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July 05,2009 sunday
July 5th, 2009

Quiz: Who were these men? Caesar Rodney, William Rutledge, Button Gwinnett, Rev John Witherspoon.

Quiz: Which medal is older- The Congressional Medal of Honor, The Purple Heart or the Victoria Cross?
History for 7/5/2009
Birthdays: P.T. Barnum, Beatrix Potter, The XVIII Century English actress Mrs. Sarah Siddons, Jean Cocteau, Admiral David Farragut, Len Lye, George Pompidou, Shirley Knight, Huey Lewis, Julie Nixon Eisenhower, Milburn Stone (Doc on Gunsmoke), Goose Gossage, Warren Oates, Henry Cabot Lodge IV, Edie Falco is 46

1820- THE TRIAL OF QUEEN CAROLINE- Forget Charles & Di, this was the greatest marital scandal ever to hit the British Monarchy. George the Prince Regent had been estranged from his wife Caroline since 1796 and she had been living a wild life in Italy while George chased skirts at court. When his elderly mad father George III finally died and 'Princee' became King George IV, nobody expected Caroline to suddenly show up in England and still want to be Queen. On this day George forced a bill into the House of Lords to grant him a divorce so he could be free to marry his mistress Lady Cunningham nicknamed 'the Vice-Queen'. The evidence in the trial were juicy anecdotes of the Queen's own sexual shenanigans with a number of Italians. The whole sordid affair was terribly embarrassing and split the nation into factions. Some loyal to the King, others the Queen's defender's of Women's Rights and the Family. The King's public appearances were greeted with cries of 'Nero!" the Duke of Wellington was hissed and had rocks thrown at him and Prime Minister Lord Liverpool was so upset he could not address Parliament without a dose of ether first. Eventually the divorce bill was dropped and the King crowned with the Queen shut out of the cathedral. A popular doggerel in Punch made a joke of Christ's advice to the Adulteress-
" Most Gracious Queen we thee implore, to Go Away and Sin No More...
But if that effort Be too Great, Just Go Away at Any Rate..

1839- THE FLORA HASTINGS AFFAIR- The first great scandal of Queen Victoria's reign. After the sexual escapades of her predecessors the new 20 year old queen dwelt in a closed moral atmosphere. One day she noticed one of her ladies-in-waiting, a Lady Flora Hastings, had an enlarged belly, like she was pregnant. The idea that this unmarried grande dame may have been pregnant was made worse by the idea that the father may have been the detested lover of Victoria's mother, Sir John Conroy. The tittering eventually accelerated into a full fledged political scandal involving the Prime Minister and the entire government. The slandered Lady Hastings had to submit to a humiliating doctor's examination to prove she was still a virgin and even that didn't silence the gossip. Finally it came out that her belly swelling was caused by a large tumor on her liver, and had she paid more strict attention to it instead of the gossip she might have lived. This day she died and everyone blamed the young queen of persecuting and slandering Lady Hastings. Victoria was hissed in the streets for the remainder of the year.

1865- William Booth formed the Salvation Army in London .

1865- After two days of torrential rain at Gettysburg, Robert E. Lee began withdrawing his Confederate army south to Virginia. He had enough ammunition for one more day's battle, and he was hoping the Yankees would destroy themselves assaulting his strong defensive works. But the Yankees, much to Lincoln's annoyance, remained quiet in camp.

1892- THE HOMESTEAD MASSACRE- Jacob Frick, the attorney of steel magnate Andrew Carnegie, decided to solve the problem of uppity unions by surrounding his Homestead plant with barbed wire and guns then announcing to the astonished employees that they were getting a 20% pay cut. 3,000 workers fought with police and non-union replacements, 7 killed, the union leaders arrested for incitement to riot. Some apologists claim that Andrew Carnegie’s disillusionment with business and his desire to dedicate the remainder of his life to philanthropy stemmed from his horror of the violence done in his name at Homestead. Carnegie was on vacation and when told replied: "Ah yes, Florence is beautiful this time of year". Jacob Frick built himself an art museum in New York.

1910- Writer O.Henry died of cirrhosis and tuberculosis at 47. His last words were "Turn up the lights, I don't want to go home in the dark." He became a writer while serving a jail term for embezzlement.

1933-The Germans began building the Autobahn, a system of highways that became the envy of the world. The Bauhaus designers of the Autobahn invented the ideas we take for granted today- the Cloverleaf Exit, Blending Lanes and the central meridian.

1934- THE SAN FRANCISCO GENERAL STRIKE- A longshoreman strike had brought harbor traffic along the West Coast to a standstill. California Governor Frank Merriam decided to send in the National Guard. When the longshoremen picketline was rushed by armored trucks full of scab replacements they rioted and the troops opened fire. Hundreds were hurt and two killed. Blood flowed on the Embarcadero. One policeman who killed a demonstrator later said: "The man was a Communist so my only regret was that I did not kill more !" Flowers, candles and memorials to the slain men were kicked over by the S.F. police. As a spontaneous unorganized reaction to the violence 100,000 San Franciscans refused to go to work for 4 days. The third largest city in the U.S. was completely paralyzed. Governor Merriam declared martial law but the tanks in the street were helpless. To a nation struggling in the Depression there was widespread fear that this incident was the beginning of a Bolshevik style revolution. After all the Russian Revolution had started with general strikes. Then, on the 5th day San Francisco went back to work.

1935- The Wagner Act passed congress, decreeing all American workers have the right to collective bargaining and to form unions.

1943- Betty Grable married bandleader Harry James.

1945- The First British General Election held in ten years. Winston Churchill and his Tories were turned out for Labor candidate Clement Atlee. When his aides accused the British voters of ingratitude, Churchill said they had been through a lot and wanted to move on. But Churchill called Clement Atlee "a Sheep in Sheep’s clothing."

1952- London Transport scrapped the last of their electric streetcars in favor of diesel polluting double-decker buses.

1954- Elvis Presley recorded "That’s All Right" at Sun Records in Memphis. Some call it the first true Rock & Roll song, but that is disputed by Bill Haley’s Rock Around the Clock, Ike Turners Delta 88 and many other R&B hits. “That’s All Right” was written by black bluesman Arthur Big-Boy Crudup, who never profited from the song’s success and died living in a shack.

1954- Tomoyuki Tanaka announced the beginning of production on the movie Godzilla.

1989- White House aide Lt. Colonel Oliver North sentenced for his role in the Iran Contra Scandal. The conviction was later overturned by a conservative judge on a technicality. Colonel North appeared in court in his Marine uniform while being interrogated by Hawaii Senator Dan Inouye, a real combat war hero who lost an arm fighting in World War Two. Pundits enjoyed the irony of one who could say "I bled for my Country," while the other cried "I Shred for My Country!" North is today a conservative talk show host.

2002- International Professional Women’s Tennis had become dominated by two amazing American sisters, Venus and Serena Williams. This day Serena defeated Venus to win Wimbledon, last year saw the same outcome and a month earlier Serena had defeated Venus for the French Open. This was the tenth time they dueled for the top slot. Serena had won seven out of ten. Venus won the 2005 Wimbledon. 2008- Venus and Serena play the finals at Wimbledon again. This time Venus won. 2009- ditto- this time Surena won.
Quiz: Which medal is older- The Congressional Medal of Honor, The Purple Heart or the Victoria Cross?

Answer: The Purple Heart, established by order of General George Washington in 1782.
The Medal of Honor was established in 1861, The Victoria Cross in 1856.