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Month: January 2007

Members of the First Continental Congress

You know several members of the First Continental Congress from school – John Adams, John Jay, Patrick Henry, and George Washington. If you drink beer, you know another member – Samuel Adams. But there were more, 50 more.

The idea of a meeting such as this was floated a year earlier by Renaissance man Benjamin Franklin, but it took the closing of Boston Harbor by the British and the following Boston Tea Party 1To protest the The Stamp Act of 1765 and the Townshend Acts of 1767, a secret group calling themselves the Sons of Liberty, organized by future Congress member Samuel Adams, quietly boarded 3 ships (The Dartmouth, the Elenor and the Beaver) on December 16, 1773 and threw most of the contents of each ship into the harbor. It totaled around £10,000 worth of merchandise. to get the ball really rolling. The First Continental Congress met in Philadelphia’s Carpenters Hall on September 5, 1774. Of the 12 colonies, only 12 sent delegates, as Georgia was beset by problems with Indians and needed help from the British military to put down the problems.

So…you know those few men that you had to know for school, but what about the other ones? Here they are from the First Continental Congress –

From the Province of New Hampshire
Nathaniel Folsom

From the Province of Massachusetts Bay
John Adams
Samuel Adams
Thomas Cushing
Robert Treat Paine

From the Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations
Stephen Hopkins
Samuel Ward

From the Connecticut Colony
Silas Deane
Eliphalet Dyer
Roger Sherman

From the Province of New York
John Alsop
James Duane
John Jay
Philip Livingston
Isaac Low
County of Kings
Simon Boerum
County of Orange
John Haring
Henry Wisner
County of Suffolk
William Floyd

From the Province of New Jersey
Stephen Crane
John De Hart
James Kinsey
William Livingston
Richard Smith

From the Province of Pennsylvania
Edward Biddle
John Dickinson
Joseph Galloway
Charles Humphreys
Thomas Mifflin
John Morton
Samuel Rhoads
George Ross

From New Castle, Kent, and Sussex, on Delaware
Thomas McKean
George Read
Caesar Rodney

From Maryland
Samuel Chase
Robert Goldsborough
Thomas Johnson
William Paca
Matthew Tilghman

From the Colony and Dominion of Virginia
Richard Bland
Benjamin Harrison V
Patrick Henry
Richard Henry Lee
Edmund Pendleton
Peyton Randolph
George Washington

From the Province of North Carolina
Richard Caswell
Joseph Hewes
William Hooper

From the Province of South Carolina
Christopher Gadsden
Thomas Lynch, Jr.
Henry Middleton
Edward Rutledge
John Rutledge

Possibly next – the members of the Second Continental Congress. 2The list of these men can pretty much be found anywhere, but for little tidbits about this piece I got a few facts from

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The Goldbergs – The First Sitcom

“The Goldbergs” was a live radio program that was eventually translated for television and became the first sitcom broadcast on American television in 1949.

It followed the lives of the Molly and Jake Goldberg and their family as they made their way through their everyday lives in Brookylyn, NY. Gertrude Berg, the writer-producer behind the show, portrayed Molly and Philip Loeb portrayed her husband Jake. Also on the show were Roslyn Silber and Alfred Ryder Molly and Jake’s children Rosalie and Sammy.

During the first season on CBS, the show was the third most popular program on the air. It was such a popular show that performers from other fields desired to be on the show, like Jan Peerce of the Metropolitan Opera.

It went on to be the 3rd highest rated show for CBS during that time. It eventually went from CBS to NBC to a now none-existent network known as the Dumont network where it ended its run in 1955. 1Parts of this piece came from information from the Internet Movie Database, Wikipedia and the always entertaining TV Party site.

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Female Presidential Candidates

This post is old. Like, really old. Because we’ve had several other female presidential candidates since I originally wrote this in 2007. Hillary Clinton, Jill Stein, Carly Fiorina, Elizabeth Warren, Amy Klobuchar, Tulsi Gabbard, Kamala Harris, Kirsten Gillibrand, and many more will come in the future. Good luck, ladies! One of you will eventually be Commander in Chief.

