Today is Sunday, Dec. 6, the 340th day of 2009. There are 25 days left in the year.
Today’s Highlight in History
On Dec. 6, 1884, Army engineers completed construction of the Washington Monument by setting an aluminum capstone atop the obelisk.
On this date
In 1790, Congress moved to Philadelphia from New York.
In 1889, Jefferson Davis, the first and only president of the Confederate States of America, died in New Orleans.
In 1898, Alfred Eisenstaedt, the German-born photographer whose pioneering images for Life magazine helped define American photojournalism, was born.
In 1907, the worst mining disaster in U.S. history occurred as 362 men and boys died in a coal mine explosion in Monongah, W.Va.
In 1917, some 2,000 people died when an explosives-laden French cargo ship collided with a Norwegian vessel at the harbor in Halifax, Nova Scotia, setting off a blast that devastated the city.
In 1917, Finland declared itself independent of Russia, following the Bolshevik Revolution.
In 1921, the British government and Irish leaders Arthur Griffith, Michael Collins, and others signed the Anglo-Irish Treaty, establishing the Irish Free State as an independent member of the British Commonwealth.
In 1922, the Irish Free State came into being under terms of the Anglo-Irish Treaty.
In 1923, a presidential address was broadcast on radio for the first time as President Calvin Coolidge spoke to a joint session of Congress.
In 1939, the Cole Porter musical comedy “Du Barry Was a Lady” opened on Broadway.
In 1947, Everglades National Park in Florida was dedicated by President Harry S. Truman.
In 1957, America’s first attempt at putting a satellite into orbit failed as Vanguard TV3 rose about four feet off a Cape Canaveral launch pad before crashing down and exploding.
In 1957, AFL-CIO members voted to expel the International Brotherhood of Teamsters.
In 1969, a free concert by the Rolling Stones at the Altamont Speedway in Alameda County, Calif., was marred by the deaths of four people, including one who was stabbed by a Hell’s Angel.
In 1973, House minority leader Gerald R. Ford was sworn in as vice president, succeeding Spiro T. Agnew, who had resigned after pleading no contest to income tax evasion.
In 1982, a bomb planted by the Irish National Liberation Army exploded in a pub in Ballykelly, Northern Ireland, killing 11 soldiers and six civilians.
In 1989, 14 women were shot to death at the University of Montreal’s school of engineering by a man who then took his own life.
In 1992, thousands of Hindu extremists destroyed a mosque in India, setting off two months of Hindu-Muslim rioting that claimed at least 2,000 lives.
In 1994, Orange County, Calif., filed for bankruptcy protection due to investment losses of about $2 billion.
In 1998, Hugo Chavez, who had staged a bloody coup attempt against the Venezuelan government six years earlier, was elected president.
In 1999, ten years ago, the Supreme Court, reconsidering its landmark Miranda ruling, agreed to decide whether police were still required to warn criminal suspects that they had a “right to remain silent.” (The justices upheld that right the following June.)
In 1999, SabreTech, an aircraft maintenance company, was convicted of mishandling the oxygen canisters blamed for the cargo hold fire that caused the 1996 ValuJet crash in the Florida Everglades that killed 110 people. (Eight of the nine counts were later thrown out on appeal.)
In 2003, Army became the first team to finish 0-13 in major college football history after a 34-6 loss to Navy.
In 2004, five years ago, militants struck the U.S. Consulate in Jiddah, Saudi Arabia, with explosives and machine guns, killing nine people in an attack claimed by al-Qaida.
In 2004, Ohio certified President George W. Bush’s 119,000-vote victory over Democrat John Kerry, even as the Kerry campaign and third-party candidates prepared to demand a statewide recount.
In 2004, a dozen expensive homes under construction in Indian Head, Md., were deliberately burned down. (Five men either pleaded guilty or were convicted in the case; prosecutors had cited a variety of motives, including anger by some of the white perpetrators that most of the new homeowners were black.)
In 2006, the bipartisan Iraq Study Group concluded that President George W. Bush’s war policies had failed in almost every regard, and said the situation in Iraq was “grave and deteriorating.”
In 2008, one year ago, President-elect Barack Obama said in a Saturday radio and Internet address that he’d asked his economic team for a recovery plan that would save or create more than 2 million jobs.
In 2008, indicted Democratic U.S. Rep. William Jefferson was ousted from his New Orleans area district in a special election won by Republican attorney Anh “Joseph” Cao, who became the first Vietnamese-American in Congress.
In 2008, a Greek youth, 15-year-old Alexandros Grigoropoulos, was shot to death during a confrontation with police in Athens, sparking two weeks of riots.
In 2008, heiress Martha “Sunny” von Bulow, who’d spent the last 28 years of her life in a coma, died in New York City at age 76.
Jazz musician Dave Brubeck is 89. Pro Football Hall of Famer Andy Robustelli is 84. Comedy performer David Ossman is 73. Actor Patrick Bauchau is 71. Country singer Helen Cornelius is 68. Actor James Naughton is 64. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood is 64. R&B singer Frankie Beverly (Maze) is 63. Former Sen. Don Nickles, R-Okla., is 61. Actress JoBeth Williams is 61. Actor Tom Hulce is 56. Actor Kin Shriner is 56. Actor Wil Shriner is 56. Actor Miles Chapin is 55. Rock musician Rick Buckler (The Jam) is 54. Comedian Steven Wright is 54. Country singer Bill Lloyd is 54. Singer Tish Hinojosa is 54. Rock musician Peter Buck (R.E.M.) is 53. Rock musician David Lovering (Pixies) is 48. Actress Janine Turner is 47. Rock musician Ben Watt (Everything But The Girl) is 47. Writer-director Judd Apatow is 42. Rock musician Ulf “Buddha” Ekberg (Ace of Base) is 39. Writer-director Craig Brewer is 38. Actress Colleen Haskell is 33. Actress Lindsay Price is 33. Christian rock musician Jacob Chesnut (Rush of Fools) is 20.
Today’s Historic Birthdays
12/6/1478 – 2/2/1529
Italian diplomat and writer
12/6/1586 – 5/21/1670
Sophie von La Roche
12/6/1731 – 2/18/1807
12/6/1805 – 6/13/1871
(Friedrich) Max Muller
12/6/1823 – 10/28/1900
German orientalist scholar
John Singleton Mosby
12/6/1833 – 5/30/1916
American Confederate guerrilla leader
12/6/1875 – 6/15/1941
English mystical poet
(Alfred) Joyce Kilmer
12/6/1886 – 7/30/1918
Sir Osbert Sitwell
12/6/1892 – 5/4/1969
12/6/1896 – 8/17/1983
American lyricist of Broadway musicals and films
12/6/1898 – 8/23/1995
James J. Braddock
12/6/1905 – 11/29/1974
American boxing champion
Thought for Today
“Marriage is a lottery in which men stake their liberty and women their happiness.” – Madame Virginie de Rieux, 16th-century French writer.