On This Date In 1765 The Stamp Act of 1765 was passed by the British Parliament and imposed on the colonies of British America. The act required that many printed materials in the colonies carry a tax stamp. The purpose of the tax was to help pay for troops stationed in North America following the British victory in the Seven Years' War. The British government felt that the colonies were the primary beneficiaries of this military presence, and should pay at least a portion of the expense. The Stamp Act met with great resistance in the colonies. It was seen as a violation of the right of Englishmen to be taxed only with their consent—consent which could only be granted through their colonial legislatures.
On This Date In 1782 The Battle of Sadras was fought, the first of five largely indecisive naval battles between a British fleet under Admiral Sir Edward Hughes and French fleet under the Bailli de Suffren off the east coast of India during the American War of Independence. The battle, near present-day Kalpakkam, was indecisive, but the British fleet suffered the most damage, and the troop transports that Suffren was protecting were able to land their troops at Porto Novo.
On This Date In 1801 After one tie vote in the Electoral College and 35 indecisive ballot votes in the United States House of Representatives, Vice President Thomas Jefferson was elected the third president of the United States over his running mate, Aaron Burr. Jefferson's triumph brought an end to one of the most acrimonious presidential campaigns in U.S. history and resolved a serious Constitutional crisis. The confusing election, which ended just 15 days before a new president was to be inaugurated, exposed major problems in the presidential electoral process set forth by the framers of the U.S. Constitution. http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/today/feb17.html
On This Date In 1819 The Missouri Compromise was an agreement passed in 1820 between the pro-slavery and anti-slavery factions in the United States Congress, involving primarily the regulation of slavery in the western territories. It prohibited slavery in the former Louisiana Territory north of the parallel 36°30′ north except within the boundaries of the proposed state of Missouri. Prior to the agreement, the House of Representatives had refused to accept this compromise, and a conference committee was appointed. The bill passed on February 17, 1819 by the House of Representatives, but was defeated by the Senate. Both houses of Congress would come together in agreement after amendments and a year later, and the measures were passed on March 5, 1820, and ratified by President James Monroe on March 6.
On This Date In 1865 Columbia, South Carolina, surrendered to Union General William Tecumseh Sherman, and Wade Hampton's Confederate cavalry retreated from the city. Union forces were overwhelmed by throngs of liberated Federal prisoners and emancipated African Americans. Many soldiers took advantage of ample supplies of liquor in the city and began to drink. Fires began in the city, and high winds spread the flames across a wide area. Most of the central city was destroyed, and municipal fire companies found it difficult to operate in conjunction with the invading army, many of whom were also fighting the fire. The burning of Columbia has engendered controversy ever since, with some claiming the fires were accidental, a deliberate act of vengeance, or perhaps set by retreating Confederate soldiers who lit cotton bales while leaving town. On that same day, the Confederates evacuated Charleston.
On This Date In 1904 The original version of the opera “Madame Butterfly,” in two acts, by Giacomo Puccini, with an Italian libretto by Luigi Illica and Giuseppe Giacosa, had its premiere at La Scala in Milan, Italy.
On This Date In 1915 During World War I, Count Platen-Hallermund, captain of the German zeppelin L-4, and a crew of 14 men had completed a routine scouting mission off the Norwegian coast in search of Allied merchant vessels and were returning to their base in Hamburg, Germany. After encountering a severe snowstorm that evening, the L-4 crash-landed in the North Sea near the Danish coastal town of Varde. The Danish coast guard rescued 11 members of the crew who had abandoned ship and jumped into the sea prior to the crash; they were brought to Odense as prisoners to be interrogated. Four members of the crew were believed drowned and their bodies were never recovered.
On This Date In 1939 “Gunga Din,” an RKO adventure film directed by George Stevens, loosely based on the poem of the same name by Rudyard Kipling, combined with elements of his novel Soldiers Three, was released. The film is about three British sergeants and Gunga Din, their native water bearer, who fight the Thuggee, a cult of murderous Indians in colonial British India. The film stars Cary Grant, Victor McLaglen, Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., Joan Fontaine, Eduardo Ciannelli, and, in the title role, Sam Jaffe. The epic film was written by Joel Sayre and Fred Guiol from a storyline by Ben Hecht and Charles MacArthur.
