Today is Saturday, December 12th, the 346th day of 2009. There are 19 days left in the year. See the UPI's version.
Today's Highlight in History: On Dec. 12, 1917, Father Edward Flanagan founded Boys Town outside Omaha, Neb.
On this date:
In 1787, Pennsylvania became the second state to ratify the US Constitution.
In 1870, Joseph H. Rainey of South Carolina became the first black lawmaker sworn into the US House of Representatives.
In 1897, "The Katzenjammer Kids," the pioneering comic strip created by Rudolph Dirks, made its debut in the New York Journal.
In 1901, Italian physicist and radio pioneer Guglielmo Marconi sent the first radio transmission across the Atlantic Ocean.
In 1906, President Theodore Roosevelt nominated Oscar Straus to be Secretary of Commerce and Labor; Straus became the first Jewish Cabinet member.
In 1913, authorities in Florence, Italy, announced that the "Mona Lisa," stolen from the Louvre Museum in Paris in 1911, had been recovered.
In 1914, the Dow Jones Industrial Average suffered its worst percentage drop in history - 24.39 percent - on the first day of trading in more than four months. (The New York Stock Exchange had shut down when World War I began in July.)
In 1925, the first motel -- the Motel Inn -- opened in San Luis Obispo, California. [Followed by the opening of the No-Tell Motel & The Snooty Fox on Figueroa not too much later. — Ed.]
In 1937, Japanese aircraft sank the US gunboat Panay on China's Yangtze River. (Japan apologized, and paid $2.2 million in reparations.)
In 1946, a United Nations committee voted to accept a six-block tract of Manhattan real estate offered as a gift by John D. Rockefeller Jr. to be the site of U.N. headquarters. [The first step to world domination by the CFR & The Trilateral Commission. — Ed.]
In 1947, the United Mine Workers union withdrew from the American Federation of Labor.
In 1963, Kenya gained its independence from Britain.
In 1975, Sara Jane Moore pleaded guilty to trying to kill President Gerald R. Ford. [Had she killed him, Nelson Rockefeller would have become President & who knows what would have happened? — Ed.]
In 1981, martial law was imposed in Poland.
In 1985, 248 American soldiers and eight crew members were killed when an Arrow Air charter crashed after takeoff from Gander, Newfoundland.
In 1989, in New York, hotel queen Leona Helmsley, 69, was sentenced to four years in prison and fined $7.1 million for tax evasion. (Helmsley served 18 months behind bars, plus a month at a halfway house and two months of house arrest.) Five Central American presidents, including Nicaragua's Daniel Ortega, called for an end to the rebel offensive against El Salvador's U.S.-backed government.
In 1990, 15 people were killed and more than 260 injured in a pileup of vehicles on a foggy Tennessee highway.
In 1991, the Russian parliament ratified a commonwealth treaty linking the three strongest Soviet republics in the nation's most profound change since the 1917 revolution.
In 1992, Princess Anne, the only daughter of Queen Elizabeth II of Britain, became the first divorced royal in the inner circle to remarry when she wed Cmdr. Timothy Laurence.
In 1998, the House Judiciary Committee approved a fourth and final article of impeachment against President Bill Clinton and submitted the case to the full House.
In 1999, author Joseph Heller, whose darkly comic first novel "Catch-22" defined the paradox of the no-win dilemma and added a phrase to the American language, died in East Hampton, N.Y. at age 76.
In 2000, a divided US Supreme Court reversed a state court decision for recounts in Florida's contested election, transforming George W. Bush into the president-elect. The Marine Corps grounded all eight of its high-tech V-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft following a fiery crash in North Carolina that killed four Marines.
In 2002, President Bush publicly rebuked Senate Republican leader Trent Lott for his statement that appeared to embrace half-century-old segregationist politics, calling it "offensive" and "wrong." A defiant North Korea said it would immediately reactivate a nuclear power plant that US officials suspected was being used to develop weapons.
In 2003, Keiko, the killer whale made famous by the "Free Willy" movies, died in the Norwegian fjord that he'd made his home. Paul Martin became Canada's 21st prime minister, succeeding Jean Chretien. Also in 2003, armed men attacked military police near the Ivory Coast's national television station in Abidjan, leaving at least 19 people dead.
In 2004, a bomb exploded in a market in southern Philippines, killing at least 14 people. Militants blew up an Israeli base at the Gaza-Egypt crossing, killing five soldiers. Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas apologized to Kuwaitis for Palestinian support for Saddam Hussein after Iraq invaded Kuwait in 1990.
