Benjamin Nathan Cardozo was born on the 24th in 1870. In time, he would become a well-respected jurist who had a law school named after him. The list of important decisions he would write is far too long to be included here. I have always thought that someone who achieved as much as a man like Cardozo did must have been incredibly gifted. Apparently, I was wrong. Cardozo’s own words explain his success. He said “[i]n truth, I am nothing but a plodding mediocrity—please observe, a plodding mediocrity—for a mere mediocrity does not go very far, but a plodding one gets quite a distance. There is joy in that success, and a distinction can come from courage, fidelity and industry.”
Our modern political apparatus seems to be a bit plodding at times. Personally, I yearn for simpler times when a person could see immediate results from their actions. There was a time when national political agendas were dealt with in very expeditious ways. Take for example the Second Defenestration of Prague, which took place at Prague Castle on the 23rd in 1618, when two Imperial Governors, Wilhelm Graf Slavata and Jaraslav Borzita Graf von Martinicz, and their scribe Philip Fabricius were simply tossed out of the Castle’s windows. The three tumbled 50 feet on to a large pile of horse poop. This act ushered in the Thirty Years War. Apparently, the people of Prague were getting lazy with the passage of time, because in the First Defenestration of Prague, on July 30, 1419, seven of the town’s council members were tossed out windows onto the raised spears of the assembled rabble. Messy? Generally speaking, quite messy. Effective? Perhaps. There can be no denying however the fact that these tactics produce plainly observable results in a timely manner. Nevertheless, upon quiet, sober reflection, I think that I am safe in saying, without fear of contradiction, that defenestration of political rivals probably is not a particularly good idea. Unless, of course, someone should double dare you to do it.
It should be apparent to even the most casual of observers that the world of politics can at times be just a tad contentious. I think, however, contemporary politicians have a long way to go before they surpass their predecessors. On the 22nd in 1856, Senator Preston Brooks (pictured), of South Carolina, beat Senator Charles Sumner of Massachusetts with a cane in a hallway of the United States Senate.
Brooks, from South Carolina, had become quite angry by a speech that Sumner had made that criticized the pro-slavery violence in Kansas during the Bloody Kansas period. It had been Brooks’ original plan to challenge Sumner to a duel but was talked out of that by a colleague who pointed out that the etiquette of dueling required the participants to be of the same social standing. Feeling that Sumner was on par with a common drunkard, Brooks quickly abandoned that option.
Charles Sumner was the senator from Massachusetts and the one of the states’ most ardent opponents of slavery.
As everyone should recognize, justice takes time. In the nation’s Supreme Court, it takes just a little bit longer. Alfred Moore was born on the 21st in 1755. He started out as a judge in North Carolina but in 1799 made the jump to the Supreme Court of the United States. In his five years on the bench, Moore wrote exactly one opinion. This is not to say that he did not serve with distinction. He did. Standing 4’ 5” tall, he has the distinction of being the shortest judge to serve in the Supreme Court.
If you are contemplating buying a home in today's rather dismal real estate market, you are of course, looking into the area in which your home will be located. It has often been said that there are only three things that you need to consider: They are location, location, location. To those should be added a fourth - insurance coverage for your new home. If you are looking to by a home in Codell, Kansas however, the four things become insurance, insurance, insurance, and insurance. Did I hear you ask why that is? The answer is very simple - on the 20th in 1916, 1917 and 1918 the town was struck by tornadoes. No, not tomatoes, tornadoes!
At times, it seems as if the weather gets just a bit odd. Charles Hoy Fort made a career out of collecting, among other things, abnormalities in the weather and today the Fortean Society continues his work. On the 19th in 1790, the skies over New Jersey, New England, and parts of Canada became so dark that candles had to be lit at noon. Instead of taking into consideration, the widespread forest fires that were raging all over New England at the time, many people concluded that the darkness heralded the end-times spoken of in the Bible’s Book of Revelation. Abraham Davenport, a member of the state of Connecticut’s legislature had this to say about it: “I choose, for one, to meet Him face to face, no faithless servant frightened from my task, but ready when the Lord of the harvest calls; and therefore, with all reverence, I would say, let God do his work, we will see to ours. Bring in the candles.” The event has come to be known as New England’s Dark Day. I think the mere fact that I am writing this is clear and convincing proof that God did not pick that particular moment to destroy His creation. But hey, you never know.
Fort was born on August 6, 1874 in Albany, New York. When he turned 18, he left New York to tour Europe so that he in his words could “put some capital in the Bank of Experience.”
Apparently being God’s messenger on Earth is not all that it is cracked up to be. Just think about it for a moment. Consider that Father Devine, David Koresh, Jim Jones, Marshall Applewhite, Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, and scores of others have all met with singularly unpleasant ends. At first the only woman that sprang to my mind was Tammy Faye Bakker, she of the ludicrous make-up. Then it occurred to me that I had overlooked someone. I had failed to consider a dainty woman born at the end of the nineteenth century. How could I have overlooked the saintly, sweet, demure Aimee Semple McPherson? On the 18th in 1926, she disappeared from a very lovely beach in Venice, California.