On This Date In 1944 The Battle of Eniwetok was a battle of the Pacific campaign of World War II, fought between February 17 - 23, 1944, on Eniwetok Atoll in the Marshall Islands, under Operation Catchpole, part of the U.S. Central Pacific Campaign. The invasion of Eniwetok followed the American success in the battle of Kwajalein to the southeast. Capture of Eniwetok would provide an airfield and harbor to support attacks on the Mariana Islands to the northwest.
On This Date In 1947 With the words, “Hello! This is New York calling,” the U.S. Voice of America (VOA) began its first radio broadcasts to the Soviet Union. The VOA effort was an important part of America's propaganda campaign against the Soviet Union during the Cold War.
On This Date In 1963 Michael Jeffrey Jordan, now retired American professional basketball player and active businessman, was born. His biography on the National Basketball Association (NBA) website states, “By acclamation, Michael Jordan is the greatest basketball player of all time.” Jordan was one of the most effectively marketed athletes of his generation and was instrumental in popularizing the NBA around the world in the 1980s and 1990s.
On This Date In 1966 In testimony on President Lyndon B. Johnson's Operation Rolling Thunder campaign during the Vietnam War before the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee, General Maxwell Taylor stated that a major U.S. objective in Vietnam was to demonstrate that “wars of liberation” are “costly, dangerous and doomed to failure.” Discussing the American air campaign against North Vietnam, Taylor declared that its primary purpose was “to change the will of the enemy leadership.” Operation Rolling Thunder was closely controlled by the White House and at times targets were personally selected by President Johnson. From 1965 to 1968, an estimated 643,000 tons of bombs were dropped on North Vietnam. A total of nearly 900 U.S. aircraft would be lost during Operation Rolling Thunder.
On This Date In 1966 While the rest of the Beach Boys band toured during their mid-60s heyday, member Brian Wilson lost himself in the recording studio, creating the music for an album, Pet Sounds, that is widely regarded as one of the all-time best, and a single, “Good Vibrations,” on which he lavished more time, attention and money than had ever been spent previously on a single recording. Brian Wilson rolled tape on take one of Good Vibrations on February 17, 1966. Six months, four studios and $50,000 later, he finally completed his three-minute-and-thirty-nine-second symphony, pieced together from more than 90 hours of tape recorded during literally hundreds of sessions.
On This Date In 1968 During the Vietnam War, American officials in Saigon reported an all-time high weekly rate of U.S. Casualties: 543 killed in action and 2,547 wounded in the previous seven days. These losses were a result of the heavy fighting during the communist Tet Offensive.
On This Date In 1972 The 15,007,034th Volkswagen Beetle came off the assembly line, breaking a world car production record held for more than four decades by the Ford Motor Company's iconic Model T, which was in production from 1908 and 1927.
On This Date In 1975 “High Voltage,” the debut studio album by Australian hard rock band AC/DC, was released. Six of the album's eight songs were written by Angus Young, Malcolm Young, and Bon Scott. “Soul Stripper” was written by Young & Young, and “Baby, Please Don't Go” is a cover version of a Big Joe Williams song. The album was produced by Vanda & Young at the Albert Studios in Sydney. George, the older brother of Angus and Malcolm, also played bass guitar for AC/DC.
On This Date In 1976 “Their Greatest Hits (1971–1975),” a compilation album by the American rock band the Eagles, was released. As of November 2009, 29 million copies have been shipped in the domestic market, making it tied with Michael Jackson's Thriller as the best-selling album in the United States. With an additional 13 million internationally, for a total of 42 million, it is one of the top-selling albums in music history.
On This Date In 1979 The Sino–Vietnamese War, also referred to as the Third Indochina War, was a brief but bloody border war fought between the People's Republic of China and the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, from February 17, 1979, to March 16, 1979. The Chinese launched the offensive in response to Vietnam's 1978 invasion and occupation of Cambodia, which ended the reign of the PRC-backed Khmer Rouge.
