherson’s XVII Corps (ACW) turn the left wing of Confederate General John C. Pemberton’s defensive line on Fourteen Mile Creek, opening up the interior of Mississippi to the Union Army during the Vicksburg Campaign.
1864 – American Civil War: the Battle of Spotsylvania Court House: thousands of Union and Confederate soldiers die in “the Bloody Angle”.
1865 – American Civil War: the Battle of Palmito Ranch: the first day of the last major land action to take place during the Civil War, resulting in a Confederate victory.
1870 – The Manitoba Act is given the Royal Assent, paving the way for Manitoba to become a province of Canada on July 15.
1873 – Oscar II is crowned King of Sweden.
1881 – In North Africa, Tunisia becomes a French protectorate.
1885 – North-West Rebellion: the four-day Battle of Batoche, pitting rebel Métis against the Canadian government, comes to an end with a decisive rebel defeat.
1926 – UK General Strike 1926: In the United Kingdom, a nine-day general strike by trade unions ends.
1932 – Ten weeks after his abduction Charles Jr., the infant son of Charles Lindbergh is found dead in Hopewell, New Jersey, just a few miles from the Lindberghs’ home.
1935 – Bill Wilson and Dr. Bob Smith (founders of Alcoholics Anonymous) meet for the first time in Akron, Ohio, at the home of Henrietta Siberling.
1937 – George VI and Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon are crowned King and Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
1941 – Konrad Zuse presents the Z3, the world’s first working programmable, fully automatic computer, in Berlin.
1942 – World War II: Second Battle of Kharkov: in eastern Ukraine, Red Army forces under Marshal Semyon Timoshenko launch a major offensive from the Izium bridgehead, only to be encircled and destroyed by the troops of Army Group South two weeks later.
1942 – Holocaust: 1,500 Jews are sent to gas chambers in Auschwitz.
1945 – Argentinian labour leader José Peter declares the Federacion Obrera de la Industria de la Carne dissolved.
1949 – The Soviet Union lifts its blockade of Berlin.
1949 – The western occupying powers approve the Basic Law for the new German state: the Federal Republic of Germany.
1952 – Gaj Singh is crowned Maharaja of Jodhpur.
1955 – Nineteen days after bus workers went on strike in Singapore, rioting breaks out and seriously impacts Singapore’s bid for independence.
1958 – A formal North American Aerospace Defense Command agreement is signed between the United States and Canada.
1962 – Douglas MacArthur delivers his Duty, Honor, Country valedictory speech at the United States Military Academy.
1965 – The Soviet spacecraft Luna 5 crashes on the Moon.
1968 – North Vietnamese and Viet Cong forces attack Australian troops defending Fire Support Base Coral, east of Lai Khe in South Vietnam on the night of 12/13 May, resulting in heavy casualties on both sides and beginning the Battle of Coral-Balmoral.
1975 – Mayaguez incident: the Cambodian navy seizes the American merchant ship SS Mayaguez in international waters.
1978 – In Zaire, rebels occupy the city of Kolwezi, the mining center of the province of Shaba (now known as Katanga). The local government asks the U.S.A., France and Belgium to restore order.
1981 – Francis Hughes starves to death in the Maze Prison in a Republican campaign for political prisoner status to be granted to Provisional IRA prisoners.
1982 – During a procession outside the shrine of the Virgin Mary in Fatima, Portugal, security guards overpower Juan Fernandez Krohn before he can attack Pope John Paul II with a bayonet. Krohn, an ultraconservative Spanish priest opposed to the Vatican II reforms, believed that the Pope had to be killed for being an “agent of Moscow”.
2002 – Former US President Jimmy Carter arrives in Cuba for a five-day visit with Fidel Castro becoming the first President of the United States, in or out of office, to visit the island since Castro’s 1959 revolution.
2003 – The Riyadh compound bombings, carried out by Al Qaeda, kill 26 people.
2003 – Fifty-nine Democratic lawmakers bring the Texas Legislature to a standstill by going into hiding in a dispute over a Republican congressional redistricting plan.
2006 – Mass unrest by the Primeiro Comando da Capital begins in Sao Paulo (Brazil), leaving at least 150 dead.
2006 – Iranian Azeris interpret a cartoon published in an Iranian magazine as insulting, resulting in massive riots throughout the country.
2007 – Riots in which over 50 people are killed and over 100 are injured take place in Karachi upon the arrival in town of the Chief Justice of Pakistan Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry.
2008 – An earthquake (measuring around 8.0 magnitude) occurs in Sichuan, China, killing over 69,000 people.
2008 – U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement conducts the largest-ever raid of workplace and arrests nearly 400 immigrants for identity theft and document fraud.
2010 – An Afriqiyah Airways Flight crashes and kills everyone but one person on board.
* Christian Feast Day:
Blessed Joan of Portugal
Dominic de la Calzada
Epiphanius of Salamis
Nereus, Achilleus, Domitilla, and Pancras
Patriarch Germanus I of Constantinople (Eastern Church)
Philip of Agira
May 12 (Eastern Orthodox liturgics)
* J.V. Snellman’s Day, also Day of Finnishness. (Finland)
* International Nurses Day (International)