Five People Born on March 15

Today is March 15, 2010 and the 74th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar.  There are 290 days left in the year 2010. According the Mayan calendar, there are 1012 days till the end of the current cycle.  It is the Ides of March, made famous in the Shakespearean play, Julius Caesar.  On this date, in 44 BC, Julius Caesar was assassinated.  Here are five people that share a birthday on this day:

Andrew Jackson (1767-1845)
Old Hickory was a military hero and seventh president of the United States (1829–37). He was the first U.S. president to come from the area west of the Appalachians and the first to gain office by a direct appeal to the mass of voters. His political movement has since been known as Jacksonian Democracy.  He was also the military governor (1821) of Florida and the commander of the American forces during the Battle of New Orleans (1815).  He is remembered by some as the protector of American freedoms, while others remember him for his support of slavery and the removal of the American Indians from there homelands.  He was an Indian fighter who fought against Tecumseh in Tennessee and the Seminoles in Florida during the War of 1812.  However, his crowning moment of the war came in the defense of New Orleans where Jackson gathered the help of Jean Lafitte and pirates against the British.  His 5000 men beat 7500 British, but the amazing thing was that the Americans only had 71 casualties, while they dealt more than 2000 British casualties, including three senior generals.  In 1824, he was elected to the U.S. Senate, served one term and became President of the United States in 1828.  He served two terms as President.  Some of the achievements during his presidency was to completely eliminate the national debt.  He is the only President ever to do this.  He also tried to eliminate the electoral college system, but failed.  However, for what Jackson did do correct, he was also responsible for causing the Trail of Tears, the forced removal of the Indians from their homelands east of the Mississippi.  Because of this, thousands of Indians were slaughtered by white Americans, disease, and the elements.  Jackson was also the first U.S. President to have an assault upon him.  He was struck by a naval officer whom Jackson had dismissed from the Navy for embezzlement.  Members of Jackson’s party, including Davy Crockett and Washington Irving, captured the officer and it is said that Jackson beat the man with his cane. 

Bret Michaels (Born 1963)
Singer, songwriter, actor, and television personality, he was born Bret Michael Sychak in Butler, Pennsylvania.  Bret Michaels became a rock icon as the front man of Poison, one of the biggest hair metal bands of the 1980s. He has also recently become a reality television star with Rock of Love and this year’s Celebrity Apprentice.  At the age of 6, Michaels was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. Throughout his career, he has taken insulin and measured his blood sugar levels to manage his illness.  In the early 1980s, Michaels started playing in a band with longtime friend and drummer Rikki Rockett. The two later joined bassist Bobby Dall and guitarist Matt Smith to form the band Paris. After playing mostly local gigs in the Pittsburgh area, the band moved to Los Angeles. Not long after their arrival, Smith was replaced by C. C. DeVille, and the band changed its name to Poison. Like some of the other LA metal bands of the time, Michaels and the rest of the group teased their hair, went heavy on the make-up, and worn outlandish outfits, which led critics to label such groups as hair metal bands. They were sometimes compared to Mötley Crüe, another up-and-coming LA metal band.  After making the rounds on the LA club scene, Poison landed a contract with Enigma Records. Their first album, Look What the Cat Dragged In, was released in 1986. Not only was Michaels the group’s leader singer, but he also worked with the other members to write all of the songs for the recording. The recording nearly reached the top of the album charts the next year, driven such hits as “Talk Dirty to Me.” The group then went on tour with Ratt, Cinderella, and Quiet Riot.  Their second album, Open Up and Say . . . Ahh! (1988) was an even bigger smash. The infectious party anthem “Nothin’ But a Good Time” broke into the top ten while the ballad “Every Rose Has Its Thorn” made it all the way to the top of the pop charts.  The follow-up album, Flesh and Blood (1990), also did well on the album charts and featured the hit “Unskinny Bop” and the power ballad “Something to Believe In.”  Michaels also made headlines for a very different type of performance. A sex tape involving him and former girlfriend Pamela Anderson ended up in the hands of the Internet Entertainment Group. To stop its release, Michaels sued the company. It was unclear how the company got possession of the tape.  Taking his career in a new direction, Michaels shared his quest for love with television audiences in the reality show, Rock of Love, in 2007. A group of women vied for his affection while undertaking a number of different challenges. Reviled by critics, the show received a number of harsh reviews, including this comment from The New York Times: “The well-meaning has-been Bret is surrounded with women who are too young, too frantic or too high to know that being easy isn’t funny in itself.” Still, audience members became hooked on the show for all its odd-ball characters and Michaels’ candid commentary. Michaels also incorporated his diabetes into the program, teaching the contestants what to do in case of emergency.  This year, he has joined Donald Trump on the 2010 season of Celebrity Apprentice.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg (Born 1933)
Brooklyn-born associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States from 1993. She was only the second woman to serve on the Supreme Court.  Ginsburg graduated from Cornell University in 1954, finishing first in her class. She attended Harvard Law School, where she was elected president of her class, for two years before transferring to Columbia Law School to join her husband, who had been hired by a prestigious law firm in New York City. She was elected to the law reviews of both schools and graduated tied for first in her class at Columbia in 1959. Despite her outstanding academic record, Ginsburg was turned down for numerous jobs after graduation because she was a woman.  After clerking for U.S. District Judge Edmund L. Palmieri (1959–61), she taught at Rutgers University Law School (1963–72) and at Columbia (1972–80), where she became the school’s first female tenured professor. During the 1970s she also served as the director of the Women’s Rights Project of the American Civil Liberties Union, for which she argued six landmark cases on gender equality before the Supreme Court. She won five of those cases and thereby helped establish the unconstitutionality of unequal treatment of men and women.  In 1980 President Jimmy Carter appointed Ginsburg to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. She served there until she was appointed to the Supreme Court in 1993 by President Bill Clinton to fill the seat vacated by Justice Byron White; she was easily confirmed by the Senate (96–3).  As a lawyer, Ginsburg had been known for her pioneering advocacy of the rights of women. As a judge, she favoured caution, moderation, and restraint. She was considered part of the Supreme Court’s minority moderate-liberal bloc.  In 1996 Ginsburg wrote the Supreme Court’s landmark decision in United States v. Virginia, which held that the state-supported Virginia Military Institute could not refuse to admit women. Despite her reputation for restrained writing, she gathered considerable attention for her dissenting opinion in the case of Bush v. Gore, which effectively decided the 2000 presidential election between George W. Bush and Al Gore. Objecting to the court’s majority opinion favouring Bush, Ginsburg deliberately and subtly concluded her decision with the words, “I dissent”—a significant departure from the tradition of including the adverb respectfully.