Original post –

They’ve tried, and failed, to run for the highest office in the land. I’m not talking about the Libertarian Party, even though that description fits them, too. I’m talking about the ladies.

Many women have made a run for the presidency. Who were they?

Victoria Woodhull, 1872: The first woman to run for president, Woodhull was an Equal Rights Party candidate. Ulysses S. Grant won the 1872 election as a Republican.

Belva Ann Lockwood, 1884 and 1888: Lockwood, who also ran on the Equal Rights Party ticket, eventually became the first woman lawyer to practice before the Supreme Court. In 1884, Democrat Grover Cleveland was elected president; in 1888, Cleveland lost to Republican Benjamin Harrison.

Margaret Chase Smith, 1964: Smith, a Maine Republican, was the first woman to run on a major party ticket, entering primaries in New Hampshire, Illinois, Massachusetts, Texas and Oregon, among others. She withdrew after the first round of voting at the Republican National Convention. Sen. Barry Goldwater won the Republican nomination and lost in a landslide to the incumbent, Lyndon B. Johnson.

Shirley Chisholm, 1972: The first black woman to run for president, Chisholm ran as a Democrat and received more than 150 votes at the Democratic National Convention. She was also the first black woman to serve in Congress; New York sent her to the House of Representatives in 1968. George McGovern won the Democratic nomination that year and lost to the incumbent, Richard M. Nixon.

Patsy Mink, 1972: A congresswoman from Hawaii, Mink ran in the Oregon Democratic primary as an anti-war candidate.

Pat Schroeder, 1988: Schroeder’s headline-grabbing campaign never got off the ground after the Democratic congresswoman from Colorado could not raise enough money. The party’s nomination went to Michael Dukakis and the election to Republican George H.W. Bush. Schroeder was first elected to the House in 1972, where she served for 24 years.

Elizabeth Dole, 2000: Dole announced her presidential bid in January 1999 and dropped out of the race nine months later. Republicans eventually nominated George W. Bush, who defeated Democrat Al Gore for the presidency. Dole’s husband, former Sen. Bob Dole, R-Kan., was the Republican presidential nominee in 1996, when he lost to Bill Clinton. Mrs. Dole is now North Carolina’s senior senator, elected in 2002.

And last, but certainly not least-

Carol Moseley Braun, 2004: The first black woman to serve in the Senate, Braun was one of 10 candidates to seek the Democratic presidential nomination in the last presidential election. Primary voters eventually tapped Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., as the nominee. He lost to George W. Bush. 1This list, naturally, came from that invaluable fount of knowledge, Wikipedia.

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England’s First Air Raid Casualties

The first English casualties to be suffered in an air raid didn’t come from Messerschmitts or any of Hitler’s Vengeance weapons during World War II, but from German blimps, or zeppelins, in 1915.

The tiny town of Great Yarmouth was bombarded by a 3 zeppelins of the German Navy near the beginning of World War I. The zeppelins, designated as L3, L4, and L6, left the northern German coast on the morning of January 19, 1915 for, what was cryptically called “a distant mission to the west”. If it can be believed, these missions were not to include bombing London, as Kaiser Wilhelm had decreed –

“Targets not to be attacked in London but rather docks and military establishments in the Lower Thames and on the English coast.”

The first mission was to encompass bombings in the areas of the Thames estuary, the mouths of the Humber and Tyne, and the East Anglian ports of Harwich, Lowestoft and Yarmouth.

Fregattenkapitan Peter Strasser, the leader of the mission, lifted off from the German coast aboard his zeppelin, the L6, at 9:30 that morning, but his participation in the raid was to be short-lived, as his zeppelin developed engine trouble off the Dutch coast and was forced to return to Germany. Despite the loss of their captain, the remaining 2 zeppelins, commanded by Kapitanleutnant Hans Fritz on L3, and L4, skippered by Kapitanleutnant Magnus von Platen-Hallermund, floated on to England.

Problems began to arise for the remaining 2 zeppelins were blown off course and they made separate landfalls over the coast of Norfolk. Without radio contact between the 2 zeppelins and with the weather being bad, neither knew where the other was. Locals, on the other hand, began reporting sightings of various aircraft to authorities.

