Today in History
Today is Tuesday, Jan. 21, the 21st day of 2020. There are 345 days left in the year.
Today’s Highlight in History:
On Jan. 21, 1861, Jefferson Davis of Mississippi and four other Southerners whose states had seceded from the Union resigned from the U.S. Senate.
On this date:
In 1793, during the French Revolution, King Louis XVI, condemned for treason, was executed on the guillotine.
In 1908, New York City’s Board of Aldermen passed an ordinance prohibiting women from smoking in public establishments (the measure was vetoed by Mayor George B. McClellan Jr., but not before one woman, Katie Mulcahey, was jailed overnight for refusing to pay a fine).
In 1924, Russian revolutionary Vladimir Lenin died at age 53.
In 1950, former State Department official Alger Hiss, accused of being part of a Communist spy ring, was found guilty in New York of lying to a grand jury. (Hiss, who proclaimed his innocence, served less than four years in prison.)
In 1954, the first atomic submarine, the USS Nautilus, was launched at Groton (GRAH’-tuhn), Connecticut (however, the Nautilus did not make its first nuclear-powered run until nearly a year later).
In 1976, British Airways and Air France inaugurated scheduled passenger service on the supersonic Concorde jet.
In 1977, on his first full day in office, President Jimmy Carter pardoned almost all Vietnam War draft evaders.
In 1982, convict-turned-author Jack Henry Abbott was found guilty in New York of first-degree manslaughter in the stabbing death of waiter Richard Adan in 1981. (Abbott was later sentenced to 15 years to life in prison; he committed suicide in 2002.)
In 1994, a jury in Manassas, Virginia, found Lorena Bobbitt not guilty by reason of temporary insanity of maliciously wounding her husband John, whom she’d accused of sexually assaulting her.
In 1997, Speaker Newt Gingrich was reprimanded and fined as the House voted for the first time in history to discipline its leader for ethical misconduct.
In 2003, the Census Bureau announced that Hispanics had surpassed blacks as America’s largest minority group.
In 2007, Lovie Smith became the first black head coach to make it to the Super Bowl when his Chicago Bears won the NFC championship, beating the New Orleans Saints 39-14; Tony Dungy became the second when his Indianapolis Colts took the AFC title over the New England Patriots, 38-34.
Ten years ago: A bitterly divided U.S. Supreme Court, in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, vastly increased the power of big business and labor unions to influence government decisions by freeing them to spend their millions directly to sway elections for president and Congress. Former Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards finally admitted fathering a daughter during an affair before his second White House bid. Toyota recalled 2.3 million U.S. vehicles to fix accelerator pedals.
Five years ago: Defying President Barack Obama, House Speaker John Boehner (BAY’-nur) announced that he’d invited Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to stand before Congress and push for new sanctions against its archenemy Iran. (Netanyahu addressed Congress on March 3, 2015.) In an embarrassing setback, House Republicans abruptly decided to drop planned debate of a bill criminalizing virtually all late-term abortions after objections from GOP women and other lawmakers left them short of votes.
One year ago: A light aircraft carrying Argentine soccer player Emiliano Sala to his new team in Wales went missing over the English Channel; Sala’s body was recovered from the wreckage two weeks later. Security forces in Venezuela put down a pre-dawn uprising by national guardsmen that triggered violent street protests; the move came as opposition leaders regained momentum in their efforts to oust President Nicolas Maduro. First-term senator and former California attorney general Kamala Harris entered the Democratic presidential race. (Harris would withdraw from the race in December.) Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist and author Russell Baker died at the age of 93. Former Sen. Harris Wofford of Pennsylvania, a longtime civil rights activist, died at the age of 92. Comedian and singer Kaye Ballard, who starred with Eve Arden in the 1960s TV sitcom “The Mothers-In-Law,” died at her California home; she was 93.
Today’s Birthdays: World Golf Hall of Famer Jack Nicklaus is 80. Opera singer-conductor Placido Domingo is 79. Singer Mac Davis is 78. Actress Jill Eikenberry is 73. Country musician Jim Ibbotson is 73. Singer-songwriter Billy Ocean is 70. Former U.S. Ambassador to China Gary Locke is 70. Former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder is 69. Actor-director Robby Benson is 64. Actress Geena Davis is 64. Sen. Kevin Cramer, R-N.D., is 59. Basketball Hall of Famer Hakeem Olajuwon is 57. Actress Charlotte Ross is 52. R-and-B singer Marc Gay is 51. Actor John Ducey is 51. Actress Karina Lombard is 51. Actor Ken Leung is 50. Rapper Levirt (B-Rock and the Bizz) is 50. Rock musician Mark Trojanowski (Sister Hazel) is 50. Rock singer-songwriter Cat Power is 48. Rock DJ Chris Kilmore (Incubus) is 47. Actor Vincent Laresca is 46. Singer Emma Bunton (Spice Girls) is 44. Actor Jerry Trainor is 43. Country singer Phil Stacey is 42. Rhythm-and-blues singer Nokio (Dru Hill) is 41. Actress Izabella Miko (MEE’-koh) is 39. Actor Luke Grimes is 36. Actress Feliz Ramirez is 28.
Thought for Today: “I honestly think it is better to be a failure at something you love than to be a success at something you hate.” — George Burns, American comedian (1896-1996).
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