Archive for May 17th, 2009

17
May
09

Red Fox

Like many things in North America, the Red Fox is not a native species.  English colonialists, wanting to carry on their fox hunting tradition, imported Red Fox from England because American Gray Fox would not play the game properly.  Unlike Red Fox, Gray Fox will run up and hide in trees.  Makes it difficult for forty or fifty men on horses with forty or fifty dogs to chase their quarry if the damn things keep running up a tree.

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Red Fox can now be found throughout North America.  I’ve seen fox in the area where I took this picture before, but being incredibly shy they usually ran away before I could get a picture.

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Red Fox have excellent hearing, and they can hear me long before I see them.

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Yesterday’s high winds made it difficult to get good deer shots because the deer get real jumpy when it’s windy, probably because they can’t hear very well then.  In this case the wind worked in my favor as I was downwind of this fellow as he strolled along a hiking path.  I got this shot and then he saw me and into the thick brush he went.

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17
May
09

On This Day, May 17: Brown v. Board of Education

May 17, 1954

Brown v. Board of Ed is decided

In a major civil rights victory, the U.S. Supreme Court hands down an unanimous decision in Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, ruling that racial segregation in public educational facilities is unconstitutional. The historic decision, which brought an end to federal tolerance of racial segregation, specifically dealt with Linda Brown, a young African American girl who had been denied admission to her local elementary school in Topeka, Kansas, because of the color of her skin.

In 1896, the Supreme Court ruled in Plessy v. Ferguson that “separate but equal” accommodations in railroad cars conformed to the 14th Amendment’s guarantee of equal protection. That ruling was used to justify segregating all public facilities, including elementary schools. However, in the case of Linda Brown, the white school she attempted to attend was far superior to her black alternative and miles closer to her home. The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) took up Linda’s cause, and in 1954 Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka reached the Supreme Court. African American lawyer (and future Supreme Court justice) Thurgood Marshall led Brown’s legal team, and on May 17, 1954, the high court handed down its decision.

In an opinion written by Chief Justice Earl Warren, the nation’s highest court ruled that not only was the “separate but equal” doctrine unconstitutional in Linda’s case, it was unconstitutional in all cases because educational segregation stamped an inherent badge of inferiority on African American students. A year later, after hearing arguments on the implementation of their ruling, the Supreme Court published guidelines requiring public school systems to integrate “with all deliberate speed.”

The Brown v. Board of Education decision served to greatly motivate the civil rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s and ultimately led to the abolishment of racial segregation in all public facilities and accommodations.

“Brown v. Board of Ed is decided,” The History Channel website, 2009, http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=6900 [accessed May 17, 2009]

 

On This Day

1540 – Afghan chief Sher Khan defeated Mongul Emperor Humayun at Kanauj.

1681 – Louis XIV sent an expedition to aid James II in Ireland. As a result, England declares war on France.

1756 – Britain declared war on France, beginning the French and Indian War.

1792 – The New York Stock Exchange was founded at 70 Wall Street by 24 brokers.

1926 – The U.S. Embassy in Buenos Aires was damaged by bombs that were believed set by sympathizers of Sacco and Vanzetti.

1932 – The U.S. Congress changed the name “Porto Rico” to “Puerto Rico.”

1946 – U.S. President Truman seized control of the nation’s railroads, delaying a threatened strike by engineers and trainmen.

1948 – The Soviet Union recognized the new state of Israel.

1980 – Rioting erupted in Miami’s Liberty City neighborhood after an all-white jury in Tampa acquitted four former Miami police officers of fatally beating black insurance executive Arthur McDuffie. Eight people were killed in the rioting.

1987 – An Iraqi warplane attacked the U.S. Navy frigate Stark in the Persian Gulf, killing 37 American sailors. Iraq and the United States called the attack a mistake.

2000 – Thomas E. Blanton Jr. and David Luker surrendered to police in Birmingham, AL. The two former Ku Klux Klan members were arrested on charges from the bombing of a church in 1963 that killed four young black girls.

2001 – The U.S. Postal Service issued a stamp based on Charles M. Schulz’s “Peanuts” comic strip.

2006 – The U.S. aircraft carrier Oriskany was sunk about 24 miles off Pensacola Beach. It was the first vessel sunk under a Navy program to dispose of old warships by turning them into diving attractions. It was the largest man-made reef at the time of the sinking.

May 17, 1943

The Memphis Belle flies its 25th bombing mission

On this day in 1943, the crew of the Memphis Belle, one of a group of American bombers based in Britain, becomes the first B-17 crew to complete 25 missions over Europe.

The Memphis Belle performed its 25th and last mission, in a bombing raid against Lorient, a German submarine base. But before returning back home to the United States, film footage was shot of Belle‘s crew receiving combat medals. This was but one part of a longer documentary on a day in the life of an American bomber, which included dramatic footage of a bomber being shot out of the sky, with most of its crew parachuting out, one by one. Another film sequence showed a bomber returning to base with its tail fin missing. What looked like damage inflicted by the enemy was, in fact, the result of a collision with another American bomber.

The Memphis Belle documentary would not be released for another 11 months, as more footage was compiled to demonstrate the risks these pilots ran as they bombed “the enemy again and again and again-until he has had enough.” The film’s producer, Lieutenant Colonel William Wyler, was known for such non-military fare as The Letter, Wuthering Heights, and Jezebel.

A fictional film about the B-17, called Memphis Belle, was released in 1990, starring John Lithgow, Matthew Modine, and Eric Stoltz.

“The <I>Memphis Belle</I> flies its 25th bombing mission,” The History Channel website, 2009, http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=6456 [accessed May 17, 2009]




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