Today in Saturday, Dec. 14, the 348th day of 2019. There are 17 days left in the year.
Today’s Highlight in History:
On Dec. 14, 2012, a gunman with a semi-automatic rifle killed 20 first-graders and six educators at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, then committed suicide as police arrived; the 20-year-old had also fatally shot his mother at their home before carrying out the attack on the school.
On this date:
In 1799, the first president of the United States, George Washington, died at his Mount Vernon, Virginia, home at age 67.
In 1819, Alabama joined the Union as the 22nd state.
In 1861, Prince Albert, husband of Queen Victoria, died at Windsor Castle at age 42.
In 1911, Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen (ROH’-ahl AH’-mun-suhn) and his team became the first men to reach the South Pole, beating out a British expedition led by Robert F. Scott.
In 1916, President Woodrow Wilson vetoed an immigration measure aimed at preventing “undesirables” and anyone born in the “Asiatic Barred Zone” from entering the U.S. (Congress overrode Wilson’s veto in Feb. 1917.)
In 1939, the Soviet Union was expelled from the League of Nations for invading Finland.
In 1964, the U.S. Supreme Court, in Heart of Atlanta Motel v. United States, ruled that Congress was within its authority to enforce the Civil Rights Act of 1964 against racial discrimination by private businesses (in this case, a motel that refused to cater to blacks).
In 1981, Israel annexed the Golan Heights, which it had seized from Syria in 1967.
In 1985, Wilma Mankiller became the first woman to lead a major American Indian tribe as she took office as principal chief of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma. Former New York Yankees outfielder Roger Maris, who’d hit 61 home runs during the 1961 season, died in Houston at age 51.
In 1988, President Reagan authorized the U-S to enter into a “substantive dialogue” with the Palestine Liberation Organization, after chairman Yasser Arafat said he was renouncing “all forms of terrorism.”
In 2003, a weary, disheveled Saddam Hussein was displayed on television screens worldwide, a day after his capture by American troops.
In 2005, President George W. Bush defended his decision to wage the Iraq war, even as he acknowledged that “much of the intelligence turned out to be wrong.”
Ten years ago: President Barack Obama implored top bankers to help keep the fragile recovery from faltering by boosting lending to small businesses and getting behind an overhaul of financial regulation. Dubai got a $10 billion lifeline from oil-rich Abu Dhabi, securing a last-minute cash infusion aimed at preventing a default that risked sparking broader fears about the city-state’s shaky finances.
Five years ago: A last-minute deal salvaged U.N. climate talks in Lima, Peru, from collapse. Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe scored a decisive election victory and promised to push efforts to revitalize the world’s third largest economy. Politician, TV personality and onetime Miss America Bess Myerson died in Santa Monica, California, at age 90.
One year ago: President Donald Trump picked budget director Mick Mulvaney to be his acting chief of staff, replacing John Kelly. Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker signed a sweeping package of Republican legislation that weakened the incoming Democratic governor and attorney general. Stocks fell to eight-month lows after weak economic data from China and Europe set off more worries about the global economy. A federal court found that a 1974 New York state ban on nunchucks, the martial arts weapon made famous by Bruce Lee, was unconstitutional under the Second Amendment.
Today’s Birthdays: Singer-actress Abbe Lane is 88. Actor Hal Williams is 85. Actress-singer Jane Birkin is 73. Pop singer Joyce Vincent-Wilson (Tony Orlando and Dawn) is 73. Entertainment executive Michael Ovitz is 73. Actress Dee Wallace is 71. Rhythm-and-blues singer Ronnie McNeir (The Four Tops) is 70. Rock musician Cliff Williams is 70. Actor-comedian T.K. Carter is 63. Rock singer-musician Mike Scott (The Waterboys) is 61. Singer-musician Peter “Spider” Stacy (The Pogues) is 61. Actress Cynthia Gibb is 56. Actress Nancy Valen is 54. Actor Archie Kao is 50. Actress Natascha McElhone is 50. Actress-comedian Michaela Watkins is 48. Actress-comedian Miranda Hart is 47. Rhythm-and-blues singer Brian Dalyrimple (Soul For Real) is 44. Actress KaDee Strickland is 44. Actress Tammy Blanchard is 43. Actress Sophie Monk is 40. Actor-singer-musician Jackson Rathbone is 35. Actress Vanessa Hudgens is 31. Rock/R&B singer Tori Kelly is 27.
Thought for Today: “The trouble with our times is that the future is not what it used to be.” — Paul Valery, French philosopher (1871-1945).