Little Bits of History

February 9

Posted in History by patriciahysell on February 9, 2017

1951: The Geochang massacre begins. Geochang is a county in South Gyeongsang Province, South Korea. It covers about 310 square miles and has a population today of just over 67,000. Geochang is in the northern portion of the province which is in the southeastern region of the country. The third battalion of the 9th regiment of the 11th Division of the South Korean Army targeted Communist sympathizer unarmed civilians. They killed 719 people with 385 of them children. This was immediately after they had targeted another 705 unarmed civilians in Sancheong and Hamyang, also located in South Geyeongsang Province.

General Choe Deok-sin was in command of the 11th Division. He was a 1936 graduate of the Republic of China Military Academy and had served as a Republic of China Army officer and after World War II he was promoted to colonel. He then returned to South Korea and entered their Army Academy as a second lieutenant. In 1949, he came to the US and entered the United States Army Academy and then returned to Korea on July 14, 1950. He served as head of the 11th Division under the United States IX Corps during the Korean War and during this time the massacres took place. After the War and a military coup, he served as Foreign Minister and Ambassador to West Germany between 1961 and 1963. In 1986, Choe and his wife defected to North Korea as he had been known for his opposition to South Korean policies.

In March 1951, Shin Chung-mok, a lawmaker serving in the assembly from Geochang reported the massacre to the National Assembly against South Korean Army cover up. While an investigation was attempted, the South Korean Army interfered at every turn and in fact, had Shin arrested and sentenced to death in an Army court martial. A second investigation was initiated in May 1951 and the team from the National Assembly was better able to look into the allegations Shin had made. This second investigation determined the malfeasance and the South Korean Army’s involvement. It was found that Major Han and Colonel Oh Ik-gyun were guilty of massacre of hundreds of civilians and both men were sentenced to life in prison. President Syngman Rhee eventually granted clemency to criminals and let them free. This is often cited as just one indication of his oppressive rule.

In April 2004, a Geochang Massacre Memorial Park was founded in order to give voice to the men, women, and children killed over these two days. In February 2006 the files of the massacre were reported found by the National Archives and Records Service. In 2001, a local court ordered the South Korean government to pay reparations to the victims’ families but in 2004, a general court ruled that a statute of limitation had passed and the government would not pay. This was confirmed by the South Korean Supreme Court in 2008. In 2010, a researcher for the Truth and Reconciliation Commission found the National Defense Ministry’s official documents condoning the annihilation of citizens living in the guerrilla influenced area.

Know thy self, know thy enemy. A thousand battles, a thousand victories.

The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting.

Victorious warriors win first and then go to war, while defeated warriors go to war first and then seek to win.

Pretend inferiority and encourage his arrogance. – all from Sun Tzu


National Weather Service

Posted in History by patriciahysell on February 9, 2015
National Weather Service

National Weather Service

February 9, 1870: The US National Weather Service (NWS) is established. President Ulysses S Grant signed a joint resolution of Congress and created the Weather Bureau. Their mission was to “provide for taking meteorological observations at the military stations in the interior of the continent and at other points in the States and Territories…and for giving notice on the northern (Great) Lakes and on the seacoast by magnetic telegraph and marine signals, of the approach and force of storms.” The agency was under the Secretary of War because Congress felt military discipline was needed to assure timely and accurate reporting. It was originally called The Division of Telegrams and Reports for the Benefit of Commerce by US Army Signal Corps Brigadier General Albert J Myer.

Twenty years later it became a civilian entity under the Department of Agriculture and it moved to the Department of Commerce in 1940. The Environmental Science Services Administration was formed in 1966 and took over the Weather Bureau at that time and the parent entity was renamed in 1970 as the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and it was at this time the name of the Bureau was changed to the National Weather Service. Throughout its lifetime, the NWS has used text forecasts to get the news of upcoming weather disseminated to various interested parties. Today, that method is enhanced with digital, gridded, image, or other modern formats.

There are 122 Weather Forecast Offices, each identified by a three-letter designation. They are divided into six regions with Alaska as one region and the Pacific which includes Hawaii and Guam as another. The 117 remaining offices are in the Eastern, Central, Southern, and Western regions. Each office sends graphical forecasts to a national server to be compiled in the National Digital Forecast Database (NDFD). The database contains common weather observations as well as more detailed information. This is available using a “GRIB2 decoder” which allows for different types of files to be generated and interpreted.

They monitor wildfires and send out daily information and updates as needed. The Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Oklahoma issues severe thunderstorm and tornado watches. The Weather Prediction Center in College Park, Maryland monitors conditions for future precipitation and possible flooding. The Ocean Prediction Center, also in College Park, issues warning about coastal waters and marine concerns. The National Hurricane Center and the Central Pacific Hurricane Center (located in Miami and Honolulu respectively) monitor for possible tropical weather patterns in their respective oceans. The Climate Prediction Center (College Park) is responsible for climate-related forecasts. Better prediction methods and communication of information have let us all live safer lives.

