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MILESTONES: December 4, birthdays for Jay-Z, Skip Bayless, Tyra Banks

Brooklyn Today

December 4, 2017 Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Jay-Z. Photo by Scott Roth/Invision/AP, File
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Greetings, Brooklyn.  Today is the 341st day of the year.

On this day in 1950, the Brooklyn Daily Eagle front page reported that British Prime Minister Clement R. Atlee visited President Harry S. Truman in Washington for talks on how to strengthen U.S.-Anglo relations amid brewing international troubles such as the Korean conflict and the spread of communism. The two leaders believed that the Soviet Union was trying to damage U.S.-British relations. Atlee told reporters that the Soviets were “wasting time” in such divisiveness.

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On this day in 1923, the Brooklyn Daily Eagle front page reported that the newly-elected 68th Congress faced roadblocks in electing their Speaker of the House of Representatives. An insurgent group was blocking House Speaker Frederick Huntington Gillett (R-Massachusetts) from being re-elected. Congress had already cast the fourth ballot, with Gillett tied at 197 votes with Rep. Finnis James Garrett (D-Tenn). The Constitution allows for Congress members to elect their own Speaker, with successive balloting if needed until sufficient number of votes fills the position. And at that time, the speaker did not have to be from the majority party. As contentious as this Speaker election was, the precedent had already been set in 1855 amid a toxic political climate, when Congress took 133 ballots and two months to choose U.S. Rep. Nathaniel Banks of Massachusetts.

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On this day in 1939, the Brooklyn Daily Eagle front page reported that both Russia and neighboring Finland, at war with each other, had made strategic advances. The Finnish army had fended off Russia, but feared that the Russian air fleet would soon launch a poison gas attack. And the Russians said that while land mines (were hindering their progress, they had gained control of a group of islands off the coast of Finland. …Here in the States, Brooklyn Dodgers head Fred MacPhail said he had re-engaged Leo Durocher as general manager for the 1940 season. Although MacPhail would not release specifics of Durocher’s’ contract, it was rumored that the veteran shortstop would be earning around $20,000.

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On this day in 1942, the Brooklyn Daily Eagle front page reported that the Allies had lost air rule over Tunis. The reports, coming in from London and Madrid, said that the Allied air fleet was not able to maintain control over the region, due to lack of reinforcement fleets. Here in the United States, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt ordered the WPA (Work Progress Administration) to be shut down. Roosevelt had created the WPA in 1935 as part of his New Deal to help the nation recover from the Depression. The president said that employment in wartime industries had grown to the point where “a national work relief program is no longer necessary.” The Public Works and WPA commissioners still had to convene to coordinate the phaseout of the WPA, which was praised for its effectiveness.

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NOTABLE PEOPLE born on this day include comedian and “Portlandia” actor FRED ARMISEN, who was born in 1966; actor MAX BAER JR., who was born in 1937; model, actress and talk show host TYRA BANKS, who was born in 1973; Oscar Award-winning actor JEFF BRIDGES, who was born in 1949; singer and musician CHRIS HILLMAN, who was born in 1944; Grammy Award-winning rapper and music executive JAY-Z, who was born in Brooklyn in 1969; Oscar Award-winning actress MARISA TOMEI, who was born in Brooklyn in 1964; Emmy Award-winning actress PATRICIA WETTIG, who was born in 1951; and jazz singer CASSANDRA WILSON, who was born in 1955.

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TODAY IS SAINT BARBARA’S DAY.  Traditionally on the feast day of St. Barbara, a young girl places a twig from a cherry tree in a glass of water. If it blooms by Christmas Eve, she is certain to marry the following year. Because the narratives of her life and martyrdom are legendary, St. Barbara was dropped from the Roman Catholic Calendar of Saints in 1970.

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THE MARY CELESTE SHIP WAS DISCOVERED ON THIS DAY IN 1872. The English cargo ship Dei Gratia saw a ship under sail apparently out of control near the Azore Islands. After failing to get an answer from the vessel, the American brigantine Mary Celeste, members of the Dei Gratia boarded the ship and discovered a mystery: despite half a year’s supply of food and water, all personal belongings–even pipes–still aboard and with the cargo intact, the ship’s captain, his family and the crew had disappeared without a trace. The final entry in the ship’s logbook was Nov 24 and recorded a position 700 miles away. Some minor damage and a missing lifeboat suggested a hasty abandonment, but for no clear reason. Numerous investigations and theories abounded, but the nautical mystery has never been solved. A young Scottish doctor, Arthur Conan Doyle, was intrigued enough to write the first (but not last) fictional story on the incident: “J. Habakuk Jephson’s Statement” (1884).

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FRANCISCO FRANCO WAS BORN ON THIS DAY IN 1892. The Spanish military dictator led the 1936 coup that toppled the government of the Republic of Spain and led to a three-year-long civil war that took perhaps 500,000 lives. He was ruled as El Caudillo (“The Chief”) until his death in Spain in 1975.

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THIS WEEK IS COOKIE EXCHANGE WEEK. This week celebrates a delicious holiday tradition. Host a cookie exchange party this week and try new recipes or share personal favorites with others. Have yourself a merry little party with delicious cookies, recipes and good times with great people.

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Special thanks to “Chase’s Calendar of Events” and Brooklyn Public Library.

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“Belief in oneself and knowing who you are, I mean, that’s the foundation for everything great.” — Jay-Z, who was born on this day in 1969


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