Today is Friday, Feb. 27, the 58th day of 2015. There are 307 days left in the year.
Today’s Highlight in History:
On Feb. 27, 1933, Germany’s parliament building, the Reichstag (RYKS’-tahg), was gutted by fire. Chancellor Adolf Hitler, blaming the Communists, used the fire to justify suspending civil liberties.
On this date:
In 1801, the District of Columbia was placed under the jurisdiction of Congress.
In 1814, Ludwig van Beethoven’s Symphony No. 8 in F major, Op. 93, was first performed in Vienna.
In 1911, inventor Charles F. Kettering demonstrated his electric automobile starter in Detroit by starting a Cadillac’s motor with just the press of a switch, instead of hand-cranking.
In 1922, the Supreme Court, in Leser v. Garnett, unanimously upheld the 19th Amendment to the Constitution, which guaranteed the right of women to vote.
In 1939, the Supreme Court, in National Labor Relations Board v. Fansteel Metallurgical Corp., effectively outlawed sit-down strikes. Britain and France recognized the regime of Francisco Franco of Spain.
In 1943, during World War II, Norwegian commandos launched a raid to sabotage a German-operated heavy water plant in Norway. The U.S. government began circulating one-cent coins made of steel plated with zinc (the steel pennies proved unpopular, since they were easily mistaken for dimes).
In 1951, the 22nd Amendment to the Constitution, limiting a president to two terms of office, was ratified.
In 1960, the U.S. Olympic hockey team defeated the Soviets, 3-2, at the Winter Games in Squaw Valley, California. (The U.S. team went on to win the gold medal.)
In 1968, at the conclusion of a CBS News special report on the Vietnam War, Walter Cronkite delivered a commentary in which he said the conflict appeared “mired in stalemate.”
In 1973, members of the American Indian Movement occupied the hamlet of Wounded Knee in South Dakota, the site of the 1890 massacre of Sioux men, women and children. (The occupation lasted until May.)
In 1982, Wayne Williams was found guilty of murdering two of the 28 young blacks whose bodies were found in the Atlanta area over a 22-month period. (Williams, who was also blamed for 22 other deaths, has maintained his innocence.)
In 1991, during Operation Desert Storm, President George H.W. Bush declared that “Kuwait is liberated, Iraq’s army is defeated,” and announced that the allies would suspend combat operations at midnight, Eastern time.
Ten years ago: Pope John Paul II made a surprise first public appearance after surgery, appearing at his Rome hospital window. The Iraqi government announced the capture of Sabawi Ibrahim al-Hassan, Saddam Hussein’s half brother and former adviser. (Although sentenced to death, al-Hassan died of cancer in 2013.) Academy Awards went to “Million Dollar Baby,” director Clint Eastwood, star Hilary Swank and supporting actor Morgan Freeman.
Five years ago: In Chile, an 8.8 magnitude earthquake and tsunami killed 524 people, caused $30 billion in damage and left over 200,000 homeless. Steven Holcomb drove USA-1 to the Olympic gold medal in four-man bobsledding in Vancouver, ending a 62-year drought for the Americans in the event.
One year ago: President Barack Obama kicked off his “My Brother’s Keeper” initiative from the White House East Room, calling for vigorous efforts to reverse underachievement among young black and Hispanic males. Masked gunmen stormed parliament in Ukraine’s strategic Crimean region while the newly formed interim government pledged to prevent a breakup with strong backing for the West.
Today’s Birthdays: Actress Joanne Woodward is 85. Consumer advocate Ralph Nader is 81. Opera singer Mirella Freni is 80. Actress Barbara Babcock is 78. Actor Howard Hesseman is 75. Actress Debra Monk is 66. Rock singer-musician Neal Schon (Journey) is 61. Rock musician Adrian Smith (Iron Maiden) is 58. Actor Timothy Spall is 58. Rock musician Paul Humphreys (Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark) is 55. Country singer Johnny Van Zant (Van Zant) is 55. Rock musician Leon Mobley (Ben Harper and the Innocent Criminals) is 54. Basketball Hall-of-Famer James Worthy is 54. Actor Adam Baldwin is 53. Actor Grant Show is 53. Rock musician Mike Cross (Sponge) is 50. Actor Noah Emmerich is 50. Actor Donal Logue (DOH’-nuhl LOHG) is 49. Rhythm-and-blues singer Chilli (TLC) is 44. Rock musician Jeremy Dean (Nine Days) is 43. Rhythm-and-blues singer Roderick Clark is 42. Country-rock musician Shonna Tucker (Drive-By Truckers) is 37. Chelsea Clinton is 35. Actor Brandon Beemer is 35. Rock musician Cyrus Bolooki (New Found Glory) is 35. Rhythm-and-blues singer Bobby Valentino is 35. Singer Josh Groban is 34. Rock musician Jared Champion (Cage the Elephant) is 32. Actress Kate Mara is 32.
Thought for Today: “He that respects himself is safe from others. He wears a coat of mail that none can pierce.” – Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (born this date in 1807, died in 1882).