Sunshine is delicious, rain is refreshing, wind braces us up, snow is exhilarating; there is really no such thing as bad weather, only different kinds of good weather. – John Ruskin

Weather forecast for tonight: dark. Continued mostly dark with widely scattered light in the morning. – George Carlin

It is only in sorrow bad weather masters us; in joy we face the storm and defy it. – Amelia Barr

Climate is what we expect, weather is what we get. – Mark Twain

Also on this day: Time Savers – In 1942, Daylight Savings Time went into effect.
Toast of the Town – In 1964, The Beatles appeared on Ed Sullivan.
Rain, Snow, Sleet, and Hail – In  1870, the US Weather Bureau was created.
Sports Enthusiast – In 1895, Mintonette was invented.
Department of Agriculture – In 1889, the department became Cabinet level.

Department of Agriculture

Posted in History by patriciahysell on February 9, 2014
President Grover Cleveland's first Cabinet

President Grover Cleveland’s first Cabinet

February 9, 1889: US President Grover Cleveland signs a bill. The Department of Agriculture was now elevated to Cabinet level. The task of the US federal executive department is to oversee federal policy on farming, agriculture, forestry, and food. The young United States was mostly agrarian. Improvement in seeds, plants, and animals was of interest to many. In 1837, Henry Ellsworth became Commissioner of Patents which was a position inside the Department of State. He soon began collecting and distributing varieties of seeds and plants via members of Congress and agricultural societies. Two years later, Congress established the Agricultural Division inside the Patent Office.

On May 15, 1862 Abraham Lincoln established a Department of Agriculture which was independent of other departments. It was headed by a Commissioner and was not a Cabinet position. Businesses were lobbying for a Cabinet post for the Department of Commerce and Industry while farmers were hoping for the same for their representation. However, the first time it was sent to Congress, both Houses passed the bill but it died in committee when Farmers objected to Labor being included. Finally, on this day, the bill was signed into law and it went into effect in February 15, 1889.

Today, the Secretary of Agriculture, Thomas Vilsack is assisted by Krysta Harden, Deputy Secretary. There are many operational units under the Agriculture umbrella. There are seven Under Secretaries heading major portions of the Department with 21 different active services. There are four inactive services as well. Early important legislation related to meat inspection with four major laws passed in the first two decades. The Department writes legislation dealing with many topics and some of it intersects with other Departments. The last major law was the fHealthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010.

The Cabinet of the US is made up of the most senior appointed officers of the executive branch of the federal government. George Washington began governance with a Cabinet made up of four men to advise him. Today, members are nominated by the President and then confirmed by the Senate. After approval, the title of Secretary is given. All serve at the pleasure of the President. Currently there are fifteen Secretaries and eight Cabinet-level officers who are available to advise the President. Cabinet level positions have a Level I pay and it was set at $199,700 in 2011. Both the Vice President and the White House Chief of Staff are selected differently than described above and have different salaries.

Agriculture not only gives riches to a nation, but the only riches she can call her own. – Samuel Johnson

I have always said there is only one thing that can bring our nation down – our dependence on foreign countries for food and energy. Agriculture is the backbone of our economy. – John Salazar

The discovery of agriculture was the first big step toward a civilized life. – Arthur Keith

This is an exciting time for farmers and ranchers of all types and sizes as agriculture is a bright spot in the American economy. In 2011, agricultural exports hit a record high and producers saw their best incomes in nearly 40 years. – Tom Vilsack

Also on this day: Time Savers – In 1942, Daylight Savings Time went into effect.
Toast of the Town – In 1964, The Beatles appeared on Ed Sullivan.
Rain, Snow, Sleet, and Hail – In  1870, the US Weather Bureau was created.
Sports Enthusiast – In 1895, Mintonette was invented.

Toast of the Town

Posted in History by patriciahysell on February 9, 2013
Ed Sullivan

Ed Sullivan

February 9, 1964: The Beatles perform on The Ed Sullivan Show. John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Richard Starkey aka Ringo Starr were a rock and roll band out of Liverpool, England. They were major players in the British Invasion, as the media termed the influx of UK musicians entertaining the eager listeners spread across the US. Dusty Springfield was one of the first to cross the ocean to amuse American teens. Many solo artists and bands crossed the Atlantic and conquered the US musical landscape.

