DEATH AND TAXES

March 14th in history:

Warren G. Harding made history on March 14th, 1923, as the first president to file an income tax report.  This was 10 years after the 16th Amendment was ratified, legalizing income taxes in the U.S.

Harding died of an illness later that year, the third year of his presidency.  John F. Kennedy also died in his third year as president.  Just after his assassination, Kennedy was buried in a simple grave at Arlington Cemetery.  On this day in 1967, Kennedy’s body was moved to a more elaborate gravesite.  Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis and two Kennedy children also are buried at the site, with the graves of Senators Robert and Edward Kennedy nearby.Borman CernanTwo days after JFK was killed, Dallas bar owner Jack Ruby shot and killed suspected assassin Lee Harvey Oswald on live TV.  On this day in 1964, Ruby was convicted of Oswald’s murder.

President Kennedy set a national goal of landing a man on the moon by the end of the 1960’s.  Astronauts Frank Borman and Eugene Cernan both orbited the moon on different Apollo flights, and Cernan actually walked on the moon during the last manned lunar mission, Apollo 17.  Both men were born on March 14th…Borman in 1928, and Cernan six years later.

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SCIENCE, TAKE IT OR LEAVE IT

March 13th in history:

Attorney Clarence Darrow, the defense lawyer at the Scopes “Monkey” trial, died on this date in 1938. It was exactly 13 years after the day the Tennessee House voted to ban the teaching of evolution in state schools. Passage of that law led to the Scopes trial.

A major scientific discovery on March 13th, 1781: Astronomer William Herschel announced that he had found the planet Uranus. It was the first planet in the solar system to be discovered by telescope.

And on this date in 1930, astronomer Clyde Tombaugh announced to the Harvard College Observatory that he had discovered a ninth planet, which would be named Pluto. In 2006, Pluto was downgraded to the status of “dwarf planet.”

WOMEN PIONEERS

March 12th in history:

Former Massachusetts Governor Willard Mitt Romney, better known as “Mitt,” was born on March 12th, 1947.  Romney was the Republican nominee for president in the 2012 election, following in the footsteps of his father George Romney, who campaigned for the White House in 1968 while serving as governor of Michigan.

Mitt Romney ran for the U.S. Senate against Ted Kennedy in 1994.  That same year, on March 12th, the Church of England ordained female priests for the first time.

The first Girl Scout meeting in the U.S. occurred on March 12th, 1912, in Savannah, Georgia. Girl Scouts founder Juliette Gordon Low recruited 18 girls for the meeting. (We don’t know if cookies were served.)

And March 12th is the birthday of the most famous female spy for CONTROL…Barbara Feldon, Agent 99 in the TV series “Get Smart.”  But would you believe, we don’t know for sure what year she was born.  Must be a government secret.

JUSTICE FOR ALL

March 11th in history:

Scalia Reno

A three-day standoff in Washington, D.C. ended on March 11th, 1977, when a group of armed Hanafi Muslims released dozens of hostages who had been held at three buildings. Two people died during the siege, and future Washington Mayor Marion Barry was wounded by gunfire.

The Branch Davidian standoff at Waco, Texas had being going for two weeks when Janet Reno became the first female attorney general of the U.S. on this day in 1993.  Reno was blamed by many for the fiery and deadly conclusion of the Waco incident, but she remained head of the Justice Department for almost eight years.

Justice Antonin Scalia served nearly 30 years on the U.S. Supreme Court, after being appointed in 1986. Scalia was born March 11th, 1936.

Author and attorney Erle Stanley Gardner played a judge in the final episode of the “Perry Mason” TV series in 1966…which is fitting, because Gardner created the character of Mason, a defense lawyer who never loses a case.  Gardner was 80 years old when he died on March 11th, 1970.

VIVE LA FRANCE!

March 10th in history:

french flagOn March 10th, 1785, Thomas Jefferson was appointed the U.S. minister to France, replacing Benjamin Franklin.

Nineteen years later, Jefferson was president of the United States, and negotiated the purchase of the Louisiana territory from France. The purchase was made official in St. Louis on March 10th, 1804.

And the French Foreign Legion was established by King Louis-Philippe on this day in 1831.

ATTABOY, LUTHER!

March 9th in history:

On March 9th, 1965, more than two thousand civil rights demonstrators led by Martin Luther King Jr. marched to the Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama for the second time in three days.  State troopers had physically attacked marchers on March 7th, to keep them from crossing the bridge on a trek from Selma to the state capital of Montgomery.  The March 9th demonstration ended with the group turning back at the bridge because of a court order blocking the march.  The full march to Montgomery was permitted later that month.

The “original” Martin Luther earned a bachelor’s degree in Bible studies on this date in 1508, a year after becoming a Catholic priest.  Five years later, on March 9th, 1513, the pope who would eventually excommunicate Luther was elected.  Giovanni de Medici took the papal name Leo X.

The shout “Attaboy, Luther!” is a running joke in the Don Knotts comedy “The Ghost and Mr. Chicken,” written by Jim Fritzell and Everett Greenbaum.  Fritzell was only 59 when he died on this date in 1979.  He and Greenbaum worked as a writing team for decades, contributing to many popular TV series including “The Andy Griffith Show,” “Mister Peepers,” “Sanford and Son,” and “M*A*S*H.”

 

BON VOYAGE

March 8th in history:

Two U.S. presidents died on March 8th: Millard Fillmore in 1874, and William Howard Taft in 1930.  Fillmore was not nominated for a second term by the Whigs in 1852, and finished third in the electoral vote in the 1856 election.  Taft came in third in his 1912 re-election bid, behind Woodrow Wilson and Teddy Roosevelt.  Taft served as Chief Justice for nine years, and retired just weeks before his death.

Charles De Gaulle was still president of France when construction began on an airport near Paris that would be named after him.  De Gaulle International Airport opened eight years later, on this date in 1974.

Arthur Dent began his travels through the universe when the first episode of the radio show “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” was broadcast on the BBC on this date in 1978.

And March 8th is the birthday of the “Skipper” who led the S.S. Minnow on an infamous “three-hour tour.” Alan Hale of “Gilligan’s Island” was born on this date in 1921.

In its final season, “Gilligan’s Island” aired Monday nights on CBS, opposite “The Monkees” on NBC.  Monkees singer and drummer Micky Dolenz was born March 8th, 1945.