Good News in History, December 8

30 years ago Russia, Belarus, and Ukraine signed an agreement that dissolved the USSR (Union of Soviet Socialist Republics). The Belavezha Accords not only ended the Soviet Union, but established the Commonwealth of Independent States in its place.

The Accords were signed by leaders of 3 of the 4 republics that had created the USSR by signing a 1922 treaty. WATCH a cheerful look back from the modern Russian news network, which is fascinating when you wonder what the broadcast looked like 30 years ago today… (1991)

MORE Good News on this Date:

  • Jim Morrison, the singer and leader of The Doors, was born (1943)
  • The Cuzco Declaration was signed in Cuzco, Peru, establishing the South American Community of Nations (2004)
  • Kirsty Williams was elected by the Welsh Liberal Democrats and became the first female to lead a political party in Wales (2008)
  • SpaceX became the first private company to successfully launch, orbit and recover a spacecraft after the second launch of the SpaceX Falcon 9 (2010)
  • Volunteers for Operation Gratitude, a non-profit military and veteran support organization, assembled its One Millionth Care Package, a milestone cheered by thousands of supporters assembled for the celebration (2013)

96 years ago today, Sammy Davis Jr., the popular singer, dancer, actor, and drummer was born.

An entertainer on stage since he was 3-years-old, Sammy was Tony-nominated for his role in the 1964 musical Golden Boy, and joined The Rat Pack with Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin in the original film Ocean’s 11—and together the blockbuster stars toured internationally.

The Grammy and Emmy award winner also hosted his own TV variety program, The Sammy Davis Jr. Show. His biggest hit as a vocalist, The Candy Man, reached the top of the Billboard Hot 100 in 1972, and he became a star in Las Vegas, earning him the nickname ‘Mister Show Business’. When someone asked his golf handicap, he famously quipped, “Handicap? I’m a one-eyed Negro who’s Jewish.” SEE his incredible talent in this comedy bit with impression of famous 60s singers… (1925–1990)

A heavy cigarette smoker, he died of throat cancer at age 64.

Check out his sensational tap dancing on this BBC show… THE YOUTUBE MAY LOOK BROKEN, but just click on the arrow to start the video.


And, on this day in 1987, the leaders of the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. signed a historic agreement to destroy thousands of shorter-range nuclear weapons. Signed in Washington, D.C. by President Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty eliminated all missiles of any kind, as well as their launchers, that are on land within a range of 310–3,420 miles (500–5,500 km).

Reagan and Gorbachev signing treaty - WH photo
White House photo

By May 1991, 2,692 missiles were eliminated, and 10 years of on-site verification inspections followed.

Today is Bodhi Day— the Buddhist holiday commemorating the day when the Buddha first experienced enlightenment (in sanskrit, known as bodhi) while sitting under a tree and meditating.

The former prince, Siddhartha Gautauma, had recently given up years of self-enforced fasting, service, and poverty and resolved to sit under a tree and simply meditate until he could finally find the root of suffering and how to liberate oneself from it. It took him more than 40 days.

The deep silence brought an awareness of several Noble Truths. As the morning star rose in the sky in the early morning, Siddhartha Gautauma finally found the answers he sought, became enlightened, and experienced Nirvana: By behaving decently, cultivating discipline, and practicing mindfulness and meditation, an end can be put to craving, to clinging, to our aversion to what is not pleasurable, and therefore to our dissatisfaction. (300-600 BCE)

And 72 years ago today, the film adaptation of the Broadway musical On the Town, debuted on the big screen starring Frank Sinatra and Gene Kelly (who also choreographed and co-directed). The film was notable for its location shooting, as a result of Gene Kelly’s insistence that some scenes be shot in NYC locations, including the Museum of Natural History, the Brooklyn Bridge, and Rockefeller Center.

A story about three sailors excited to begin their 24-hour shore leave in New York City, On The Town was an immediate success and won the Oscar for Best Musical Score. Riding the subway, one of them falls in love with a fleeting stranger, so the sailors race around attempting to find her, assisted by two women whom they become romantically involved with.

In 2006, the film ranked No. 19 on the American Film Institute’s list of Best Musicals. WATCH ‘New York, New York, it’s a wonderful town…’ (1949)

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