December 8, 1790 – Publisher and social reformer Richard Carlile isÂ born inÂ Ashburton, Devon, England. He crusaded for universal suffrage, for equal rights for men and women, and against child labor. A Deist-turned-atheist, he published and distributed the works of Thomas Paine as well as his own periodical The Republican.Â Carlile was arrested and jailed repeatedly for sedition, blasphemy and related charges, and spent many years in jail. He died in poverty in London in 1843, having donated his body for medical research.
December 8, 1992 – University of Colorado students Trey Parker and Matt Stone release their short animation “The Spirit of Christmas,” which features prototypes of the South Park kids and a fight between Jesus and Frosty the Snowman. Despite (or perhaps because of) its sick humor and crude cutout animation, the workÂ attracted the attention of Fox TV executive Brian Graden, who paid $1,000 for another piece, also called “The Spirit of Christmas,” featuring a fight between Jesus and Santa. The popularity of “Jesus vs. Frosty” and “Jesus vs. Santa” landed a deal for Parker and Stone to develop an animated series for Comedy Central: South Park premiered in 1997.
December 8, 1983 – During a speech at the National Forum on Excellence in Education in Indianapolis, Indiana, President Ronald Reagan mistakenly claims that “The motto of the United States is ‘E Pluribus Unum,’ from many, one.”Â In fact, “In God We Trust” has been the official motto of the US since 1956, fueled by anti-communistic panic. While “E Pluribus Unum” (Latin for “Out of Many, One”) has appeared on the Great Seal of the United States since 1782, it has never been officially declared the country’sÂ motto. Reagan’s gaffe was hardly noticed by media or his fellow conservatives. By contrast, on November 10, 2010, President Barack Obama made a similar error during a speech while visiting Indonesia–conservatives were quick to outrage, demanding that he issue a correction.
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