Browsing: February 11

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,…

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,…

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…

A Brief History On February 11, 1968, African-American garbage collection and sewer workers in Memphis, Tennessee went on strike, prompted by the horrible death of two garbage men crushed in the back of a garbage truck. Digging Deeper Digging deeper, we find a racially divided city during an era of civil rights protests, riots, laws being changed and important court decisions.  The status quo was under assault! The two garbage men crushed in the garbage-compacting truck had taken shelter there from the rain when the compactor was activated, the operator not knowing the men were back there.  Incredibly, city rules allowed garbage…