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On This Day in History: May 5

Cinco de Mayo is not Mexico’s independence day, that’s September 16. It isn’t even a federal holiday in Mexico and is only celebrated regionally in Puebla. Cinco de Mayo commemorates the victory of the Mexican army over French  forces at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862, under the leadership of Mexican General Ignacio Zaragoza SeguĂ­n. In 1861, Benito Juarez stopped making interest payments on money it owed and was attacked by France. The battle really only slowed the French down and they continued to march towards Mexico City. One year later, Mexico was occupied by France and installed Maximilion I as Emperor. 5 years after the battle of Puebla, Juarez overthrew Maximilion and executed him.

The reasons that this battle is significant is first 4,000 Mexican soldiers, who were greatly outnumbered defeated the well-equipped French army of 8,000 that had not been defeated for almost 50 years. Second, since the battle of Puebla, no country in the Americas has been invaded by an army from another continent.

It is a celebration of Mexican pride and heritage. Although mostly ignored by Mexico, Cinco de Mayo has been celebrated continuously in California since 1863. Other places outside the US and Mexico that celebrate are in Vancouver, Canada where there is a sky diving event. In the Cayman Islands there is an air guitar festival and in Malta, every one is encouraged to drink Mexican beer.

On This Day in History: May 4

On this day in 1970, At Kent State University, 100 National Guardsmen fire their rifles into a group of students, killing four and wounding 11. This incident occurred in the aftermath of President Richard Nixon’s April 30 announcement that U.S. and South Vietnamese forces had been ordered to execute an “incursion” into Cambodia to destroy North Vietnamese bases there. In protest, a wave of demonstrations and disturbances erupted on college campuses across the country.

There were no warnings when the Guardsmen opened fire. 60 rounds were fire into the crowd of demonstrators. After an investigation, all the charges were dropped against the National Guard in 1974.

New audio from the day of the shootings has been released on a website dubbed KentState1970.org. The site also features images of the historic day’s tragic events.

On This Day in History: May 3

On this day in 1919, Pete Seeger, folk singer, activist, environmentalist was born in NYC.

On July 26, 1956, the House of Representatives voted 373 to 9 to cite Pete Seeger and seven others (including playwright Arthur Miller) for contempt, as they failed to cooperate with House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) in their attempts to investigate alleged subversives and communists. Pete Seeger testified before the HUAC in 1955.

In one of Pete’s darkest moments, when his personal freedom, his career, and his safety were in jeopardy, a flash of inspiration ignited this song. The song was stirred by a passage from Mikhail Sholokhov’s novel “And Quie Flows the Don”. Around the world the song traveled and in 1962 at a UNICEF concert in Germany, Marlene Dietrich, Academy Award-nominated German-born American actress, first performed the song in French, as “Qui peut dire ou vont les fleurs?” Shortly after she sang it in German. The song’s impact in Germany just after WWII was shattering. It’s universal message, “let there be peace in the world” did not get lost in its translation. To the contrary, the combination of the language, the setting, and the great lyrics has had a profound effect on people all around the world. May it have the same effect today and bring renewed awareness to all that hear it.

Clearwater Festival 2010

Clearwater’s Great Hudson River Revival 2010

June 19 & 20

Croton Point Park

Croton-on-Hudson, NY

Open Thread: Dante’s Prayer

On This Day in History: May2

On this day in 1933, Loch Ness Monster sighted Although legend of a monster living in the Loch Ness had existed for over 1500 years, the earliest account from 500 A.D., it was a news report in the Inverness Courier that sparked the modern day legend. The Loch is the largest body of fresh water in Great Britain that has a depth of 800 ft and is 23 miles long. In 1933, a new road had been built around the lake with great views. The story of a couple who had observed “an enormous animal rolling and plunging on the surface”, that was fueled by the Courier using the word “monster” and a reward of 20,000 pound sterling, sparked a media darling. In 1934, a photograph of a creature with a long neck surfaced, again, increasing speculation that this creature was a survivor of long extinct aquatic plesiosaurs. The photo was revealed to be a hoax in 1994.

