Today is Tuesday, Dec. 29, the 363rd day of 2009. There are 2 days left in the year.
Today’s Highlight in History
On Dec. 29, 1170, Thomas Becket, the Archbishop of Canterbury, was murdered in Canterbury Cathedral by knights loyal to King Henry II.
On this date
In 1808, the 17th president of the United States, Andrew Johnson, and the first American president to be impeached, was born in Raleigh, N.C.
In 1809, British Prime Minister William E. Gladstone was born in Liverpool.
In 1845, Texas was admitted as the 28th state.
In 1851, the first YMCA in the U.S. was organized, in Boston.
In 1890, the Wounded Knee massacre took place in South Dakota as an estimated 300 Sioux Indians were killed by U.S. troops sent to disarm them.
In 1916, Grigory Rasputin, the so-called “Mad Monk” who’d wielded great influence with Czar Nicholas II, was murdered by a group of Russian noblemen in St. Petersburg, Russia.
In 1934, Japan formally renounced the Washington Naval Treaty of 1922.
In 1940, during World War II, Germany dropped incendiary bombs on London, setting off what came to be known as “The Second Great Fire of London.”
In 1957, singers Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gorme were wed in Las Vegas.
In 1975, a bomb exploded in the main terminal of New York’s LaGuardia Airport, killing 11 people.
In 1986, former British Prime Minister Harold Macmillan died at his home in Sussex, England, at age 92.
In 1989, playwright Vaclav Havel was elected president of Czechoslovakia by the country’s Federal Assembly, becoming the first non-Communist to hold the post in more than four decades.
In 1996,war-weary guerrilla and government leaders in Guatemala signed an accord ending 36 years of civil conflict.
In 1998, Khmer Rouge leaders apologized for the 1970s genocide in Cambodia that claimed 1 million lives.
In 1999, ten years ago, the Nasdaq composite index closed above 4,000 for the first time, ending the day at 4,041.46.
In 2004, five years ago, President George W. Bush assembled a four-nation coalition to organize humanitarian relief for Asia and made clear the United States would help bankroll long-term rebuilding in the region leveled by a massive earthquake and tsunamis.
In 2004, Bush denounced Osama bin Laden’s call to boycott the Iraqi elections, saying that the balloting would mark a crossroads for Iraq.
In 2007, the New England Patriots became the first NFL team in 35 years to finish the regular season undefeated when they beat the New York Giants 38-35 to go 16-0.
In 2008, one year ago, Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s lawyer responded to impeachment charges, saying a vague array of charges and evidence did not merit removing his client from office.
In 2008, Somali President Abdullahi Yusuf resigned, saying he had lost control of the country to Islamic insurgents.
In 2008, the African Union suspended Guinea after a coup in the West African nation.
In 2008, Grammy-winning jazz musician Freddie Hubbard died in Sherman Oaks, Calif., at age 70.
In 2008, French fashion designer Ted Lapidus died in Cannes at age 79.
Actress Inga Swenson is 77. ABC newscaster Tom Jarriel is 75. Actress Mary Tyler Moore is 73. Actor Jon Voight is 71. Country singer Ed Bruce is 70. Rock musician Ray Thomas is 68. Singer Marianne Faithfull is 63. Jockey Laffit Pincay Jr. is 63. Actor Ted Danson is 62. Actor Jon Polito is 59. Singer-actress Yvonne Elliman is 58. Actress Patricia Clarkson is 50. Comedian Paula Poundstone is 50. Rock singer-musician Jim Reid (The Jesus and Mary Chain) is 48. Actor Michael Cudlitz is 45. Rock singer Dexter Holland (The Offspring) is 44. Actor-comedian Mystro Clark is 43. Actor Jason Gould is 43. Movie director Andy Wachowski is 42. Actress Jennifer Ehle is 40. Actor Patrick Fischler is 40. Rock singer-musician Glen Phillips is 39. Actor Kevin Weisman is 39. Actor Jude Law is 37. Actor Mekhi Phifer is 35. Actor Shawn Hatosy is 34. Actress Katherine Moennig is 32. Actor Diego Luna is 30. Country singer Jessica Andrews is 26.
Today’s Historic Birthdays
12/29/1721 – 4/15/1764
French mistress of Louis XV
12/29/1766 – 7/25/1843
Scottish chemist and inventor
12/29/1800 – 7/1/1860
American inventor; pioneered commercial use of rubber
12/29/1808 – 7/31/1875
17th President of the United States (1865-69)
12/29/1809 – 5/19/1898
English statesman and four-time prime minister (1868-74, 1880-85, 1886, 1892-94)
12/29/1876 – 10/22/1973
Spanish cellist and conductor
12/29/1879 – 2/19/1936
U.S. Army officer and early advocate of a separate air force
12/29/1881 – 12/15/1968
12/29/1911 – 1/28/1988
German-born American physicist and spy
12/29/1922 – 12/16/1998
Thought for Today
“The wise man must be wise before, not after.” – Epicharmus, Sicilian Greek comic poet (? – c.450 B.C.)