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Wednesday December 5, 2012

  • 340th Day of 2012 / 26 Remaining
  • 16 Days Until The First Day of Winter

  • Sunrise:7:10
  • Sunset:4:51
  • 9 Hours 41 Minutes of Daylight

  • Moon Rise:11:40pm
  • Moon Set:11:42am
  • Moon’s Phase: 68 %

  • The Next Full Moon
  • December 28 @ 2:22 am
  • Full Cold Moon
  • Full Long Nights Moon

During this month the winter cold fastens its grip, and nights are at their longest and darkest. It is also sometimes called the Moon before Yule. The term Long Night Moon is a doubly appropriate name because the midwinter night is indeed long, and because the Moon is above the horizon for a long time. The midwinter full Moon has a high trajectory across the sky because it is opposite a low Sun.

  • Tides
  • High: 3:49am/2:46pm
  • Low: 9:39am/9:21pm

  • Rainfall (measured July 1 – June 30)
  • This Year:5.90
  • Last Year:3.20
  • Normal To Date:5.20
  • Annual Seasonal Average:23.80

  • Holidays
  • National Sacher Torte Day
  • Bathtub Party Day
  • UN International Volunteer Day for Economic and Social Development
  • Day Of The Ninja

  • Discovery Day-Haiti
  • King's Birthday and National Day-Thailand
  • Krampuslauf-Austria
  • Ashura/Tenth Day-Islam
  • International Volunteers Day
  • Sinterklaas-Nederlands

  • On This Day In …
  • 1776 --- The first scholastic fraternity in America, Phi Beta Kappa, was organized at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Va.

  • 1848 --- President James K. Polk triggered the Gold Rush of '49 by confirming that gold had been discovered in California.

  • 1854 --- Aaron Allen patented a folding chair.  Setting up for banquets becomes a whole lot easier.

  • 1868 --- The first American bicycle school opened in New York City. It announced courses for velocipede riding.

  • 1876 --- The Stillson wrench was patented by D.C. Stillson. The device was the first practical pipe wrench.

  • 1933 --- The 21st Amendment to the U.S. Constitution is ratified, repealing the 18th Amendment and bringing an end to the era of national prohibition of alcohol in America. At 5:32 p.m. EST, Utah became the 36th state to ratify the amendment, achieving the requisite three-fourths majority of states' approval. Pennsylvania and Ohio had ratified it earlier in the day. The movement for the prohibition of alcohol began in the early 19th century, when Americans concerned about the adverse effects of drinking began forming temperance societies. By the late 19th century, these groups had become a powerful political force, campaigning on the state level and calling for national liquor abstinence. Several states outlawed the manufacture or sale of alcohol within their own borders. In December 1917, the 18th Amendment, prohibiting the "manufacture, sale, or transportation of intoxicating liquors for beverage purposes," was passed by Congress and sent to the states for ratification. On January 29, 1919, the 18th Amendment achieved the necessary three-fourths majority of state ratification. Prohibition essentially began in June of that year, but the amendment did not officially take effect until January 29, 1920. In the meantime, Congress passed the Volstead Act on October 28, 1919, over President Woodrow Wilson's veto. The Volstead Act provided for the enforcement of Prohibition, including the creation of a special Prohibition unit of the Treasury Department. In its first six months, the unit destroyed thousands of illicit stills run by bootleggers. However, federal agents and police did little more than slow the flow of booze, and organized crime flourished in America. Large-scale bootleggers like Al Capone of Chicago built criminal empires out of illegal distribution efforts, and federal and state governments lost billions in tax revenue. In most urban areas, the individual consumption of alcohol was largely tolerated and drinkers gathered at "speakeasies," the Prohibition-era term for saloons. Prohibition, failing fully to enforce sobriety and costing billions, rapidly lost popular support in the early 1930s. In 1933, the 21st Amendment to the Constitution was passed and ratified, ending national Prohibition. After the repeal of the 18th Amendment, some states continued Prohibition by maintaining statewide temperance laws. Mississippi, the last dry state in the Union, ended Prohibition in 1966.

  • 1934 --- The Soviet Union executed 66 people charged with plotting against Joseph Stalin's government.