The Ed Sullivan Show aired on Sunday evenings. The variety show brought both new and time-tested acts into America’s living rooms from June 20, 1948 until June 6, 1971. The hour long program also had recurring characters such as Topo Gigio – a little Italian mouse. Even though Ed began his show during a time of segregation, he freely opened the venue to African-American entertainers. Some southern-based sponsors suggested he rethink his scheduling plans. Viewers were treated to a panoply of black entertainers such as Nat King Cole, Aretha Franklin, and The Jackson 5.

Edward Vincent Sullivan was born in New York City in 1901. His first career was in boxing and he then moved to writing about sports for a newspaper. He next moved into a spot vacated by Walter Winchell and wrote theater reviews as well as local gossip items. Sullivan began doing spots on radio and with that position became a star maker. In 1948, he was offered a chance to do his show on television. Originally called Toast of the Town, the show became a CBS hit. Sullivan himself had little acting ability and his stone-faced, deadpan delivery was often ridiculed.

The most frequent guests on the show were a Canadian comedy duo, Wayne and Shuster, who made 67 appearances. When music groups performed on The Ed Sullivan Show, they were required to perform live rather than the usual lip-syncing of their recordings. Sullivan refused to host Elvis Presley in early 1956. Ed regretted being scooped even though Elvis eventually did perform on the show. The next really big thing was going to be Ed’s scoop. So he hosted The Beatles and more than 73 million Americans (about half the population) tuned in to watch the Fab Four perform five numbers – live.

“Ed Sullivan will be around as long as someone else has talent.” – Fred Allen

“These are women who, when I was growing up, made a difference for me, … The first time I saw Diana Ross and the Supremes on the ‘Ed Sullivan Show,’ it changed my life.” – Oprah Winfrey

“See, I was nine years old when I saw Elvis on ‘Ed Sullivan’, and I had to get a guitar the next day. I stood in front of my mirror with that guitar on. . . and I knew then that’s what had been missing.” – Bruce Springsteen

“The most important thing [during the first ten years of the program] is that we’ve put on everything but bigotry. When the show first started in ’48, I had a meeting with the sponsors. There were some Southern dealers present and they asked if I intended to put on Negroes. I said yes. They said I shouldn’t, but I convinced them I wasn’t going to change my mind. And you know something? We’ve gone over very well in the South. Never had a bit of trouble.” – Ed Sullivan

This article first appeared at in 2010. Editor’s update: Wayne and Shuster (You Tube’s page for them) were from Canada. Johnny Wayne (1918 – 1990) and Frank Shuster (1916 – 2002) were a comedy team who worked from the 1940s through the 1980s. They met in high school and both studied at the University of Toronto. They made their radio debut in 1941 and were so popular they were given their own comedy show. They enlisted in the Canadian army and entertained troops in Europe during the war. They also performed for troops in the Korean War. They were offered permanent American residency, but they refused preferring to remain living in Toronto. Their act combined “literate” comedy and slapstick and often used Shakespeare as a starting point for their sketches.

Also on this day: Time Savers – In 1942, Daylight Savings Time went into effect.
Rain, Snow, Sleet, and Hail – In  1870, the US Weather Bureau was created.
Sports Enthusiast – In 1895, Mintonette was invented.

Sports Enthusiast

Posted in History by patriciahysell on February 9, 2012

William G. Morgan

February 9, 1895: William G. Morgan invents a new game – Mintonette. Morgan was born in New York in 1870. He met James Naismith at Springfield College in Massachusetts. Springfield began as a training centers for Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) professionals. The college opened in 1885. Naismith was a faculty member there and most famous for inventing the game of basketball in 1891. Morgan enrolled in 1892 and was impressed by the older man. Morgan moved on to Holyoke and there he invented his new game.

Basketball was too vigorous and older men were not able to keep up on the court. Mintonette was a blend of several sports: basketball, baseball, tennis, and handball. Morgan borrowed a tennis net and strung it across the court with the top of the net 78 inches from the floor – which was just above the average man’s head. The court measured 25 x 50 feet and any number of players were permitted. There were nine innings with three serves for each side. The ball traveled across the net after any number of hits. While watching a game, Alfred Halstead remarked on the way the ball went back and forth. The name for the game was changed to reflect that. Volleyball.

In 1896, or possibly 1900, Spalding created a special ball for the new game. Rules changed, too. In 1916 the set and spike play was introduced and by 1920 the three hit limit was put into effect. Scoring also changed and a win was granted at 15 points rather than 21 starting in 1917. The game went international in 1900 when Canadians began playing. An international federation was formed in 1947 and the first world championships were held in 1949 for men and 1952 for women. The game was played as a demonstration event in the 1924 Summer Olympics and became officially part of the Games for the 1964 Summer Olympics.

