This is your morning Open Thread. Pour your favorite beverage and review the past and comment on the future
Find the past “On This Day in History” here.
December 8 is the 342nd day of the year (343rd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 23 days remaining until the end of the year.
John and I are in our Dakota kitchen in the middle of the night. Three cats – Sasha, Micha and Charo – are looking up at John, who is making tea for us two.
Sasha is all white, Micha is all black. They are both gorgeous, classy Persian cats. Charo, on the other hand, is a mutt. John used to have a special love for Charo. “You’ve got a funny face, Charo!” he would say, and pat her.
“Yoko, Yoko, you’re supposed to first put the tea bags in, and then the hot water.” John took the role of the tea maker, for being English. So I gave up doing it.
It was nice to be up in the middle of the night, when there was no sound in the house, and sip the tea John would make. One night, however, John said: “I was talking to Aunt Mimi this afternoon and she says you are supposed to put the hot water in first. Then the tea bag. I could swear she taught me to put the tea bag in first, but …”
“So all this time, we were doing it wrong?”
We both cracked up. That was in 1980. Neither of us knew that it was to be the last year of our life together.
395 – Later Yan is defeated by its former vassal Northern Wei at the Battle of Canhe Slope.
757 – Du Fu returns to Chang’an as a member of Emperor Xuanzong’s court, after having escaped the city during the An Lushan Rebellion.
1432 – the first battle between the forces of Svitrigaila and Sigismund Kestutaitis is fought near the town of Oszmiana (Ashmyany), launching the most active phase of the civil war in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania.
1660 – Margaret Hughes becomes the first actress to appear on an English public stage, playing the role of Desdemona in a production of Shakespeare’s play Othello.
1854 – In his Apostolic constitution Ineffabilis Deus, Pope Pius IX proclaims the dogmatic definition of Immaculate Conception, which holds that the Virgin Mary was born free of original sin.
1907 – King Gustaf V of Sweden accedes to the Swedish throne.
1912 – Leaders of the German Empire hold an Imperial War Council to discuss the possibility that war might break out.
1941 – United States President Franklin D. Roosevelt declares December 7 to be “a day which will live in infamy”, after which the U.S. and the Republic of China declare war against Japan.
1941 – Japanese forces invade Thailand’s southern peninsula. They face a heavy resistance, however, Plaek Phibunsongkhram ordered a ceasefire.
1953 – United States President Dwight D. Eisenhower delivers his Atoms for Peace speech, and the U.S. launches its “Atoms for Peace” program that supplied equipment and information to schools, hospitals, and research institutions around the world.
1963 – Pan Am Flight 214, a Boeing 707, is struck by positive lightning and crashes near Elkton, Maryland, United States, killing all 81 people on board.
1966 – The Greek ship SS Heraklion sinks in a storm in the Aegean Sea, killing over 200.
1972 – United Airlines Flight 553 crashes after aborting its landing attempt at Chicago Midway International Airport, killing 45.
1974 – A plebiscite results in the abolition of monarchy in Greece.
1980 – John Lennon, an English musician and peace activist, is assassinated by Mark David Chapman, a mentally unstable fan, in front of the Dakota apartment building in New York City.
1982 – In Suriname, several opponents of the military government are killed.
1987 – The Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty is signed.
1987 – Croat Frank Vitkovic shoots and kills eight people at the offices of the Australia Post in Melbourne, before being killed himself.
1987 – The Alianza Lima air disaster occurs.
1991 – The leaders of Russia, Belarus and Ukraine sign an agreement dissolving the Soviet Union and establishing the Commonwealth of Independent States.
1991 – The Romanian Constitution is adopted in a referendum.
1993 – The North American Free Trade Agreement is signed into law by US President Bill Clinton.
1998 – Eighty-one people are killed by armed groups in Algeria.
1998 – The Australian Cricket Board’s cover-up of Shane Warne and Mark Waugh’s involvement with bookmakers is revealed.
2002 – The Caribbean Community Heads of Government meet with the Government of Cuba and declare the date to be “CARICOM-Cuba Day”-to celebrate diplomatic ties between the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and Cuba.
2004 – The Cuzco Declaration is signed in Cuzco, Peru, establishing the South American Community of Nations.
2005 – Ante Gotovina, a Croatian army general accused of war crimes, is captured in the Playa de las Americas, Tenerife by the Spanish police.
2008 – Kirsty Williams is elected as Leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats. She becomes the first female leader of a political party in Wales.
2009 – Bombings in Baghdad, Iraq kill 127 and injure 448.
2010 – With the second launch of the SpaceX Falcon 9 and the first launch of the SpaceX Dragon, SpaceX becomes the first private company to successfully launch, orbit and recover a spacecraft.
2010 – The Japanese solar-sail spacecraft IKAROS passes the planet Venus at a distance of about 80,800 km.
* Bodhi Day (Japan)
* Christian Feast Day
o Richard Baxter (Episcopal Church (USA))
* Constitution Day (Romania)
* Constitution Day, official holiday since 1992. (Uzbekistan)
* Feast of the Immaculate Conception (public holidays in several countries, a Holy Day of Obligation in the United States, the Philippines and Ireland)
o Christmas on Campus(University of Dayton)
o Day of the National Army of Spain (Spain)
o Festa da Conceicao da Praia, celebrating Yemanja, Queen of the Ocean (Salvador, Bahia)
o Mother’s Day (Panama)
* National Students’ Day (Bulgaria)