In 2006, a suicide bomber struck a crowd of mostly poor Shiites in Baghdad, killing some five dozen people and wounding more than 200. A two-day conference questioning the existence of the Nazi Holocaust ended in Tehran. Also in 2006, more than 1,000 federal agents raided Swift meatpacking plants in six states, arresting more than 1,200 undocumented workers in a 10-month probe into identity theft by illegal immigrants. And, Elizabeth Bolden, reportedly the world's oldest person, died at a Memphis nursing home at the age of 116. She was born Aug. 15, 1890, to freed slaves.
In 2007, central banks in Europe and North America worked on plans to lend billions of dollars to the U.S. banking system in an effort to ease the credit crisis. Also in 2007, nearly 30 people were killed and 150 wounded when three car bombs exploded in the southern Iraqi city of Amara. And, Alberto Fujimori, the former president of Peru, was convicted of abuse of power and sentenced to six years in prison.
In 2008, a bomb exploded inside the West Coast Bank in Woodburn, Ore., killing Woodburn Police Capt. Thomas Tennant and Oregon State Police Senior Trooper William Hakim. (Two suspects, Bruce Aldon Turnidge, 58, and his son, Joshua Abraham Turnidge, 32, face murder charges.) An Iraqi journalist, calling him a "dog," threw two shoes at U.S. President Bush during a news conference in the Iraqi prime minister's office in Baghdad. Bush ducked and wasn't struck.
Today's Birthdays December 12: TV host Bob Barker is 86. Former New York City Mayor Edward Koch is 85. Basketball Hall of Famer Bob Pettit is 77. Singer Connie Francis is 71. Singer Dionne Warwick is 69. Rock singer-musician Dickey Betts is 66. Former race car driver Emerson Fittipaldi is 63. Actor Wings Hauser is 62. Actor Bill Nighy is 60. Actor Duane Chase (Film: "The Sound of Music") is 59. Country singer LaCosta is 59. Gymnast-turned-actress Cathy Rigby is 57. Author Lorna Landvik is 55. Singer-musician Sheila E. is 52. Actress Sheree J. Wilson is 51. Pop singer Daniel O'Donnell is 48. Rock musician Eric Schenkman (Spin Doctors) is 46. Rock musician Nicholas Dimichino (Nine Days) is 42. News anchor Maggie Rodriguez is 40. Actress Jennifer Connelly is 39. Actress Madchen Amick is 39. Country singer Hank Williams III is 37. Actress Mayim Bialik is 34. Model Bridget Hall is 32.
Born on This Date & Dead Already:
John Jay, statesman (1745); William Lloyd Garrison, abolitionist (1805); Gustave Flaubert, novelist (1821); Edvard Munch, painter (1863); Edward G. Robinson, actor (1893); Patrick O'Brian, novelist (1914); Frank Sinatra, singer, actor (1915).
Today In Entertainment History December 12
Seventy years ago, in 1939, swashbuckling actor Douglas Fairbanks died in Santa Monica, Calif. at age 56.
In 1967, Brian Jones of the Rolling Stones successfully appealed his nine-month jail sentence for a drug conviction. He was placed on probation instead.
In 1968, "The Rolling Stones Rock and Roll Circus" was filmed in London, featuring the Stones, Eric Clapton, John Lennon and The Who. It remained unreleased for 28 years. Stage and screen actress Tallulah Bankhead died at the age of 65.
In 1974, the Rolling Stones announced guitarist Mick Taylor had left the band. That same day, the band began work on the "Black and Blue" album.
In 1981, singer Smokey Robinson was honored on an "American Bandstand" special.
In 1990, comedian Robin Williams got a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
In 1991, actor Richard Gere and model Cindy Crawford eloped in Las Vegas. They have since divorced.
In 1997, Autumn Jackson, who tried to blackmail Bill Cosby by claiming he was her father, was sentenced to two years in jail.
In 2001, actress Winona Ryder was arrested for shoplifting more than $5,000 worth of merchandise from a department store in Beverly Hills, California. Also in 2001, actress Ashley Judd married racing driver Dario Franchitti in Scotland.
In 2002, actor Nick Nolte pleaded no contest in Malibu, California, to one count of driving under the influence of drugs; he was sentenced to three years' probation.
In 2003, Mick Jagger was knighted by Prince Charles. [Are we hallucinating? Was this not retrospectively reported by the AP just a few days ago? — Ed.]
In 2006, actor Peter Boyle died in New York at age 71.
In 2008, actor Van Johnson died in Nyack, N.Y. at age 92.
Thought for Today: "Experience has taught me that the only cruelties people condemn are those with which they do not happen to be familiar." — Ellen Glasgow, American author (1874-1945).