Finally, at 8:20 pm, L3 sighted Yarmouth and began its bombing run over the town, traveling from north to south. During the next 10 minutes L3 is thought to have dropped eight bombs, three of which failed to detonate, and two incendiary devices, causing an estimated damage and killing or wounding a handful of innocent bystanders.

Because of the bewilderment of the locals on the ground, the zeppelins encountered almost no resistance, with reports of only one sentry firing on L3 as it flew overhead.

As for the bombing raids, they achieved little in military terms. The damage was almost all done to private property, but psychologically the damage was huge. No longer were the British Isles immune to attack, with their powerful navy. Now the enemy could bypass that obstacle entirely by just flying over it. This attack, while small, was primarily a trial run for larger attacks that would come later on London, which began on May 31 of that same year. Several hundred people were killed in subsequent raids that eventually declined as the British developed incendiary ammunition which helped to bring down the zeppelins and once again regain control of English airspace. 1Almost all of the information for this piece came from an excellent write-up on Norfolk Roots 24. Other details came from The Worldwide School site.

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The German U-Boat U-166, under the command of Hans-Günther Kuhlmann, set sail from Lorient, France on June 17, 1942, for the Gulf of Mexico as part of Operation Drumbeat 1Admiral Karl Dönitz initiated this submarine operation, which was to target all United States shipping on the Atlantic seaboard from Maine to the Gulf of Mexico. It included 5 long-range submarines and, all told, cost the U.S. 397 ships and roughly 5000 lives.. Now that Hitler had declared war on the U.S., their mission was to harass U.S. shipping, of oil and military supplies, in the Gulf.

After being under way for roughly a month, Kuhlmann and his crew scored their first kill when the intercepted the Dominican schooner Carmen off the coast of the Dominican Republic on July 11. Not wanting to waste his valuable (and finite) supply of torpedoes, he surfaced and destroyed the schooner with the sub’s deck mounted guns. Two days later he struck gold again, this time with the U.S. steam freighter Oneida, off the eastern tip of Cuba. From there he and his crew continued westerly along the Cuban coast.

He encountered the fishing vessel Gertrude on the evening of July 16 about 30 miles northeast of Havana. The trawler was too small to use a torpedo on, so he surfaced, commanding the crew into life boats before he destroyed it with the sub’s deck guns once again.

For the next 2 weeks Kuhlmann’s crew sailed northward into the Gulf of Mexico hunting for prey but finding none until he found the mouth of the Mississippi River, an excellent location to sit and wait for tankers steaming eastward. Patience paid off, when on the afternoon of July 30 he encountered the passenger steamer Robert E. Lee.

The Robert E. Lee had been pressed into service by the Navy, running cargo here, passengers there. On July 30 she was carrying passengers from Port-of-Spain, Trinidad, some of which were survivors of other attacks instigated by other German U-Boats. With the heat of summer pressing down upon the overcrowded Robert E. Lee, the captain was trying to find a safe harbor for his passengers. After trying and being unable to dock in Tampa, Florida, he headed for New Orleans, along with his U.S. Navy escort, the U.S. submarine chaser PC-566, where they met up with U-166.

After picking up radio transmissions coming from the PC-566, U-166 homed in on the location of the 2 boats. Firing a single torpedo into the freighter’s port side, the Robert E. Lee went down, taking 25 lives with it.

Once the Robert E. Lee began sinking, PC-566 jumped into the fight, dropping depth 10 charges over the fleeing U-166. After the dropping of the charges, an oil slick was seen rising from the water, but since the other usual evidence that a sub was sunk (a rush of air to the surface) it was assumed that the sub had escaped. In reality the U-166 had been sunk by PC-566.

In 2001 the wreckage of both the Robert E. Lee and U-166 were found by C&C Technologies while the firm was surveying a proposed pipeline route for BP Exploration and Shell international. The 2 ships rest over 5000 feet down on the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico. 2Large portions of this piece were researched from The Past Foundation and Wikipedia.

