This Day in History – November 30 – Hijinx, Humor, and Insight


NewsWhistle is pleased to feature Gary Jenneke’s “This Day In History” column.

You can read the original at Gary’s THIS DAY IN HISTORY blog — or scroll down to enjoy Gary’s unique look at life’s comings and goings.




1487 – German Beer Purity Law passed.

beer purity shutterstock

Reinheitsgebot, as later versions of this law became known, regulated what ingredients could be used in the making of beer. The law stipulated that only barley, hops, and water could be used to make beer.

This law has been in place for 530 years, or 517 years longer than the Thousand-Year Reich. The world would have been better off if Germany had stuck to just making beer.


1753 – Benjamin Franklin awarded Copley Medal.

The Royal Society of England gave out this medal for scientific achievement. It was the Nobel Prize of its era. Franklin received the medal for his work on electricity.

From “Franklin showed that electricity consisted of a ‘common element’ which he named ‘electric fire.’ Further, electricity was ‘fluid’ like a liquid. It passed from one body to another.”

And of course there was Franklin’s famous kite experiment proving electricity and lightening were the same. It led to his invention of the lightening rod.

Science has always moved us forward, despite those who resist it. No doubt Franklin had his detractors also, those who ridiculed him for his kite experiment. But no matter those who deny science, the lightening rod is still in use in today’s world… and the oceans are still rising.


1967 – Eugene McCarthy announces candidacy for President.

The senator from Minnesota challenged the President from his own party in the primaries. McCarthy was opposed to the Vietnam War and frustrated by America’s continued involvement there. Pundits and the press dismissed his chances but young people (Clean for Gene) rallied behind him, and he did well in the early primaries. Enough so that LBJ decided not to run for re-election. McCarthy’s success also prompted Bobby Kennedy to get into the race.

After Kennedy’s assassination Hubert Humphrey, also from Minnesota, won the nomination. At that time primary results did not automatically translate into delegates at the convention. Many Democrats felt disenfranchised by the results of the tumultuous convention in Chicago, and Humphrey ended up losing the election to Richard Nixon. The party changed its nominating rules after that, to try make the process fairer.

Given the results of the last go round, with super-delegates and what not, the Democrats still haven’t gone far enough. How does that go: “If you don’t learn from history you are bound to repeat it.”



1810 – Oliver Winchester.

An American businessman who purchased a floundering firearms company and became successful manufacturing the Winchester repeating rifle. It has been labeled the “gun that won the West.” From “Oliver Fisher Winchester was an innovative and driven man who saw the future of firearms.” (I wonder if he foresaw the carnage of Las Vegas, Sutherland Springs, Orlando, Sandy Hook…)

Winchester died in 1880 and his son, William, inherited the business. He died only months later. William’s wife believed the family was cursed by the spirits of those killed by the rifle.

There’s a lot more spirits to do the cursing now.


1874 – Winston Churchill.

Prominent British statesman and twice Prime Minister of England. He famously led, and rallied, England during the darkest hours of WWII. He inspired that nation to stand up against the Nazi onslaught. Before the war he had a somewhat checkered and erratic career. In WWI, as First Lord of the Admiralty, he was the architect of the disastrous Gallipoli campaign. He somehow left the stain of that slaughter behind and went on to become one of the world’s greatest and best known leaders of the twentieth century.

Awareness comes to a child in stages, at least it did to me. First of self, next of family, extended family, and then the ever expanding world. As my education progressed and awareness grew, one of the first names I remember hearing from the international stage was Churchill. Because of the way his name was spoken I assumed he must be a great man. My first impression wasn’t wrong.


1924 – Shirley Chisholm.

shirley chisholm 1972 campaign poster library of congress

First African-American woman elected to Congress. Chisholm served from 1969 to 1983 representing the 12th District of New York. Also, in 1972, she was the first woman to run for the presidential nomination for the Democratic Party. During the primaries she received criticism for visiting segregationist George Wallace in the hospital after he was shot. Later Wallace used his influence among Southern Representatives to help her pass a law requiring minimum wage for domestic workers. After her political career was over she lectured at colleges. Included in her themes were polarization and intolerance: she said “if you don’t accept others who are different, it means nothing that you’ve learned calculus.”

