Today is Friday, Dec. 11, the 345th day of 2009. There are 20 days left in the year. The Jewish Festival of Lights, Hanukkah, begins at sunset. [Do you Joos all have to hide inside & not turn the lights off or on all wk.? — Ed.] From The UPI.Today's Highlight in History:
On Dec. 11, 1936, Britain's King Edward VIII abdicated the throne in order to marry American divorcee Wallis Warfield Simpson.
King Edward VIII
[This happened fucking yesterday too, but it wasn't the daily highlight! WTF? — Ed.]
On this date:
In 1792, France's King Louis XVI went before the Convention to face charges of treason. (Louis was convicted, and executed the following month.)
In 1816, Indiana became the 19th state. [It's where HRH Prince Charles spent his first honeymoon. — Ed.]
In 1844, nitrous oxide was used for the first time in dentistry. [Like booze, but w/ none of the sloppiness. — Ed.]
In 1872, America's first black governor took office as Pinckney Benton Stewart Pinchback became acting governor of Louisiana.
In 1928, police in Buenos Aires announced they had thwarted an attempt on the life of President-elect Herbert Hoover. [Was Hoover there at the time? — Ed.]
In 1937, Italy withdrew from the League of Nations.
In 1941, Germany and Italy declared war on the United States; the U.S. responded in kind.
In 1946, the United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF) was established. [Eventually ruining Halloween for millions of American children. — Ed.]
In 1951, Joe DiMaggio announced his retirement from baseball.
In 1953, Alaska's first TV station signed on the air.
In 1961, a U.S. aircraft carrier carrying Army helicopters arrived in Saigon - the first direct American military support for South Vietnam's battle against Communist guerrillas.
In 1972, humans landed on the moon for the last time during the Apollo 17 mission.
In 1981, the U.N. Security Council chose Javier Perez de Cuellar of Peru to be the fifth secretary-general of the world body. [Waitta minute, does the Security Council pick the Secretary-General? — Ed.]
In 1983, Pope John Paul II visited a Lutheran church in Rome, the first visit by a Roman Catholic pontiff to a Protestant church in his own diocese.
In 1991, a jury in West Palm Beach, Florida, acquitted William Kennedy Smith of sexual battery, rejecting the allegations of Patricia Bowman.
In 1994, thousands of Russian troops rolled into the breakaway republic of Chechnya in a failed bid to restore Moscow's control over the region.
In 1998, the House Judiciary Committee approved three articles of impeachment against President Bill Clinton.
In 1999, agreeing with his wife, Hillary, President Bill Clinton told CBS Radio his 1993 "don't ask, don't tell" policy on gays in the military wasn't working, and he pledged to work with the Pentagon to find a way to fix it. Ron Dayne, Wisconsin's record-setting tailback, was a landslide winner in the Heisman Trophy balloting.
In 2000, shortstop Alex Rodriguez agreed to a $252 million 10-year deal with the Texas Rangers, the most lucrative sports contract in history.
In 2002, the United States let an intercepted shipment of North Korean missiles proceed to the Persian Gulf country of Yemen a day after the vessel was detained. A congressional report found that intelligence agencies that were supposed to protect Americans from the September 11th hijackers failed to do so because they were poorly organized, poorly equipped and slow to pursue clues that might have prevented the attacks.
In 2004, doctors in Austria determined that Ukrainian presidential candidate Viktor Yushchenko had been poisoned with dioxin, which caused severe disfigurement and partial paralysis of his face. Vitali Klitschko stopped Danny Williams in the eighth round to retain his WBC heavyweight title. Southern California quarterback Matt Leinart won the 70th Heisman Trophy.
In 2006, in his farewell address, U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan criticized the Bush administration's leadership on the global stage, warning that America must not sacrifice its democratic ideals while waging war against terrorism. Iran hosted Holocaust deniers from around the world at a conference examining whether the Nazi genocide had taken place. After a two-day journey, space shuttle Discovery reached the international space station for a weeklong stay.
In 2008, Former NASDAQ chairman Bernard Madoff was arrested, accused of running a multibillion-dollar Ponzi scheme that destroyed thousands of people's life savings and wrecked charities. (Madoff is serving a 150-year federal prison sentence.) The remains of missing Florida toddler Caylee Anthony were found six months after she disappeared. (Her mother, Casey Anthony, is charged with first-degree murder.) A suicide bomber killed at least 55 people near Kirkuk, Iraq. Former Teamsters Union president Ron Carey died in New York at age 72.
Today's Birthdays: Composer Elliott Carter is 101. Actor Jean-Louis Trintignant is 79. Actress Rita Moreno is 78. Former California state lawmaker Tom Hayden is 70. Pop singer David Gates (Bread) is 69. Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., is 68. Actress Donna Mills is 67. Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., is 66. Singer Brenda Lee is 65. Actress Lynda Day George is 65. Music producer Tony Brown is 63. Actress Teri Garr is 62. Movie director Susan Seidelman is 57. Actress Bess Armstrong is 56. Singer Jermaine Jackson is 55. Rock musician Mike Mesaros (The Smithereens) is 52. Rock musician Nikki Sixx (Motley Crue) is 51. Rock musician Darryl Jones (The Rolling Stones) is 48. Actor Ben Browder is 47. Singer-musician Justin Currie (Del Amitri) is 45. Rock musician David Schools (Gov't Mule, Widespread Panic) is 45. Actor Gary Dourdan is 43. Actress-comedian Mo'Nique ("The Parkers") is 42. Actor Max Martini is 40. Rapper-actor Mos Def is 36. Actor Rider Strong is 30.
Birthdays of the Less Lively: David Brewster, Scottish physicist and kaleidoscope inventor (1781); Louis-Hector Berlioz, composer (1803); Robert Koch, bacteriologist, discovered the microorganisms causing anthrax, wound infections, tuberculosis, conjunctivitis, cholera, and other diseases (1843); Annie Jump Cannon, astronomer (1863); Fiorello Henry LaGuardia, mayor of New York City (1882); Naguib Mahfouz, novelist (1911); Carlo Ponti, producer (1912?); Russian novelist Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn (1918); Willie Mae "Big Mama" Thornton, blues singer (1926).
This Date in the Business of Show:
In 1882, Boston's Bijou Theatre, the first American playhouse to be lighted exclusively by electricity, gave its first performance, of Gilbert and Sullivan's "Iolanthe."
In 1946, country singer Hank Williams made his first recordings.
In 1957, Jerry Lee Lewis secretly married his 13-year-old cousin, Myra Gale Brown, in Hernando, Tennessee. The movie "Peyton Place," based on the novel by Grace Metalious, had its world premiere in Camden, Maine, where most of it had been filmed.
In 1964, singer Sam Cooke was shot and killed at a Los Angeles motel.
In 1972, Genesis performed its first U.S. concert at a university in Massachusetts. [Too bad they couldn't have nipped that in the bud. — Ed.] Also in 1972, police in Knoxville, Tennessee, arrested singer James Brown for disorderly conduct. The charge was dropped after Brown threatened to sue the city.
In 1992, former talk show host Johnny Carson received the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
In 2008, former pinup model Bettie Page died in Los Angeles at age 85.
Thought for Today: "The fear of life is the favorite disease of the 20th century." — William Lyon Phelps, American educator and journalist (1865-1943).