Today’s Highlights in History:
On Nov. 13, 1974, Karen Silkwood, a 28-year-old technician and union activist at the Kerr-McGee Cimarron plutonium plant near Crescent, Oklahoma, died in a car crash while on her way to meet a reporter. In Amityville on Long Island, New York, six members of the DeFeo family were shot and killed in their home by eldest son Ronald DeFeo, Jr. PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat addressed the U.N. General Assembly, the first representative of a non-governmental entity to do so. Italian film director and actor Vittorio De Sica, 73, died in Neuilly-sur-Seine, France.
On this date:
In 1789, Benjamin Franklin wrote in a letter to a friend, Jean-Baptiste Leroy: “In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.”
In 1849, voters in California ratified the state’s original constitution.
In 1909, 259 men and boys were killed when fire erupted inside a coal mine in Cherry, Illinois.
In 1927, the Holland Tunnel opened to the public, providing access between lower Manhattan and New Jersey beneath the Hudson River.
In 1937, the NBC Symphony Orchestra, formed exclusively for radio broadcasting, made its debut.
In 1942, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed a measure lowering the minimum draft age from 21 to 18.
In 1956, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down laws calling for racial segregation on public city and state buses.
In 1969, speaking in Des Moines, Iowa, Vice President Spiro T. Agnew accused network television news departments of bias and distortion, and urged viewers to lodge complaints.
In 1971, the U.S. space probe Mariner 9 went into orbit around Mars.
In 1982, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, designed by Maya Lin, was dedicated on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.
In 1989, Polish labor leader Lech Walesa (lek vah-WEN’-sah) received the Medal of Freedom from President George H.W. Bush during a White House ceremony.
In 1994, Sweden voted in a non-binding referendum to join the European Union, which it did the following year.
Ten years ago: U.S. military officials said American troops had occupied the entire Iraqi city of Fallujah. Vice President Dick Cheney went to a hospital after experiencing shortness of breath; tests found nothing wrong. Rapper O.D.B. (real name: Russell Jones), a founding member of the Wu-Tang Clan, collapsed and died inside a recording studio in New York City two days before his 36th birthday. Harry Lampert, the illustrator who helped create the DC Comics superhero The Flash, died in Boca Raton, Florida, at age 88.
Five years ago: President Barack Obama, in Tokyo at the start of a weeklong trip to Asia, said his decision about how many troops to send to Afghanistan would come soon and that he was bent on “getting this right.” U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder announced a decision to bring professed 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four others detained at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to trial in lower Manhattan (this plan was later dropped). Scientists said analysis of data from two NASA spacecraft that were intentionally crashed into the moon showed ample water near the lunar south pole.
One year ago: The Obama administration revealed that just 26,794 people had enrolled for health insurance during the first, flawed month of operations for the federal “Obamacare” website. (More than 79,000 others had signed up in the 14 states with their own websites.) Toronto Mayor Rob Ford admitted during a heated City Council meeting that he’d bought illegal drugs while in office, but he adamantly refused calls from councilors to step down and seek help. Clayton Kershaw of the Los Angeles Dodgers and Max Scherzer of the Detroit Tigers won baseball’s Cy Young Awards. Former Raiders tight end Todd Christensen died during liver transplant surgery in Utah; he was 57.
Today’s Birthdays: Actress Madeleine Sherwood is 92. Journalist-author Peter Arnett is 80. Producer-director Garry Marshall is 80. Actor Jimmy Hawkins is 73. Country singer-songwriter Ray Wylie Hubbard is 68. Actor Joe Mantegna is 67. Actress Sheila Frazier is 66. Actress Frances Conroy is 61. Musician Andrew Ranken (The Pogues) is 61. Actress Tracy Scoggins is 61. Actor Chris Noth (nohth) is 60. Actress-comedian Whoopi Goldberg is 59. Actor Rex Linn is 58. Actress Caroline Goodall is 55. Actor Neil Flynn is 54. Former NFL quarterback Vinny Testaverde is 51. Rock musician Walter Kibby (Fishbone) is 50. Comedian Jimmy Kimmel is 47. Actor Steve Zahn is 47. Actor Gerard Butler is 45. Writer-activist Ayaan Hirsi Ali is 45. Actor Jordan Bridges is 41. Actress Aisha Hinds is 39. Rock musician Nikolai Fraiture is 36. NBA All-Star Metta World Peace (formerly Ron Artest) is 35. Actress Monique Coleman is 34.
Thought for Thursday:
“If we like a man’s dream, we call him a reformer; if we don’t like his dream, we call him a crank.”
– William Dean Howells, American author (1837-1920)
Copyright 2014, The Associated Press. All rights reserved.