Political News

Today in History

Posted November 21

Today in History

Today is Monday, Nov. 21, the 326th day of 2016. There are 40 days left in the year.

Today's Highlight in History:

On Nov. 21, 1922, Rebecca L. Felton, a Georgia Democrat, was sworn in as the first woman to serve in the U.S. Senate; her term, the result of an interim appointment, ended the following day as Walter F. George, the winner of a special election, took office.

On this date:

In 1789, North Carolina became the 12th state to ratify the U.S. Constitution.

In 1864, a letter was signed by President Abraham Lincoln expressing condolences to Lydia Bixby, a widow in Boston whose five sons supposedly died while fighting in the Civil War. (As it turned out, only two of Mrs. Bixby's sons had been killed in battle.)

In 1934, the Cole Porter musical "Anything Goes," starring Ethel Merman as Reno Sweeney, opened on Broadway.

In 1942, the Alaska Highway, also known as the Alcan Highway, was formally opened at Soldier's Summit in the Yukon Territory.

In 1945, American humorist Robert Benchley died in New York at age 56.

In 1969, the Senate voted down the Supreme Court nomination of Clement F. Haynsworth, 55-45, the first such rejection since 1930.

In 1973, President Richard Nixon's attorney, J. Fred Buzhardt (buh-ZAHRDT'), revealed the existence of an 18-1/2-minute gap in one of the White House tape recordings related to Watergate.

In 1974, bombs exploded at a pair of pubs in Birmingham, England, killing 21 people. (Six suspects were convicted of the attack, but the convictions of the so-called "Birmingham Six" were overturned in 1991.)

In 1980, 87 people died in a fire at the MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada. An estimated 83 million TV viewers tuned in to the CBS prime-time soap opera "Dallas" to find out "who shot J.R." (The shooter turned out to be J.R. Ewing's sister-in-law, Kristin Shepard.)

In 1985, U.S. Navy intelligence analyst Jonathan Jay Pollard was arrested, accused of spying for Israel. (Pollard later pleaded guilty to espionage and was sentenced to life in prison; he was released on parole on Nov. 20, 2015.)

In 1991, the U.N. Security Council chose Boutros Boutros-Ghali of Egypt to be the new Secretary-General.

In 1996, 33 people were killed, more than 100 injured, when an explosion blamed on leaking gas ripped through a six-story building in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Ten years ago: Kathryn Johnston, 92, was killed in a shootout with Atlanta police during a botched "no-knock" drug raid. (An FBI investigation led five officers to plead guilty for their roles in the shooting, while six others were reprimanded for not following department policy; the city of Atlanta agreed to pay $4.9 million to Johnston's family.) Lebanon's industry minister, Pierre Gemayel, scion of Lebanon's most prominent Christian family, was assassinated in a brazen daytime hit. A methane gas explosion at the Halemba coal mine in southern Poland killed 23 people. Justin Morneau won the American League's Most Valuable Player Award.

Five years ago: Congress' bipartisan deficit reduction "supercommittee," tasked with finding $1.2 trillion in cuts over a decade, failed; under the law that established the committee, inability to reach a compromise would trigger about $1 trillion in automatic spending cuts in military and domestic government programs beginning in 2013. Detroit's Justin Verlander became the first starting pitcher in a quarter-century to be voted Most Valuable Player. Author Ann McCaffrey, 85, whose vision of an interstellar alliance between humans and dragons spawned the science fiction "Dragonriders of Pern" novels, died south of Dublin.

One year ago: Belgian authorities closed down Brussels' subway system and flooded the streets with armed police and soldiers in response to what they said was a threat of Paris-style attacks. Louisiana Democrats reclaimed the governor's mansion for the first time in eight years as John Bel Edwards defeated Republican David Vitter in a runoff election.

Today's Birthdays: Actor Joseph Campanella is 92. Actor Laurence Luckinbill is 82. Actress Marlo Thomas is 79. Actor Rick Lenz is 77. Singer Dr. John is 76. Actress Juliet Mills is 75. Basketball Hall of Famer Earl Monroe is 72. Television producer Marcy Carsey is 72. Actress Goldie Hawn is 71. Movie director Andrew Davis is 70. Rock musician Lonnie Jordan (War) is 68. Singer Livingston Taylor is 66. Actress-singer Lorna Luft is 64. Actress Cherry Jones is 60. Rock musician Brian Ritchie (The Violent Femmes) is 56. Gospel singer Steven Curtis Chapman is 54. Actress Nicollette Sheridan is 53. Singer-actress Bjork (byork) is 51. Pro and College Football Hall of Famer Troy Aikman is 50. Rhythm-and-blues singer Chauncey Hannibal (BLACKstreet) is 48. Rock musician Alex James (Blur) is 48. Baseball Hall of Famer Ken Griffey Jr. is 47. TV personality Rib Hillis is 46. Rapper Pretty Lou (Lost Boyz) is 45. Football player-turned-TV personality Michael Strahan (STRAY'-han) is 45. Country singer Kelsi Osborn (SHeDAISY) is 42. Actor Jimmi Simpson (TV: "Westworld") is 41. Singer-actress Lindsey Haun is 32. Actress Jena Malone is 32. Pop singer Carly Rae Jepsen is 31. Actor-singer Sam Palladio is 29.

Thought for Today: "Audiences are always better pleased with a smart retort, some joke or epigram, than with any amount of reasoning." — Charlotte P. Gilman, American lecturer and author (1860-1935).

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