Today in History

Today is Thursday, June 9, the 161st day of 2016. There are 205 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On June 9, 1986, the Rogers Commission released its report on the Challenger disaster, criticizing NASA and rocket-builder Morton Thiokol for management problems leading to the explosion that claimed the lives of seven astronauts.

On this date:

In A.D. 68, Roman Emperor Nero committed suicide, ending a 13-year reign.

In 1870, author Charles Dickens died in Gad’s Hill Place, England.

In 1911, Carrie (sometimes spelled “Carry”) A. Nation, the hatchet-wielding temperance crusader, died in Leavenworth, Kan., at age 64.

In 1934, the first Walt Disney-animated cartoon featuring Donald Duck, “The Wise Little Hen,” was released.

In 1943, the federal government began withholding income tax from paychecks.

In 1946, Bhumibol Adulyadej became king of Thailand at age 18, beginning a reign that continues to this day.

In 1953, 94 people died when a tornado struck Worcester, Mass.

In 1954, during the Senate-Army Hearings, Army special counsel Joseph N. Welch famously berated Sen. Joseph R. McCarthy, R-Wis., asking McCarthy: “Have you no sense of decency, sir? At long last, have you left no sense of decency?”

In 1969, the Senate confirmed Warren Burger to be the new chief justice of the United States, succeeding Earl Warren.

In 1973, Secretariat won the Belmont Stakes, becoming horse racing’s first Triple Crown winner in 25 years.

In 1985, American educator Thomas Sutherland was kidnapped in Lebanon by members of Islamic Jihad; he was released in November 1991 along with fellow hostage Terry Waite.

In 1994, a fire destroyed the Georgia mansion of Atlanta Falcons receiver Andre Rison; his girlfriend, rap singer Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes, admitted causing the blaze after a fight, and was later sentenced to probation.

Ten years ago: President George W. Bush said the elimination of al-Qaida in Iraq founder Abu Musab al-Zarqawi two days earlier “helps a lot” with security problems in Iraq but wouldn’t bring an end to the war.

Five years ago: The entire top echelon of Newt Gingrich’s presidential campaign resigned in a mass exodus that left his bid for the Republican nomination in tatters; the former House speaker vowed defiantly to remain a candidate. Alabama passed a tough law against illegal immigration, requiring schools to find out if students were in the country lawfully and making it a crime to knowingly give an illegal immigrant a ride. (Federal courts have since blocked parts of the law.)

One year ago: Former U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert pleaded not guilty in Chicago to charges that he had violated banking rules and lied to the FBI about promising to pay $3.5 million in hush money to conceal misconduct from his days as a high school teacher. (Hastert later pleaded guilty to violating banking law in a case that revealed accusations of sexual abuse, and was sentenced to 15 months in prison.) President Barack Obama, addressing the annual Catholic Health Association Conference in Washington, declared his health-care law a firmly established “reality” of American life.

Today’s Birthdays: Comedian Jackie Mason is 88. Media analyst Marvin Kalb is 86. Former baseball manager and player Bill Virdon is 85. Sports commentator Dick Vitale is 77. Author Letty Cottin Pogrebin is 77. Rock musician Mick Box (Uriah Heep) is 69. Retired MLB All-Star Dave Parker is 65. Film composer James Newton Howard is 65. Mystery author Patricia Cornwell is 60. Actor Michael J. Fox is 55. Writer-producer Aaron Sorkin is 55. Actor Johnny Depp is 53. Actress Gloria Reuben is 52. Gospel singer-actress Tamela Mann is 50. Rock musician Dean Felber (Hootie & the Blowfish) is 49. Rock musician Dean Dinning is 49. Musician Ed Simons is 46. Country musician Shade Deggs (Cole Deggs and the Lonesome) is 42. Bluegrass singer-musician Jamie Dailey (Dailey & Vincent) is 41. Actress Michaela Conlin is 38. Actress Natalie Portman is 35. Actress Mae Whitman is 28. Actor Lucien Laviscount (TV: “Scream Queens”) is 24.

Thought for Today: “Imagination was given to man to compensate him for what he isn’t. A sense of humor was provided to console him for what he is.” — Horace Walpole, English author (1717-1797).

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