Today is Thursday, Feb. 2, the 33rd day of 2017. There are 332 days left in the year. This is Groundhog Day.
Today’s Highlight in History:
On Feb. 2, 1887, Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, held its first Groundhog Day festival.
On this date:
- In 1653, New Amsterdam — now New York City — was incorporated.
- In 1848, the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, ending the Mexican-American War, was signed.
- In 1914, Charles Chaplin made his movie debut as the comedy short “Making a Living” was released by Keystone Film Co. The musical “Shameen Dhu,” featuring the song “Too Ra Loo Ra Loo Ral,” opened on Broadway.
- In 1925, the legendary Alaska Serum Run ended as the last of a series of dog mushers brought a life-saving treatment to Nome, the scene of a diphtheria epidemic, six days after the drug left Nenana.
- In 1932, Duke Ellington and His Orchestra recorded “It Don’t Mean a Thing (If It Ain’t Got That Swing)” for Brunswick Records.
- In 1942, a Los Angeles Times column by W.H. Anderson urged security measures against Japanese-Americans, arguing that a Japanese-American “almost inevitably … grows up to be a Japanese, not an American.”
- In 1959, public schools in Arlington and Norfolk, Virginia, were racially desegregated without incident.
- In 1964, Ranger 6, a lunar probe launched by NASA, crashed onto the surface of the moon as planned, but failed to send back any TV images.
- In 1971, Idi Amin, having seized power in Uganda, proclaimed himself president.
- In 1980, NBC News reported the FBI had conducted a sting operation targeting members of Congress using phony Arab businessmen in what became known as “Abscam,” a codename protested by Arab-Americans.
- In 1990, in a dramatic concession to South Africa’s black majority, President F.W. de Klerk lifted a ban on the African National Congress and promised to free Nelson Mandela.
- In 1992, longtime “Miss America” master of ceremonies Bert Parks died in La Jolla, California, at age 77.
Ten years ago: Tornadoes killed 21 people in central Florida. A grim report from the world’s leading climate scientists and government officials said that global warming was so severe, it would “continue for centuries” and that humans were to blame. Texas Gov. Rick Perry issued an order making Texas the first state to require that schoolgirls get vaccinated against HPV, a sexually transmitted virus that causes cervical cancer.
Five years ago: Egyptian security forces clashed with stone-throwing protesters enraged by the failure of police to prevent a soccer riot the night before that killed 74 people. Donald Trump announced his endorsement of Republican Mitt Romney for president, saying the former Massachusetts governor was “not going to allow bad things to continue to happen to this country we all love.”
One year ago: Health officials reported that a person in Texas had become infected with the Zika virus through sex in the first case of the illness being transmitted within the United States. A suicide bomber detonated an explosive aboard a Somali Airbus, forcing it to make an emergency landing at Mogadishu’s international airport; only the bomber was killed. Yahoo announced it was laying off about 1,700 employees. Bob Elliott, half of the enduring television and radio comedy team Bob and Ray, died in Cundy’s Harbor, Maine, at age 92.
Today’s Birthdays: Gossip columnist Liz Smith is 94. Former French President Valery Giscard d’Estaing is 91. Actor Robert Mandan is 85. Comedian Tom Smothers is 80. Rock singer-guitarist Graham Nash is 75. Television executive Barry Diller is 75. Actor Bo Hopkins is 73. Country singer Howard Bellamy (The Bellamy Brothers) is 71. TV chef Ina Garten is 69. Actor Jack McGee is 68. Actor Brent Spiner is 68. Rock musician Ross Valory (Journey) is 68. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, is 65. The president of South Korea, Park Geun-hye, is 65. Model Christie Brinkley is 63. Actor Michael Talbott is 62. Actress Kim Zimmer is 62. Actor Michael T. Weiss is 55. Actor-comedian Adam Ferrara is 51. Rock musician Robert DeLeo (Army of Anyone; Stone Temple Pilots) is 51. Actress Jennifer Westfeldt is 47. Rock musician Ben Mize is 46. Rapper T-Mo is 45. Actress Marissa Jaret Winokur is 44. Actress Lori Beth Denberg is 41. Singer Shakira is 40. Actor Rich Sommer is 39. Country singer Blaine Larsen is 31. Actress Zosia Mamet is 29.
Thought for Today: “Absence is to love what wind is to fire; it extinguishes the small, it inflames the great.” — Bussy-Rabutin, French soldier and writer (1618-1693).