Jimmy Swaggart (Born 1935)
This Pentacostal evangelist was the first child born to sharecroppers Minnie and W.L. Swaggart, who were fervent participants in the local Assemblies of God congregation. Throughout his teens, Swaggart and his cousin Jerry Lee Lewis rebelled from their religious environment by frequenting local rhythm and blues clubs, where they quickly gained reputations for their piano playing ability. Over the next few years, Swaggart struggled with the demands of his family’s fundamentalist Pentecostal faith and his love for music.  Swaggart abandoned his pursuit of a musical career, deciding instead to dedicate his life to the church. In 1952, he joined his father’s newly formed ministry, where he met and married fellow parishioner Frances Anderson. After joining a group of itinerant preachers, the couple spent the next few years traveling throughout the South.  In 1962, with the help of the now-famous Lewis, Swaggart recorded the gospel album God Took Away My Yesterdays. Impressive record sales coupled with a growing congregation influenced Swaggart to form his own record label. With annual recordings that included the bestselling albums This Is Just What Heaven Means to Me and There Is a River, he continued to draw larger and more diverse audiences.  In 1968, Swaggart moved to Baton Rogue, where he launched a national radio program called The Camp Meeting Hour. By the late 1970s, The Camp Meeting Hour was broadcast on 650 radio stations while Swaggart continued to lead revivals with audiences estimated in the thousands. Swaggart’s success on radio inspired him to try his hand at the much more lucrative medium of television. Featuring fiery rhetoric and extremist ideology, The Jimmy Swaggart Telecast premiered on Jim and Tammy Bakker’s fledgling PTL Network in the mid-1970s. The show reached and audience of two million, becoming the highest rated religious program in America.  At the height of his popularity, Swaggart was a celebrity in the gospel circuit, with a lavish lifestyle to match. With contributions from his loyal parishioners, Swaggart was able to finance a Bible college, printing plant, recording studio, television production center, and church sanctuary, as well as a $2.5 million estate that housed his fleet of expensive cars and private jets.  Swaggart’s empire began to unravel in 1987, when the national spotlight fell on his adulterous affairs with various prostitutes. As sufficient evidence of Swaggart’s numerous sexual liaisons surfaced, the Assemblies of God striped him of his ministerial credentials. Despite a tearful confession to his family and congregation, his immediate attempts to escape ridicule and rebuild the Jimmy Swaggart Ministries proved to be in vain.  Swaggart has since reestablished himself as a minister. With his son Donnie, he maintains a smaller congregation at the Family Worship Center in Baton Rouge.

Eva Longoria (Born 1975)
Actress and model,  Eva Jacqueline Longoria was born in Corpus Christi, Texas. A beauty pageant contestant in her youth, Longoria got her first break in show business with a regular role on The Young and the Restless from 2001 to 2003. Her breakthrough role came in 2004 as Gabrielle Solis on the hit television series Desperate Housewives. Longoria was married to actor Tyler Christopher from 2002 to 2004. She is currently dating basketball star Tony Parker of the San Antonio Spurs.