Posts Tagged ‘Enron

09
Jan
09

On This Day, 1-9-2009: Common Sense

January 9, 1776

Thomas Paine publishes Common Sense

On this day in 1776, writer Thomas Paine publishes his pamphlet “Common Sense,” setting forth his arguments in favor of American independence.  Although little used today, pamphlets were an important medium for the spread of ideas in the 16th through 19th centuries.

Originally published anonymously, “Common Sense” advocated independence for the American colonies from Britain and is considered one of the most influential pamphlets in American history.  Credited with uniting average citizens and political leaders behind the idea of independence, “Common Sense” played a remarkable role in transforming a colonial squabble into the American Revolution.

At the time Paine wrote “Common Sense,” most colonists considered themselves to be aggrieved Britons.  Paine fundamentally changed the tenor of colonists’ argument with the crown when he wrote the following:  “Europe, and not England, is the parent country of America.  This new world hath been the asylum for the persecuted lovers of civil and religious liberty from every part of Europe.  Hither they have fled, not from the tender embraces of the mother, but from the cruelty of the monster; and it is so far true of England, that the same tyranny which drove the first emigrants from home, pursues their descendants still.”

Paine was born in England in 1737 and worked as a corset maker in his teens and, later, as a sailor and schoolteacher before becoming a prominent pamphleteer. In 1774, Paine arrived in Philadelphia and soon came to support American independence.  Two years later, his 47-page pamphlet sold some 500,000 copies, powerfully influencing American opinion. Paine went on to serve in the U.S. Army and to work for the Committee of Foreign Affairs before returning to Europe in 1787.  Back in England, he continued writing pamphlets in support of revolution. He released “The Rights of Man,” supporting the French Revolution in 1791-92, in answer to Edmund Burke’s famous “Reflections on the Revolution in France” (1790). His sentiments were highly unpopular with the still-monarchal British government, so he fled to France, where he was later arrested for his political opinions.  He returned to the United States in 1802 and died in New York in 1809.

“Thomas Paine publishes Common Sense.” 2009. The History Channel website. 9 Jan 2009, 11:46 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=4210.

On This Day

1793 – Jean-Pierre Blanchard made the first successful balloon flight in the U.S.

1861 – The state of Mississippi seceded from the United States.

1902 – New York State introduced a bill to outlaw flirting in public.

1905 – In Russia, the civil disturbances known as the Revolution of 1905 forced Czar Nicholas II to grant some civil rights.

1951 – The United Nations headquarters officially opened in New York City.

1972 – The ocean liner Queen Elizabeth was destroyed by fire in Hong Kong harbor.

2002 – The U.S. Justice Department announced that it was pursuing a criminal investigation of Enron Corp. The company had filed for bankruptcy on December 2, 2001.

January 9, 1952

Truman warns of Cold War dangers

In his 1952 State of the Union address, President Harry S. Truman warns Americans that they are “moving through a perilous time,” and calls for vigorous action to meet the communist threat.

Though Truman’s popularity had nose-dived during the previous 18 months because of complaints about the way that he handled the Korean War, his speech received a standing ovation from congressmen and special guest Prime Minister Winston Churchill.

Truman spent much of his speech addressing foreign policy concerns. The primary focus was on meeting the communist challenge. The president declared that the United States was confronted with “a terrible threat of aggression.” He also pointed with pride to U.S. action in meeting that threat. In Korea, combined U.S. and United Nations forces “turned back the Chinese Communist invasion;” elsewhere in Asia, U.S. assistance to its allies was helping to “hold back the Communist advance;” and in Europe and the Middle East, the fight against Soviet expansion was also ongoing.

Truman was particularly proud of the Point Four program, which provided U.S. scientific and technical assistance (such as in the field of agriculture) to the underdeveloped world, claiming that it helped “feed the whole world so we would not have to stomach communism.” There could be no slacking of effort, however, since the Soviet Union was “increasing its armed might,” and with the Soviet acquisition of atomic bomb technology, the world was still walking “in the shadow of another world war.”

Truman’s speech was a stirring rebuttal to domestic critics like Senator Joseph McCarthy, who attacked Truman’s “softness” on communism. Perhaps such criticism contributed to Truman’s decision not to run for re-election. Adlai Stevenson ran as the Democratic candidate, but he lost the election to Dwight Eisenhower.

“Truman warns of Cold War dangers.” 2009. The History Channel website. 9 Jan 2009, 11:50 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=2541.

On This Day in Wisconsin: January 9

1859 – Carrie Chapman Catt Born
On this date Carrie Chapman Catt was born in Ripon. Born Carrie Clinton Lane, she was the only woman in the 1880 graduating class at the Iowa Agricultural College. After graduation, she worked as a law clerk, school teacher, and principal. She was one of the first women in the U.S. to be appointed Superintendent of Schools. In 1885, she married Leo Chapman. He died a year later in San Francisco. Carrie Chapman stayed on in San Francisco and became the first female reporter in the city. In 1890, she married George Catt. At the same time, she began to work for the National American Woman Suffrage Association. In 1892, she succeeded Susan B. Anthony as the NAWSA president. In 1902, she organized the International Woman Suffrage Alliance. She campaigned worldwide for suffrage equality. After the passage of the 19th Amendment, Carrie Chapman Catt continued to be active in politics. She founded the League of Women Voters, published books on suffrage, and lobbied for world peace and child labor laws. [Source: Carrie Chapman Catt Girlhood Home Restoration Project]

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02
Dec
08

On This Day, 12-2-2008: Chain Reaction

December 2, 1942

Fermi produces the first nuclear chain reaction

On this day, Enrico Fermi, the Italian-born Nobel Prize-winning physicist, directs and controls the first nuclear chain reaction in his laboratory beneath the bleachers of Stagg Field at the University of Chicago, ushering in the nuclear age. Upon successful completion of the experiment, a coded message was transmitted to President Roosevelt: “The Italian navigator has landed in the new world.”