On This Date In 1982 Lee Strasberg (November 17, 1901 – February 17, 1982), American actor, director and acting teacher, died from a heart attack in New York City, aged 80. He co-founded, with directors Harold Clurman and Cheryl Crawford, the Group Theatre in 1931, which was hailed as “America's first true theatrical collective.” With him at his death at the hospital were his wife, Anna, and their two sons. He was interred at Westchester Hills Cemetery in Hastings-on-Hudson, New York. A day before his unexpected death, he was officially notified that he had been elected to the American Theatre Hall of Fame. His last public appearance was on February 14, 1982 at Night of 100 Stars in the Radio City Music Hall, a benefit for the Actors Fund. Along with Al Pacino and Robert De Niro, he danced in the chorus line with the Rockettes.
On This Date In 1983 “Local Hero,” a Scottish comedy-drama film written and directed by Bill Forsyth and starring Peter Riegert and Burt Lancaster, was released. Produced by David Puttnam, the film is about an American oil company representative who is sent to the fictional village of Ferness on the west coast of Scotland to purchase the town and surrounding property for his company. For his work on the film, Bill Forsyth won the 1984 BAFTA Award for Best Direction. http://movies.nytimes.com/movie/review?res=9D05E6D9153BF934A25751C0...
On This Date In 1989 “Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure,” a classic American comedy/science fiction movie written by Chris Matheson and Ed Solomon and directed by Stephen Herek, was released. It stars Alex Winter as Bill S. Preston, Esquire, Keanu Reeves as Ted “Theodore” Logan, and George Carlin as Rufus. Bill & Ted was a financial success, grossing $40.4 million domestically on a budget of about $10 million.
On This Date In 1993 Approximately 900 people drowned when a passenger ferry, the Neptune, overturned near Port-au-Prince, Haiti. The ferry was dangerously overloaded, and carried no lifeboats or emergency gear.
On This Date In 1994 “Cheshire Cat,” the debut studio album by the American pop punk band Blink-182, was released. Recorded at Westbeach Recorders in Los Angeles and produced by O (Otis Barthoulameu) and the band themselves, the album was released through local independent record label Cargo Music. “M+M's” and “Wasting Time” were released as singles to promote the album, and received popularity locally through radio play.
On This Date In 1996 In the final game of a six-game match, world chess champion Garry Kasparov triumphed over Deep Blue, IBM’s chess-playing computer, and won the match, 4-2. However, Deep Blue went on to defeat Kasparov in a heavily publicized rematch the following year.
On This Date In 1998 “Destiny's Child,” the self-titled debut album of R&B group Destiny's Child, was released by Columbia Records. It features the singles “No, No, No” and “With Me” and won Best R&B/Soul Album of the Year at the Soul Train Lady of Soul Awards, but due to both singles having a remix (“Part 2”) as well as having an original version (“Part 1”), all singles preceded the album.
On This Date In 2003 The E2 nightclub stampede occurred at the E2 nightclub located above the Epitome Chicago restaurant in Chicago, Illinois, in which 21 people died and more than 50 were injured when panic ensued from the use of pepper spray by security guards to break up a fight. The club's owners, Dwain Kyles and Calvin Hollins, were later convicted of criminal contempt for their persistent failure to keep the facility up to code, and sentenced to two years in prison.
On This Date In 2004 “G3: Rockin' in the Free World,” a double live album by the G3 project that was recorded at The Uptown Theater in Kansas City, Missouri on October 21, 2003, was released. The album features the touring lineup of project leader Joe Satriani, frequent member Steve Vai, and guest guitarist Yngwie Malmsteen. A DVD of the same tour but with a different track list was released as G3: Live in Denver.
On This Date In 2006 A massive rock slide-debris avalanche occurred in the Philippine province of Southern Leyte that caused widespread damage and l*** of life. The deadly landslide followed a ten-day period of heavy rains and a minor earthquake of magnitude 2.6 on the Richter scale. The official death toll stands at 1,126.
