Today is Thursday, Feb. 23, the 54th day of 2017. There are 311 days left in the year.
Today’s Highlight in History:
On Feb. 23, 1942, the first shelling of the U.S. mainland during World War II occurred as a Japanese submarine fired on an oil refinery near Santa Barbara, California, causing little damage.
On this date:
- In 1836, the siege of the Alamo began in San Antonio, Texas.
- In 1848, the sixth president of the United States, John Quincy Adams, died in Washington, D.C., at age 80.
- In 1870, Mississippi was readmitted to the Union.
- In 1903, President Theodore Roosevelt signed an agreement with Cuba to lease the area around Guantanamo Bay to the United States.
- In 1927, President Calvin Coolidge signed a bill creating the Federal Radio Commission, forerunner of the Federal Communications Commission.
- In 1945, during World War II, U.S. Marines on Iwo Jima captured Mount Suribachi, where they raised a pair of American flags (the second flag-raising was captured in the iconic Associated Press photograph.)
- In 1954, the first mass inoculation of schoolchildren against polio using the Salk vaccine began in Pittsburgh as some 5,000 students were vaccinated.
- In 1965, film comedian Stan Laurel, 74, died in Santa Monica, California.
- In 1970, Guyana became a republic within the Commonwealth of Nations.
- In 1989, the Senate Armed Services Committee voted 11-9 along party lines to recommend rejection of John Tower as President George H.W. Bush’s defense secretary. (Tower’s nomination went down to defeat in the full Senate the following month.)
- In 1992, the XVI Winter Olympic Games ended in Albertville, France.
- In 1997, a 69-year-old Palestinian teacher opened fire on the 86th-floor observation deck of New York’s Empire State Building, killing one person and wounding six others before shooting himself to death.
Ten years ago: A Mississippi grand jury refused to bring any new charges in the 1955 slaying of Emmett Till, the black teenager who was beaten and shot for supposedly whistling at a white woman, declining to indict the woman, Carolyn Bryant Donham, for manslaughter. Democrat Tom Vilsack abandoned his bid for the presidency. Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport became the first in the United States to begin testing new X-ray screening technology that could see through people’s clothes. Forty-six countries attending a conference in Oslo, Norway, agreed to push for a global treaty banning cluster bombs.
Five years ago: President Barack Obama, speaking in Miami, sought to confront public anxiety over rising gasoline prices as he promoted the expansion of domestic oil and gas exploration, as well as the development of new forms of energy. Sandra Fluke (rhymes with “look”), a Georgetown University law student, spoke about the need for health coverage that included birth control during an unofficial Democratic-sponsored hearing on Capitol Hill; her comments drew a savage verbal assault from radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh, who accused Fluke of being a “slut” (Limbaugh later apologized).
One year ago: Donald Trump won the Nevada Republican caucuses; Marco Rubio finished second while Ted Cruz placed third. A 26-year-old gunman killed four family members and torched their house in Phoenix before being shot dead by authorities.
Today’s Birthdays: Actor Peter Fonda is 77. Pro and College Football Hall of Famer Fred Biletnikoff is 74. Author John Sandford is 73. Country-rock musician Rusty Young is 71. Actress Patricia Richardson is 66. Former NFL player Ed “Too Tall” Jones is 66. Rock musician Brad Whitford (Aerosmith) is 65. Singer Howard Jones is 62. Rock musician Michael Wilton (Queensryche) is 55. Country singer Dusty Drake is 53. Actress Kristin Davis is 52. Tennis player Helena Sukova is 52. Actor Marc Price is 49. TV personality/businessman Daymond John (TV: “Shark Tank”) is 48. Actress Niecy Nash is 47. Rock musician Jeff Beres (Sister Hazel) is 46. Country singer Steve Holy is 45. Rock musician Lasse Johansson (The Cardigans) is 44. Actress Kelly Macdonald is 41. Actor Josh Gad is 36. Actress Emily Blunt is 34. Actor Aziz Ansari is 34. Actress Dakota Fanning is 23.
Thought for Today: “Never doubt that a small, group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” — Margaret Mead, American anthropologist (1901-1978).