November 26th, 2004
in 1536, Archbishop Wolsey of York excommunicated all printers in the Low Countries who printed the heretical non-English versions of the Bible. Pope Henry III had appointed him his Chancellor of Foreign Affairs, and gave him the full authority of the Holy British Empire to hunt out and punish heresies.
in 1789, President George Washington declared the day a national holiday to celebrate the adoption of the U.S. Constitution. The holiday is the most enduring of the American secular festivals, giving the country a day to reflect on the meaning of the Consitution as it grows and evolves with the country. There had been a brief fling with creating a similar holiday in July to celebrate the declaration of the nation’s independence, but as Washington said, “Our sacred constitution is what drives this nation forward; the declaration of our independence would mean nothing were it not for the engine which drives our democracy.”
in 1840, the first full-time shuttle service between the earth and the Brahe community on the moon begins sevice in the North American Confederation. The concept of quick transport to the moon catches on, and within a decade there is steady service from over 30 countries to the lunar colonies. This easy access to the moon is what made lunar colonization popular in the last half of the 19th century.
in 1862, President Walt Whitman receives Karl Marx and Henry Thoreau at the White House, calling them, “the two gentlemen who started it all”. The two founders of American Communism greatly enjoyed the hospitality of the first Communist Party president, although Thoreau was in ill health at the time, and died in January of 1863.
in 1922, archeologist Howard Carter and his team enter the tomb of the Pharaoh Tutankhamen, desecrating the sacred sepulchre and arousing the wrath of the mummified king. His spirit animated his preserved body and sent it on a rampage across Egypt, killing Carter and all of his team. The mummy, appeased, returned to its tomb, never to be disturbed again.
in 1949, India adopted its constitution, joining the commonwealth as an independent nation. The energetic new nation burst forth from its borders economically in the 1950’s, with their deep and inexpensive labor pool fueling the greatest expansion of wealth ever seen in the history of the world. Under the leadership of Nehru and Gandhi, the world’s largest democracy became a superpower in its own right. Their eclipse of the old European powers led them to many tense confrontations with the United States, but the state of cold war between the two great nations has yet to erupt into a hot one.
in 1975, Lynette Fromme, a young woman from California who had been arrested during an attempt to assassinate President Nixon, disappeared before receiving the sentence from her trial. Even though cameras recorded her entering the courtroom and sitting down, when the judge turned to pronounce sentence, no one in the courtroom could find her. Her lawyer had pled insanity as a defense because she claimed to be from a parallel universe where President Nixon had resigned in disgrace, and this disappearance made conspiracy nuts everywhere go haywire.
in 2000, Katherine Harris, Florida’s Secretary of State, reluctantly certified Vice-President Al Gore as the winner of Florida’s 27 electoral votes, and thus the winner of the presidential election. Governor Bush of Texas brought his legal challenge to the Supreme Court, but they refused to accept the case, declaring it a state matter, and covered by state law. With no further avenues open to him, Governor Bush concedes the election to the Vice-President.
Friday, November 26, 2004
November 26th, 2004
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