A lesson it seems, that we as a nation are still sadly resisting.

While in office, all of Chisholm’s staff were women, and half of those were black. Chisholm stated that during her political career she faced more discrimination because she was a woman than because she was black.

And now add sexual harassment to the challenges a woman faces in those hallowed halls of Congress.



At various junctures of his life, Gary has been an indifferent grade school student, poor high school student, good Navy radioman, one-time hippie, passable college student, inveterate traveler, dedicated writer, miscast accountant (except for one interesting stint at a Communist café), part-time screenwriting teacher, semi-proud veteran, unsuccessful retiree and new blogger.

You can reach him at



The above information was sourced from the following sites and newspapers.


Benjamin Franklin –

Oliver Winchester –

Shirley Chisholm –


We’d also like to thank the following photographers and videographers for the use of their images:

* Lead-In Image (Billy The Kid portrait) –  Everett Historical / – “’Franklin’s Experiment, June 1752,’ Benjamin Franklin demonstrating the identity of lightning and electricity from which he invented the lightning rod, painting by Currier & Ives, 1876.”

benjmin franklin currier ives shutterstock embed

* Beer purity (photo) – Carso80 / – “Munich, Germany – June 4, 2015: Maypole at Viktualienmarkt with a colored figure and the signs of the Munich beers to remind of the German purity law.”

* Eugene McCarthy and RFK Debate (video) – ABC, C-SPAN and electionwalldotorg /

* Oliver Winchester (video) – & Tony Piercy /

* Churchill (video) – tshaines /

* Shirley Chisholm (poster) – Library of Congress

* Outro (Man-In-Museum Cartoon) – SkyPics Studio /



December 5

December 8

December 9

December 11

December 12

December 13

* December 15

December 16

December 18

December 19

December 22

December 23

December 24

December 25

December 28

January 1

January 3

* January 4

January 6

January 7

January 8

January 11

January 12

January 14

January 15

January 17

January 19

January 22

January 23

January 24

January 28

January 29

February 1

February 2

February 3

February 5

February 9

February 10

February 12

February 14

February 15

February 20

February 21

February 22

February 25

February 28

February 29

March 2

March 4

March 6

March 9

March 11

March 12

March 14

March 15

March 17

March 19

March 21

March 22

March 23

March 27

March 28

March 29

April 2

April 3

April 4

April 6

April 9

April 11

April 13

April 16

April 18

April 21

* April 22

April 23

April 26

April 28

April 29

May 1

May 2

* May 3

May 5

May 6

May 9

May 10

May 11

* May 13

May 16

May 17

May 22

May 24

May 26

May 27

* May 28

May 29

May 31

June 1

June 3

June 4

June 8

June 10

June 11

June 13

June 16

June 17

June 18

June 21

June 22

June 24

June 27

June 28

June 29

July 2

July 3

July 4

July 9

July 10

July 13

July 14

July 15

July 19

July 20

July 23

July 24

July 25

July 29

July 30

July 31

August 2

* August 3

August 6

August 7

August 10

August 11

August 13

August 16

August 17

August 19

August 21

August 23

August 24

August 25

August 28

August 29

August 31

September 2

September 4

September 5

September 6

September 10

September 11

September 12

September 15

September 16

September 17

September 20

September 21

September 23

September 25

September 26

September 27

September 29

September 30

October 1

October 3

October 4

October 5

October 6

October 7

October 10

October 11

October 12

October 13

October 14

October 15

October 16

October 18

October 19

October 20

October 23

October 24

October 25

October 26

October 27

October 29

October 30

October 31

November 1

November 2

November 3

November 4

November 5

November 6

November 7

November 8

November 9

November 10

November 11

November 12

November 13

November 14

November 15

November 16

November 17

November 18

November 19

November 20

November 21

November 22

November 23

November 24

November 26

November 27

November 28

November 29

* Stay tuned for more!