Archive for May 10th, 2009

10
May
09

Wisconsin Highway 131

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Wisconsin has few places where you can get above it and see.  Wisconsin State Highway 131 runs along the top of a ridge above the Kickapoo River.

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Known as the driftless area, this hilly part of Wisconsin did not get leveled during the last ice age.

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Which gives people a good look at what Wisconsin looked like before the ice ground it down.

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10
May
09

On This Day, May 10: J Edgar Hoover

May 10, 1924

J. Edgar Hoover begins his legacy with the FBI

J. Edgar Hoover is named acting director of the Bureau of Investigation (now the FBI) on this day in 1924. By the end of the year he was officially promoted to director. This began his 48-year tenure in power, during which time he personally shaped American criminal justice in the 20th century.

Hoover first became involved in law enforcement as a special assistant to the attorney general, overseeing the mass roundups and deportations of suspected communists during the Red Scare abuses of the late 1910s. After taking over the FBI in 1924, Hoover began secretly monitoring any activities that did not conform to his American ideal.

Hoover approved of illegally infiltrating and spying on the American Civil Liberties Union. His spies could be found throughout the government, even in the Supreme Court. He also collected damaging information on the personal lives of civil rights activists, including Martin Luther King, Jr.

While Hoover’s success at legitimate crime fighting was modest, his hold over many powerful people and organizations earned him respect and kept him in power. He was extremely successful at attracting attention and favorable press to the FBI. It wasn’t until after his death in 1972, right before the beginning of the Watergate scandal, that Hoover’s corruption became known.

“J. Edgar Hoover begins his legacy with the FBI,” The History Channel website, 2009, http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=998 [accessed May 10, 2009]

On This Day

1676 – Bacon’s Rebellion, which pits frontiersmen against the government, began.

1773 – The English Parliament passed the Tea Act, which taxed all tea in the U.S. colonies.

1774 – Louis XVI ascended the throne of France.

1775 – Ethan Allen and Colonel Benedict Arnold led an attack on the British Fort Ticonderoga and captured it from the British.

1796 – Napoleon Bonaparte won a brilliant victory against the Austrians at Lodi bridge in Italy.

1840 – Mormon leader Joseph Smith moved his band of followers to Illinois to escape the hostilities they had experienced in Missouri.

1865 – Confederate President Jefferson Davis was captured by Union troops near Irvinville, GA.

1869 – Central Pacific and Union Pacific Rail Roads meet in Promontory, UT. A golden spike was driven in at the celebration of the first transcontinental railroad in the U.S.

1908 – The first Mother’s Day observance took place during a church service in Grafton, West Virginia.

1933 – The Nazis staged massive public book burnings in Germany.

1940 – Germany invaded Belgium, France, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg.

1941 – Rudolf Hess, Adolf Hitler’s deputy, parachuted into Scotland on what he claimed was a peace mission.

1960 – The U.S.S. Triton completed the first circumnavigation of the globe under water. The trip started on February 16.

1986 – Navy Lt. Commander Donnie Cochran became the first black pilot to fly with the Blue Angels team.

1994 – Nelson Mandela was sworn in as South Africa’s first black president.

2002 – Robert Hanssen was sentenced to life in prison with no chance for parole. Hanssen, an FBI agent, had sold U.S. secrets to Moscow for $1.4 million in cash and diamonds.

May 10, 1990

China releases Tiananmen Square prisoners

The government of the People’s Republic of China announces that it is releasing 211 people arrested during the massive protests held in Tiananmen Square in Beijing in June 1989. Most observers viewed the prisoner release as an attempt by the communist government of China to dispel much of the terrible publicity it received for its brutal suppression of the 1989 protests.

In early 1989, peaceful protests (largely composed of students) were held in a number of Chinese cities, calling for greater democracy and less governmental control of the economy. In April, thousands of students marched through Beijing. By May, the number of protesters had grown to nearly 1 million. On June 3, the government responded with troops sent in to crush the protests. In the ensuing violence, thousands of protesters were killed and an unknown number were arrested. The brutal Chinese government crackdown shocked the world. In the United States, calls went up for economic sanctions against China to punish the dramatic human rights violations. The U.S. government responded by temporarily suspending arms sales to China.

Nearly one year later, on May 10, 1990, the Chinese government announced that it was releasing 211 people arrested during the Tiananmen Square crackdown. A brief government statement simply indicated, “Lawbreakers involved in the turmoil and counterrevolutionary rebellion last year have been given lenient treatment and released upon completion of investigations.” The statement also declared that over 400 other “law-breakers” were still being investigated while being held in custody. Western observers greeted the news with cautious optimism. In the United States, where the administration of President George Bush was considering the extension of most-favored-nation status to China, the release of the prisoners was hailed as a step in the right direction.

“China releases Tiananmen Square prisoners,” The History Channel website, 2009, http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=2663 [accessed May 10, 2009]




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