  • 1941 --- John Steinbeck's nonfiction book The Sea of Cortez is published. The book reflects Steinbeck's serious study of marine biology. He also uses his knowledge of the sea and its creatures in creating Doc, the marine biologist character in Cannery Row (1945).

  • 1945 --- At 2:10 p.m., five U.S. Navy Avenger torpedo-bombers comprising Flight 19 take off from the Ft. Lauderdale Naval Air Station in Florida on a routine three-hour training mission. Flight 19 was scheduled to take them due east for 120 miles, north for 73 miles, and then back over a final 120-mile leg that would return them to the naval base. They never returned. Two hours after the flight began, the leader of the squadron, who had been flying in the area for more than six months, reported that his compass and back-up compass had failed and that his position was unknown. The other planes experienced similar instrument malfunctions. Radio facilities on land were contacted to find the location of the lost squadron, but none were successful. After two more hours of confused messages from the fliers, a distorted radio transmission from the squadron leader was heard at 6:20 p.m., apparently calling for his men to prepare to ditch their aircraft simultaneously because of lack of fuel. By this time, several land radar stations finally determined that Flight 19 was somewhere north of the Bahamas and east of the Florida coast, and at 7:27 p.m. a search and rescue Mariner aircraft took off with a 13-man crew. Three minutes later, the Mariner aircraft radioed to its home base that its mission was underway. The Mariner was never heard from again. Later, there was a report from a tanker cruising off the coast of Florida of a visible explosion seen at 7:50 p.m. The disappearance of the 14 men of Flight 19 and the 13 men of the Mariner led to one of the largest air and seas searches to that date, and hundreds of ships and aircraft combed thousands of square miles of the Atlantic Ocean, the Gulf of Mexico, and remote locations within the interior of Florida. No trace of the bodies or aircraft was ever found. Although naval officials maintained that the remains of the six aircraft and 27 men were not found because stormy weather destroyed the evidence, the story of the "Lost Squadron" helped cement the legend of the Bermuda Triangle, an area of the Atlantic Ocean where ships and aircraft are said to disappear without a trace. The Bermuda Triangle is said to stretch from the southern U.S. coast across to Bermuda and down to the Atlantic coast of Cuba and Santo Domingo.

  • 1955 --- The American Federation of Labor and the Congress of Industrial Organizations merged to become the AFL-CIO. Not all national unions belong to the AFL-CIO. The Teamsters Union was kicked out in 1957 and the United Auto Workers pulled out in 1968. The AFL-CIO has five major activities (in addition to keeping itself organized): 1) To work for laws favorable to labor and general welfare; 2) To help organize workers who are not in labor unions; 3) To settle disputes and encourage friendly relations among member unions; 4) To take part in the world labor movement through the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions, an association of unions from all parts of the free world; and 5) To help educate union members and the general public about the aims of organized labor.

  • 1968 --- Graham Nash quit the Hollies. He announced the formation of Crosby, Stills and Nash three days later.

  • 1979 --- Sonia Johnson was formally excommunicated by the Mormon Church due to her outspoken support for the proposed Equal Rights Amendment to the Constitution.

  • 1996 --- The baseball players union executive board unanimously approved a new collective bargaining agreement, marking the end of the longest labor dispute in baseball history. The new agreement introduced a Luxury Tax, revenue sharing, interleague play, and several provisions designed to compel the future cooperation of owners and players.

  • 1998 --- James P. Hoffa became the head of the Teamsters union, 23 years after his father was the head.

  • 2002 --- Senate Republican leader Trent Lott praised Strom Thurmond's pro-segregation 1948 presidential campaign. The ensuing uproar led to Lott's resignation from the Senate leadership.

  • 2006 --- New York became the first U.S. city to ban artificial trans fats in restaurant food when the Board of Health voted to ban them.

  • Birthdays
  • Little Richard
  • Laura Flanders
  • Elizabeth Cabot Agassiz
  • President Martin Van Buren-8th President
  • Walt Disney
  • Calvin Trillin
  • JJ Cale
  • Jim Messina
  • Margaret Cho
  • George Armstrong Custer
  • Fritz Lang
  • Otto Preminger