Thursday, December 15, 2011

On This Day in History

c/o Library of Congress
AD 37 – Nero, fifth Emperor of the Roman Empire, was born in present-day Anzio, Italy. Known for a reign filled with excessiveness and despotism, Nero is also noted for seemingly countless executions, including those of his mother, his stepbrother, and many of the early Christians against whom he placed blame for the Great Fire of Rome. With assassination all but imminent, Nero committed suicide in AD 68, bringing the 54-year rule of Julio-Claudian dynasty to an end.

1791 – Authored and introduced to the 1st United States Congress by James Madison as the limitations on our government in regard to personal liberties, the first 10 Amendments to the United States Constitution (better known as the Bill of Rights, pictured) became law when ratified by the Virginia General Assembly, providing the three-fourths needed by the States to make it official.

1939 – Gone with the Wind premiered at Loew’s Grand Theatre in Atlanta, Georgia. The film earned 10 Academy Awards (a record that stood for 20 years) and is ranked sixth in the American Film Institute’s list of the Top 100 Best American Films of All Time. It was selected for preservation by the National Film Registry in 1989.

1966 – Walt Disney died in Burbank, California 10 days after his 65th birthday.

1973 – Facing pressure from members of the Gay Liberation Front and psychiatrist/gay rights activist Ronald Bayer, among others, the Board of Trustees of the American Psychiatric Association voted 13-0 to remove homosexuality from its Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.

The APA, for the record, has been criticized (more than once) for employing an inferior diagnostic process in lieu of a more unempirical structure that elevates the opinions of the prominent few. Author and psychiatrist Dr. William Glasser has referred to the DSM as “phony diagnostic categories,” arguing that “it was developed to help psychiatrists . . . make money.”

2001 – The Leaning Tower of Pisa was reopened to the public after 11 years and $27,000,000 to fortify it, without fixing its famous slant (3.97 degrees, or 3.9 meters). Engineers expect the nearly 700-year-old freestanding bell tower to remain stable for another 200 years.

2005 – The parliament of Latvia (northeast Europe) amended its national constitution with Article 110, formally eliminating same-sex couples from being entitled to marry and adopt.

Information initially obtained from Wikipedia; confirmed and revised (when necessary) through various sources.

No comments: