Browsing: February 11

A Brief History On February 11, 2006, the sitting Vice President of the United States, Dick Cheney, accidentally shot his hunting buddy, Harry Whittington, while on a managed Quail hunt.  Although the birdshot loaded in Cheney’s shotgun is not particularly lethal to humans except at extremely close range, Whittington was grievously wounded when one of the tiny lead pellets went all the way to his heart, nearly killing him.  This shocking incident is but one of many accidental shootings that have happened over the years, sometimes embarrassing and sometimes deadly.  Today we look at a few of the accidental shootings…

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A Brief History On February 11, 1823, a tragedy occurred at the Carnival celebration mass at the Convent of the Minori Osservanti in Valletta, in what was then the British Crown Colony of Malta.  Also referred to as the Carnival Tragedy of 1823, 110 boys were crushed to death in a rush to leave the church after celebrating a Carnival related bread ceremony.  Previously we have discussed disasters and tragedies related to religious events or gatherings, and today we take a look back on the sad events on Malta in 1823. Digging Deeper The Island of Malta is an independent…

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A Brief History On February 11, 1812, Elbridge Gerry, the Governor of Massachusetts, was accused of manipulating voting districts in a bizarre, uneven way in order to tailor voting demographics to suit his own political benefit. The resultant agonizingly ridiculously shaped voting districts resembled a dragon or salamander, giving rise to the term we know of today as “gerrymandering” when drawing voting districts. On March 26, 1812, the term “gerrymander” first made it to print in the Boston Globe. Digging Deeper The efforts of Governor Gerry were somewhat successful, and a new form of political chicanery was born. Ever since,…

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A Brief History On February 11, 1939, a prototype Lockheed P-38 Lighting twin engine fighter plane flew from California to New York in a then record 7 hours and 2 minutes.  This new US fighter plane was the fastest fighter in the world at this time, the first fighter to exceed 400 mph in level flight.  So what was wrong with it? Digging Deeper Normally our articles about military aircraft extol the virtues of the subject plane, but here we digress to look at the shortcomings and criticisms of this venerable aircraft, one of the creations of Clarence “Kelly” Johnson,…

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A Brief History On February 11, 2013, the sitting Pope of the Catholic Church, Benedict XVI, announced his resignation from the papacy.  As no pope had voluntarily resigned in about 500 years, this news shocked the entire world, not just the Catholic world. Digging Deeper Born Joseph Ratzinger in Bavaria, he first became a priest, then an archbishop, then a cardinal before ascending to the papacy in 2005 when he succeeded Pope John Paul II.  At one point fairly liberal, Benedict became much more conservative starting in 1968.  At his resignation at age 86, he claimed old age and infirmity (“lack of strength of mind and body”). As…

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