Since then there have been both amateur and professional sightings and studies. The have been inconclusive yet tantalizing reports of large unidentifiable objects moving on the bottom of the lake. Using sonar and photography in 19, the Boston’s Academy of Applied Science produced a photo that ‘appeared to show the giant flipper of a plesiosaur-like creature”.  

This Week in Health and Fitness

Welcome to this week’s Health and Fitness. This is an Open Thread.

UN: Stop rape now

Charlize Theron: She could be your mother, your sister, your daughter.

Maj. Gen. Patrick Cammaert: It is perhaps more dangerous to be a woman than a soldier in armed conflict.

Nicole Kidman: Those responsible for sexual violence must be held accountable.

Leymah Gbowee: Wars and being fought on the bodies of women and children.

Dr. Denis Mukwege: Sexual violence is the monstrosity of our century

Theron: Go to stoprapenow.org to learn more and to take action

Learn More go to Stop Rape Now.org

As is now custom, I’ll try to include the more interesting and pertinent articles that will help the community awareness of their health and bodies. This essay will not be posted anywhere else due to constraints on my time. Please feel free to make suggestions for improvement and ask questions, I’ll answer as best I can.  

On This Day in History: May1

Today in history, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro debuted in Vienna, Austria.

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On This Day in History: May1

Today in history, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro debuted in Vienna, Austria.

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On This Day in History: May1

Today in history, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro debuted in Vienna, Austria.

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On This Day in History: April 30

1803 – Louisiana Purchase: The United States purchases the Louisiana Territory from France for $15 million, more than doubling the size of the young nation. With this acquisition President Thomas Jefferson secured the Port of New Orleans, free access to the Mississippi River and opened expansion of US territory westward to the Rocky Mountains.

Originally the purchase was for the port of new Orleans, portions of the east bank of the Mississippi, and free navigation of the river for U.S. commerce but at the last minute, on April 11, the French Minister Talleyrand was ordered by Napoleon to offer the entire territory to US Minster, Robert Livingston. This was mostly due to France’s difficulties in the Caribbean. Napoleons’ inability to secure Santo Domingo made the granaries of Louisiana useless without the the sugar. Considering his other difficulties with Spain and the temperament of the Americans, Napoleon threw in the entire territory for less than 5 cents an acre.

1812 – The Territory of Orleans becomes the 18th U.S. state under the name Louisiana.

Open Thread: As Long As I’m Laughing With You

On This Day in History: April 29

On this day in 1945, Dachau was liberated by American troops of the U.S. Seventh Army’s 45th Infantry Division, headed by Gen, George Patton, and subdivision of the camp by the 42nd Rainbow Division. There were 123 sub-camps and factories in the vicinity of the town.

Dachau was the first concentration camp opened by the Nazi regime in 1933 on the grounds of an abandoned munitions factory less than 10 miles northeast of Munich. The camp was established 5 weeks after Adolf Hitler took power as chancellor and was used to house political prisoners, In 1938, the camp was primarily occupied by Jews. The camp served as a training center for the SS guards at other camps, medical experiments and forced labor.

Thousands of inmates died or were executed at Dachau, and thousands more were transferred to a Nazi extermination center near Linz, Austria, when they became too sick or weak to work. In 1944, to increase war production, the main camp was supplemented by dozens of satellite camps established near armaments factories in southern Germany and Austria. These camps were administered by the main camp and collectively called Dachau.

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As they neared the camp, the Americans found more than 30 railroad cars filled with bodies in various states of decomposition. Inside the camp there were more bodies and 30,000 survivors, most severely emaciated. Some of the American troops who liberated Dachau were so appalled by conditions at the camp that they machine-gunned at least two groups of captured German guards. It is officially reported that 30 SS guards were killed in this fashion, but conspiracy theorists have alleged that more than 10 times that number were executed by the American liberators. The German citizens of the town of Dachau were later forced to bury the 9,000 dead inmates found at the camp.

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