Today in History
On Feb. 27, 1933, Germany's parliament building, the Reichstag, was gutted by fire. Chancellor Adolf Hitler, blaming communists, used the fire as justification for suspending civil liberties.
On this date:
In 1801, the District of Columbia was placed under the jurisdiction of Congress.
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 1913, author and playwright Irwin Shaw ("Rich Man, Poor Man") was born in New York.
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., outlawed sit-down strikes.
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 very 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, Calif. (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: The Bush administration lowered the national terror alert from orange to yellow. Iraq agreed in principle to destroy its Al Samoud II missiles, two days before a U.N. deadline. Former Bosnian Serb leader Biljana Plavsic was sentenced by the U.N. tribunal in The Hague, Netherlands, to eleven years in prison for war crimes. (She was released in 2009.) Children's television host Fred Rogers died in Pittsburgh at age 74.
Five years ago: William F. Buckley Jr., the author and conservative commentator, was found dead at his home in Stamford, Conn.; he was 82. Civil rights leader John Lewis dropped his support for Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton in favor of Barack Obama. A judge in Canton, Ohio, sentenced former police officer Bobby Cutts Jr. to life in prison with a chance of parole after 57 years for killing his pregnant lover, Jessie Davis, and their unborn child.
One year ago: President Barack Obama urged the nation's governors at the White House to invest more state resources in education, saying a highly skilled workforce was crucial for the U.S. to remain competitive with other countries. Three students were shot to death in a Chardon, Ohio, high school cafeteria, allegedly by a 17-year-old who was charged with aggravated murder. Matt Kenseth won his second Daytona 500, holding off Dale Earnhardt Jr. a day after rain had postponed the race for the first time in its 54-year history from Sunday to Monday.
Today's Birthdays: Actress Joanne Woodward is 83. Consumer advocate Ralph Nader is 79. Opera singer Mirella Freni is 78. Actress Barbara Babcock is 76. Actor Howard Hesseman is 73. Actress Debra Monk is 64. Rock singer-musician Neal Schon (Journey) is 59. Rock musician Adrian Smith (Iron Maiden) is 56. Actor Timothy Spall is 56. Rock musician Paul Humphreys (Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark) is 53. Country singer Johnny Van Zant (Van Zant) is 53. Rock musician Leon Mobley (Ben Harper and the Innocent Criminals) is 52. Basketball Hall-of-Famer James Worthy is 52. Actor Adam Baldwin is 51. Actor Grant Show is 51. Rock musician Mike Cross (Sponge) is 48. Actor Donal Logue is 47. Rhythm-and-blues singer Chilli (TLC) is 42. Rock musician Jeremy Dean (Nine Days) is 41. Rhythm-and-blues singer Roderick Clark is 40. Country-rock musician Shonna Tucker (Drive-By Truckers) is 35. Actor Brandon Beemer is 33. Chelsea Clinton is 33. Rhythm-and-blues singer Bobby Valentino is 33. Singer Josh Groban is 32. Rock musician Jared Champion (Cage the Elephant) is 30. Actress Kate Mara is 30.
Thought for Today: "Reasoning with a child is fine, if you can reach the child's reason without destroying your own." -- John Mason Brown, American essayist (1900-1969).
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