On This Date In 2008 The 2008 Kosovo declaration of independence was declared. An act of the Provisional Institutions of Self-Government Assembly of Kosovo, and adopted by unanimous quorum (109 members present), it declared Kosovo to be independent from Serbia. It was the second declaration of independence by Kosovo's Albanian-majority political institutions, the first having been proclaimed on September 7, 1990. The legality of the declaration, and indeed whether it was an act of the Assembly, was disputed. Serbia sought international validation and support for its stance that the declaration was illegal, and in October 2008 Serbia requested an advisory opinion on the matter from the International Court of Justice. The Court determined that the declaration of independence was not in violation of international law.
On This Date In 2009 The U.S. Senate Ethics Committee opened a preliminary inquiry into Sen. Roland Burris’s (D-Ill.) conflicting testimony on the circumstances surrounding his appointment by ex-Governor of Illinois Rod Blagojevich, three weeks after the governor was arrested on federal corruption charges that included allegedly trying to sell the U.S. Senate seat held previously by President Barack Obama. http://archive.chicagobreakingnews.com/2009/02/burris-im-open-to-se... , http://newsblogs.chicagotribune.com/clout_st/2009/02/senate-majorit...
On This Date In 2011 A group of Wisconsin Democrat lawmakers blocked passage of a sweeping anti-union bill, by refusing to show up for a vote on the Budget Repair Bill, and then abruptly leaving the state, thereby preventing a quorum for adopting the legislation. http://www.npr.org/2011/02/17/133847336/wis-democratic-lawmakers-fl...
Hat tip to any included contributing sources, along with:
Happy Birthday Patricia Routledge (1929), Barry Humphries (1934), Buddy Ryan (1934), Mary Ann Mobley (1939), Vicente Fernandez (1940), Prunella Gee (1950), Randy Forbes (1952), Rene Russo (1954), Lou Diamond Phillips (1962), Michael Jordan (1963), Michael Bay (1965), Chante Moore (1967), Dominic Purcell (1970), Denise Richards (1971), Kelly Carlson (1976), Jason Ritter (1980), Paris Hilton (1981), Joseph Gordon-Levitt (1981), and Bonnie Wright (1991).
RIP Frederick Douglass (1818 – 1895), Thomas J. Watson (1874 – 1956), Isabelle Eberhardt (1877 – 1904), Ruth Clifford (1900 – 1998), Sir Alan Bates (1934 – 2003), and Gene Pitney (1941 – 2006).
God gave us the gift of life; it is up to us to give ourselves the gift of living well. Voltaire
Life is thickly sown with thorns, and I know no other remedy than to pass quickly through them. The longer we dwell on our misfortunes, the greater is their power to harm us. Voltaire
It is dangerous to be right when the government is wrong. Voltaire
All the citizens of a state cannot be equally powerful, but they may be equally free. Voltaire
I will not serve that in which I no longer believe whether it call itself my home, my fatherland or my church: and I will try to express myself in some mode of life or art as freely as I can and as wholly as I can, using for my defence the only arms I allow myself to use, silence, exile, and cunning.
James Joyce, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man.
Courtesy YouTube et al
The crew from the International Space Station captured eastern seaboard of the United States at night on January 29th, 2012
Aretha Franklin, Stevie Wonder to sing at Houston's funeral; Don Cornelius honored by hundreds at memorial service; 'Spider-Man' producers and Julie Taymor's union reach deal. (Feb. 17)
The 2nd Assault Battalion, 2nd Aviation Regiment, 2nd Combat Aviation Brigade, also known as the "Wildcards," stationed at Seoul Air Base train and qualify in the use of the air volcano mine system. The system serves a critical role in deterrence against North Korean advances by enabling United States Forces Korea the capability to lay down a large amount of land mines efficiently
Nobody makes me do anything I don't want to do. It's my decision. So the biggest devil is me. I'm either my best friend or my worst enemy. And that's how I have to deal with it.
Load up your mind with pictures capturing your preferred tomorrow. Put the remembrances of the past in a place where they won't block your view.