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Lakeview, Oregon Bombed by the Japanese

On May 5, 1945 while out picnicking in the small town of Lakeview, Oregon, a minister, Reverend Archi Mitchell, his wife Elsie and five local children found a deflated balloon made from mulberry tree pulp in the woods near the town. The were about to investigate what it was when another minister ran up yelling for the others not to touch the object. He was too late and the bomb exploded. Killed in the attack were Sherman Shoemaker, 12; Jay Gifford, 12; Edward Engen, 13; Joan Patzke, 11; Richard Patzke, 13; and Mrs. Mitchell, 26.

The balloon had been made by conscripted Japanese schoolgirls to carry a bomb across the Pacific jet stream from the town of Kokura and hopefully land in the United States. A Japanese officer urged the girls on, saying

“You will be defeating America with these arms. Work to your utmost. Achieve your goals!”

The balloon that landed near Lakeview was one of 9300 others launched into the westerly winds during the war. Others landed as far east as Ontario and Michigan, but the balloon that exploded on May 5 killing the woman and the children caused the only wartime deaths due to enemy action in any of the 48 states. 1The original idea for this piece came from Stanley Weintraub’s excellent book, The Last Great Victory.

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James Earl Jones and the Lauderhill, Florida MLK Day Celebration, 2002

In 2002 James Earl Jones was invited by the town of Lauderhill, Florida to be their featured speaker at their annual Martin Luther King Day celebration. As appreciation they wanted to provide their guest with some sort of gift, so they turned to a local promotions company. The promotions company came up with a plaque that included an inscription thanking Jones for his participation surrounded by several postage stamps depicting prominent African-Americans, headed by one of MLK himself. They sent the idea off to a company in Georgetown, TX for production of the plaque.

Four days before the MLK celebration the city received the plaque, but instead of Jones’ name, the plaque read :

“Thank you James Earl Ray for keeping the dream alive. City of Lauderhill, January 19, 2002.”

Ray, of course, was the man who plead guilty to assassinating MLK at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis in 1968.

Snopes 1The link for the Snopes article is here. has some stuff about it, a little more about the reaction of the company, Merit Industries, that created the plaque –

AdPro hastily checked to ensure that the blunder hadn’t been the result of a mistake on their part:

Gerald Wilcox said he knew the error didn’t come from his company, but he sent a company secretary scurrying through order forms — just to be sure.

“In all my communications with the vendor, I never used [the name James Earl Ray[/mfn]. I almost fell off my chair when I saw it,” said Norbert Williams, 68, a former middle school principal who is an AdPro account executive. The evidence pointed to Georgetown, Texas.

Even with his doubts, Wilcox said he was willing to call it an error but wanted Merit executives to tell him what happened. He said the first phone conversation broke down when a Merit employee became uncooperative and cut the call short. On a second try, Gerald Wilcox talked to the owner, Herbert Miller.

“I explained to him why this was so important. He said I was making a mountain out of a mole hill,” Wilcox said. “They had no sense of history. First I was stunned, then the anger kicked in.”

Miller, apparently lacking any diplomatic skills whatsoever, assuaged nobody’s feelings by blaming the error on some of his poorly-educated employees and terming the mix-up an innocent mistake that had been “blown out of proportion”:

He said some of the company’s workers are barely in their 20s, possess poor English language skills and have limited grasp of history. “[They[/mfn] don’t know who James Earl Ray is from James Earl Jones from the man in the moon,’’ he said. Miller said the worker responsible for engraving this plaque was handling another one about the same time bearing the name “Ray Johnson.” He said the “Ray” from that plaque ended up on the Lauderhill plaque, supplanting the word “Jones.”

He said the mistake slipped through quality control because it was a rush job. “It was a stupid, stupid error,” he said.

Mr. Jones, to his credit, brushed it off. From CNN 2The link for the CNN article is here.

James Earl Jones brushes off engraving mistake

LAUDERHILL, Florida (AP) — James Earl Jones brushed off a mistake by an engraver who erred while inscribing a plaque meant to honor the actor during a Martin Luther King Jr. tribute.

