Today is Monday, Dec. 14, the 348th day of 2009. There are 17 days left in the year.
Today’s Highlight in History
On Dec. 14, 1799, the first president of the United States, George Washington, died at his Mount Vernon, Va., home at age 67.
On this date
In 1568, the Casket Letters, found to be damaging to the career of Mary, Queen of Scots, were produced at Westminster before a body of English commissioners appointed by Queen Elizabeth I.
In 1819, Alabama joined the Union as the 22nd state.
In 1861, Prince Albert, husband of Queen Victoria, died in London.
In 1911, Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen and his group became the first men to reach the South Pole, beating out an expedition led by Robert F. Scott.
In 1919, Shirley Jackson, the American writer best known for her story “The Lottery”, was born.
In 1939, the Soviet Union was expelled from the League of Nations for invading Finland.
In 1946, the U.N. General Assembly voted to establish its headquarters in New York.
In 1960, the convention establishing the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development was signed by 18 European countries, the United States, and Canada.
In 1962, the U.S. space probe Mariner 2 approached Venus, transmitting information about the planet.
In 1975, six South Moluccan extremists surrendered after holding 23 hostages for 12 days on a train near the Dutch town of Beilen.
In 1979, the album “London Calling” by the Clash was released.
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.
In 1989, Nobel Peace laureate Andrei D. Sakharov died in Moscow at age 68.
In 1993, a Colorado judge struck down as unconstitutional the state’s voter-approved ban on gay rights laws.
In 1995, presidents Alija Izetbegovic of Bosnia, Slobodan Milosevic of Serbia and Franjo Tudjman of Croatia signed the Bosnian peace treaty in Paris.
In 1997, Cuban President Fidel Castro declared Christmas 1997 an official holiday to ensure the success of Pope John Paul II’s upcoming visit to the communist country.
In 1999, ten years ago, Ahmed Ressam, an Algerian national, was arrested after authorities found nitroglycerin in the trunk of his car as he arrived from Canada by ferry at Port Angeles, Wash. (Ressam was convicted in April 2001 of terrorist conspiracy and eight other charges.)
In 1999, U.S. and German negotiators agreed to establish a $5.2 billion fund for Nazi-era slave and forced laborers.
In 1999, Charles M. Schulz announced he was retiring the “Peanuts” comic strip.
In 2000, the Federal Trade Commission unanimously approved the $111 billion merger of America Online and Time Warner.
In 2004, five years ago, the Federal Reserve raised interest rates for the fifth time since June 2004.
In 2004, President George W. Bush awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom to three figures who were central to his Iraq policy: former CIA Director George Tenet, former Iraq administrator L. Paul Bremer and retired Gen. Tommy Franks.
In 2006, South Korea’s Ban Ki-moon was sworn in as the eighth secretary-general of the United Nations.
In 2008, one year ago, an Iraqi journalist hurled each of his shoes at President George W. Bush during a news conference in Baghdad; Bush ducked the flying footwear as they whizzed past his head and landed against the wall behind him. (The shoe-thrower, Muntadhar al-Zeidi, ended up spending nine months in prison.)
Jazz musician Clark Terry is 89. Singer-actress Abbe Lane is 78. Actor Hal Williams is 71. Actress-singer Jane Birkin is 63. Actress Patty Duke is 63. Pop singer Joyce Vincent-Wilson (Tony Orlando and Dawn) is 63. Entertainment executive Michael Ovitz is 63. Actress Dee Wallace is 61. R&B singer Ronnie McNeir (The Four Tops) is 60. Rock musician Cliff Williams (AC/DC) is 60. Actor-comedian T.K. Carter is 53. Rock singer-musician Mike Scott (The Waterboys) is 51. Singer-musician Peter “Spider” Stacy (The Pogues) is 51. Actress Cynthia Gibb is 46. Actress Natascha McElhone is 40. Actress-comedian Michaela Watkins is 38. R&B singer Brian Dalyrimple (Soul For Real) is 34. Actress KaDee Strickland is 34. Actress Tammy Blanchard is 33. Actress Sophie Monk is 30. Actress Vanessa Hudgens is 21.
Today’s Historic Birthdays
12/14/1503 – 7/2/1566
French astrologer and physician
12/14/1546 – 10/24/1601
12/14/1730 – 4/27/1794
Scottish explorer of Ethiopia
Pierre du Pont
12/14/1739 – 8/6/1817
12/14/1856 – 9/11/1929
American lawyer and activist
12/14/1866 – 9/9/1934
English artist and art critic
12/14/1896 – 9/27/1993
American aviator and World War II army general
12/14/1916 – 8/8/1965
12/14/1935 – 7/2/1991
Thought for Today
“True education makes for inequality; the inequality of individuality, the inequality of success; the glorious inequality of talent, of genius; for inequality, not mediocrity, individual superiority, not standardization, is the measure of the progress of the world.” – Felix Emmanuel Schelling, American educator and scholar (1858-1945).