Following on England’s Sir James Chadwick’s discovery of the neutron and the Curies’ production of artificial radioactivity, Fermi, a full-time professor of physics at the University of Florence, focused his work on producing radioactivity by manipulating the speed of neutrons derived from radioactive beryllium. Further similar experimentation with other elements, including uranium 92, produced new radioactive substances; Fermi’s colleagues believed he had created a new “transuranic” element with an atomic number of 93, the result of uranium 92 capturing a neuron while under bombardment, thus increasing its atomic weight. Fermi remained skeptical about his discovery, despite the enthusiasm of his fellow physicists. He became a believer in 1938, when he was awarded the Nobel Prize in physics for “his identification of new radioactive elements.” Although travel was restricted for men whose work was deemed vital to national security, Fermi was given permission to leave Italy and go to Sweden to receive his prize. He and his wife, Laura, who was Jewish, never returned; both feared and despised Mussolini’s fascist regime.

Fermi immigrated to New York City–Columbia University, specifically, where he recreated many of his experiments with Niels Bohr, the Danish-born physicist, who suggested the possibility of a nuclear chain reaction. Fermi and others saw the possible military applications of such an explosive power, and quickly composed a letter warning President Roosevelt of the perils of a German atomic bomb. The letter was signed and delivered to the president by Albert Einstein on October 11, 1939. The Manhattan Project, the American program to create its own atomic bomb, was the result.

It fell to Fermi to produce the first nuclear chain reaction, without which such a bomb was impossible. He created a jury-rigged laboratory with the necessary equipment, which he called an “atomic pile,” in a squash court in the basement of Stagg Field at the University of Chicago. With colleagues and other physicists looking on, Fermi produced the first self-sustaining nuclear chain reaction and the “new world” of nuclear power was born.

“Fermi produces the first nuclear chain reaction.” 2008. The History Channel website. 2 Dec 2008, 11:25 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=tdihArticleCategory&id=6398.

On This Day

1804 – Napoleon was crowned emperor of France at the Cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris.

1823 – U.S. President James Monroe outlined his doctrine opposing European expansion in the Western Hemisphere.

1859 – John Brown, a militant abolitionist, was hanged for his raid on Harper’s Ferry the previous October.

1901 – Gillette patented the first disposable razor.

1917 – During World War I, hostilities were suspended on the eastern front.

1927 – The Ford Motor Company unveiled the Model A automobile. It was the successor to the Model T.

1954 – The U.S. Senate voted to condemn Sen. Joseph R. McCarthy for what it called “conduct that tends to bring the Senate into dishonor and disrepute.” The censure was related to McCarthy’s controversial investigation of suspected communists in the U.S. government, military and civilian society.

1961 – Cuban leader Fidel Castro declared in a nationally broadcast speech that he was a Marxist-Leninist and that he was going to lead Cuba to communism.

1982 – Doctors at the University of Utah implanted a permanent artificial heart in the chest of retired dentist Barney Clark. He lived 112 days with the device. The operation was the first of its kind.

1995 – NASA launched a U.S.-European observatory on a $1 billion dollar mission intended to study the sun.

2001 – Enron Corp. filed for Chapter 11 reorganization. The filing came five days after Dynegy walked away from a $8.4 billion buyout. It was the largest bankruptcy in U.S. history.

December 2, 1962

Senator Mansfield pronounces American aid to South Vietnam wasted

Following a trip to Vietnam at President John F. Kennedy’s request, Senate Majority Leader Mike Mansfield (D-Montana) becomes the first U.S. official to refuse to make an optimistic public comment on the progress of the war. Originally a supporter of South Vietnamese President Ngo Dinh Diem, Mansfield changed his opinion of the situation after his visit. He claimed that the $2 billion the United States had poured into Vietnam during the previous seven years had accomplished nothing. He placed blame squarely on the Diem regime for its failure to share power and win support from the South Vietnamese people. He suggested that Americans, despite being motivated by a sincere desire to stop the spread of communism, had simply taken the place formerly occupied by the French colonial power in the minds of many Vietnamese. Mansfield’s change of opinion surprised and irritated President Kennedy.

“Senator Mansfield pronounces American aid to South Vietnam wasted.” 2008. The History Channel website. 2 Dec 2008, 11:24 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=tdihArticleCategory&id=1527.

09
Jan
08

On This Day 1-9-08: Oh Mississippi

1793 – Jean-Pierre Blanchard made the first successful balloon flight in the U.S.

1848 – The first commercial bank was established in San Francisco, CA.

1861 – The state of Mississippi seceded from the United States.

1902 – New York State introduced a bill to outlaw flirting in public.

1951 – The United Nations headquarters officially opened in New York City.

1995 – Russian cosmonaut Valeri Poliakov, 51, completed his 366th day in outer space aboard the Mir space station, breaking the record for the longest continuous time spent in outer space.

2002 – The U.S. Justice Department announced that it was pursuing a criminal investigation of Enron Corp. The company had filed for bankruptcy on December 2, 2001.

2003 – Archaeologists announced that they had found five more chambers in the tomb of Qin Shihuang, China’s first emperor. The rooms were believed to cover about 750,000 square feet.

Never be haughty to the humble or humble to the haughty.
Jefferson Davis




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