Today the courts are 30 x 60 feet and the top of the net is at 95.5 inches for men and 88 inches for women. There are six players on a team aligned in two rows. There are several varieties of volleyball. Beach volleyball is played indoors as sand volleyball in areas without beaches. Other variations include: footbag net, newcomb ball, footvolley, and wallyball. The game is played on every continent with millions enjoying the sport.

Sports is human life in microcosm. – Howard Cosell

The trouble with referees is that they just don’t care which side wins. – Tom Canterbury

If you make every game a life-and-death thing, you’re going to have problems.  You’ll be dead a lot. – Dean Smith

It may be that all games are silly.  But then, so are humans. – Robert Lynd

Also on this day:

Time Savers – In 1942, Daylight Savings Time went into effect.
Toast of the Town – In 1964, The Beatles appeared on Ed Sullivan.
Rain, Snow, Sleet, and Hail – In  1870, the US Weather Bureau was created.

Rain, Snow, Sleet, and Hail

Posted in History by patriciahysell on February 9, 2011

Weather icons

February 9, 1870: President Ulysses S. Grant signs a joint resolution of Congress permitting the Secretary of War to establish the US Weather Bureau. The Bureau was under the War division because it was thought that prompt, regular, and accurate observations would take military discipline and the first places to gather this information were military in nature as well. Military stations in the interior, along the coasts of the Great Lakes, and along the eastern seaboard collected data and sent it along via “magnetic telegraph and marine signals” that were used to alert people of coming storms and how much force those storms packed.

The Smithsonian Institute began collecting weather related data in 1849. They established an extensive network of observers who telegraphed data into a central location and weather maps were constructed from that information. In their first year, they had 150 stations collecting data. By 1860 there were 500 stations.

With the US government now collecting this data, there were even more collection stations. In 1890, the Bureau became a civilian pursuit when it was moved to the Department of Agriculture. By 1898, the weather service had begun an early hurricane warning system. The Galveston hurricane occurred the next year, so there was still room for improvement.

In the 20th century, improvements kept coming. 1902 – wireless radios were used for reporting. 1904 – airplanes began to collect upper atmospheric observations. 1905 – weather reports were available at sea. 1928 – the teletype replaced the telegraph and in 1938 was replaced by the telephone. 1940 – the Department of Commerce took over the US Weather Service while the army and navy each set up their own collection systems. 1950 – tornado alerts and 30-day forecasts came into play. 1955 – computers were used to generate forecasts. 1960 – the first weather satellite was launched. 1970 – the name was changed to NOAA, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. 1976 – Doppler radar was introduced. The remainder of the century was filled with increased fine-tuning of methods of collecting data and turning it into an accurate weather report.

“Everybody talks about the weather, but nobody does anything about it” – Charles Dudley Warner

“It is best to read the weather forecast before praying for rain” – Mark Twain

“There will be a rain dance Friday night, weather permitting” – George Carlin

“The trouble with weather forecasting is that it’s right too often for us to ignore it and wrong too often for us to rely on it.” – Patrick Young

Also on this day:
Time Savers – In 1942, Daylight Savings Time went into effect.
Ed and the Beatles – In 1964, The Ed Sullivan Show brought The Beatles to the US.


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Time Savers

Posted in History by patriciahysell on February 9, 2010

What time is it?

February 9, 1942: The US puts Daylight Saving Time into effect. The purpose behind changing the clocks is to make more efficient use of the daylight hours. We move the hour of sunshine from morning to evening by moving the clocks ahead.

The advantages are twofold. The first one is obvious. It saves energy because less electricity is used in the evenings when most people are home. Approximately 25% of electricity use is for lighting and running small appliances and since it is light later into the evening, fewer lights are lit. The second advantage? There are fewer traffic accidents because more people are driving while it is still light.

The disadvantages are having to set your clocks twice a year. Getting used to the time change can also take a few days. The other major problem occurs when there is not a uniform move to DST by the entire world or even the country.

Benjamin Franklin was the first to propose moving the clocks to adjust to a more economical use of the daylight hours in 1784. It did not catch on. In 1907 a pamphlet entitled “Waste of Daylight” written by William Willett was published. Europe moved to Summer Time, another name for Daylight Saving Time in the 1910s, at which time it was optional in the US. In 1918, several time zones were established for the US. During the Second World War, the time was changed for conservation and called War Time. Arizona and Hawaii do not observe the time change even now.

“The only thing a golfer needs is more daylight.” – Ben Hogan

“I don’t mind going back to daylight saving time. With inflation, the hour will be the only thing I’ve saved all year.” – Victor Borge

“Time sneaks up on you like a windshield on a bug.” – unknown

“I once made love for an hour and fifteen minutes, but it was the night the clocks are set ahead.” – Garry Shandling

Also on this day, in 1964 The Ed Sullivan Show brought The Beatles to the US.