The plaque was engraved: “Thank you James Earl Ray for keeping the dream alive.” Ray was the man convicted of assassinating King in Memphis, Tenn., in 1968.

Jones said the company made a common mistake and he’s been introduced as James Earl Ray before.

“There’s no point in getting too sensitive about it,” Jones said Saturday at the ceremony.

Instead of the plaque, the city gave Jones a colorful Ashanti stool similar to ones traditionally used as a throne in the African tribe.

Merit Industries, the plaque’s maker, said the mistake happened when an employee was preparing the Jones plaque at about the same time as one for someone named Ray Johnson.


Charles Manson and the Beach Boys

Dennis Wilson, brother of Brian Wilson and drummer for the Beach Boys, was driving through Malibu in 1968 when he noticed a couple of girls hitchhiking on the side of the road. He picked up the girls, Ella Jo Bailey and Patricia Krenwinkel 1From Vincent Bugliosi’s Helter Skelter. and took them where they asked him. He saw them hitchhiking again later on and picked them up again, this time taking them to his home.

Dennis lived on Sunset Blvd in a house formerly occupied by Will Rogers, and he left Ella Jo and Patricia there while he went to a recording session. Upon returning home at 3 am, a man appeared at the back door of Dennis’ house.

Dennis, frightened, asked the man, “Are you going to hurt me?”

The man replied, “Do I look like I’m going to hurt you, brother?” and he dropped to his knees and kissed Dennis’ feet. He invited Dennis into his own house where about a dozen uninvited house guests, nearly all of them girls, were gathered.

The man was Charles Manson, and he and Dennis got along great. He and Manson would sing and talk about important things, while the girls cleaned house, cooked, and catered to their needs. Manson liked to write music, even though Dennis said he was not musically gifted, and Dennis introduced Manson around town to various people in the entertainment industry.

The Beach Boys eventually went on to record one of Manson’s songs, retitled from its original name “Cease To Exist” to become “Never Learn Not To Love” from the 1969 album 20/20. 2The rest of this piece was parsed together from the always excellent website.


The First Immortal

On January 12, 1967, in Glendale, CA, Dr. James Bedford, a 73-year old retired psychology professor and writer, was the first person to undergo cryonic suspension 1Cryonic suspension, most commonly, but incorrectly, called cryogenics, is the process where a subject is flash frozen to the boiling point of liquid nitrogen, or -320.5°F.. Bedford had been diagnosed with terminal renal cancer and had decided that he wished to be cryonically frozen in the hopes that he would later be able to be revived and cured of his ailment. At the time, Bedford paid out $4200 for a steel capsule and liquid nitrogen to keep his body frozen at about 328°F. He currently resides at Alcor Life Extension Foundation’s facility in Scottsdale, Arizona. 2Large portions of this story came from Time Magazine, Feb. 3, 1967.

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Hitler’s Nuclear Missile

When the Manhattan Engineering District, also known as the Manhattan Project, was first conceived in 1941 out of the fear that the Allies were in a race with Germany to create the world’s first atomic fission bomb. It went down in history that the efforts of the American team beat out the German team and, in an effort to end the war early without having to enact Operation Downfall 1Operation Downfall consisted of 2 planned invasions ; Operation Olympic, scheduled for November 1, 1945, was the planned invasion of Kyushu, and Operation Coronet, scheduled for March 1, 1946, would have put Allied forces on the Kanto plain near Tokyo., President Harry S. Truman authorized the dropping of two atomic bombs on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

By this point, of course, the Nazis had been defeated by the Allied forces in Europe, negating the need for the Allies to bomb Berlin, much else any German city. But that hadn’t stopped Nazi physicists from pondering how a nuclear device might be delivered to either New York or London. The diagram at right shows an idea for this.

While far away from the ideal nuclear bomb eventually delivered by the Manhattan Project, Nazi physicists believed that if they could construct a small low-level nuclear device and combine it with a rocket (probably a V-2) that the Axis powers could deliver their nuclear payload to London. Naturally a larger rocket would have to be constructed if this type of scenario were to befall New York, but the war ended before the possibility could even be envisioned. 2A large portion of info for this piece came from the BBC.

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