Today in history

Today is Saturday, Dec. 7, the 341st day of 2019. There are 24 days left in the year.

  • Friday, December 6, 2019 1:30am
  • Life

Today is Saturday, Dec. 7, the 341st day of 2019. There are 24 days left in the year.

Today’s highlight:

On Dec. 7, 1941, Japan launched a surprise attack on the U.S. Navy base at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii as part of its plan to conquer Southeast Asian territories; the raid, which claimed some 2,400 American lives, prompted the United States to declare war against Japan the next day.

On this date:

In 43 B.C., Roman statesman and scholar Marcus Tullius Cicero was slain at the order of the Second Triumvirate.

In 1787, Delaware became the first state to ratify the U.S. Constitution.

In 1796, electors chose John Adams to be the second president of the United States.

In 1909, in his State of the Union address, President William Howard Taft defended the decision to base U.S. naval operations in the Pacific at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii, instead of in the Philippines.

In 1911, China abolished the requirement that men wear their hair in a queue, or ponytail.

In 1917, during World War I, the United States declared war on Austria-Hungary.

In 1972, America’s last moon mission to date was launched as Apollo 17 blasted off from Cape Canaveral. Imelda Marcos, wife of Philippine President Ferdinand E. Marcos, was stabbed and seriously wounded by an assailant who was shot dead by her bodyguards.

In 1982, convicted murderer Charlie Brooks Jr. became the first U.S. prisoner to be executed by injection, at a prison in Huntsville, Texas.

In 1987, 43 people were killed after a gunman aboard a Pacific Southwest Airlines jetliner in California apparently opened fire on a fellow passenger, the pilots and himself, causing the plane to crash. Soviet leader Mikhail S. Gorbachev set foot on American soil for the first time, arriving for a Washington summit with President Ronald Reagan.

In 1988, a major earthquake in the Soviet Union devastated northern Armenia; official estimates put the death toll at 25-thousand.

In 2004, Hamid Karzai was sworn in as Afghanistan’s first popularly elected president.

In 2017, Democratic Sen. Al Franken said he would resign after a series of sexual harassment allegations; he took a parting shot at President Donald Trump, describing him as “a man who has bragged on tape about his history of sexual assault.” Republican Rep. Trent Franks of Arizona said he would resign, after revealing that he discussed surrogacy with two female staffers.

Ten years ago: The Obama administration took a major step toward imposing the first federal limits on pollution from cars, power plants and factories the same day an international conference on climate change opened in Copenhagen, Denmark. Manager Whitey Herzog and umpire Doug Harvey were elected to the baseball Hall of Fame by the Veterans Committee.

Five years ago: Six prisoners held for 12 years at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, arrived in Uruguay amid a new push by President Barack Obama to close the U.S. prison. Britain’s Prince William and his wife, Catherine, arrived in New York City on their first official visit to the U.S. Ken Weatherwax, who’d played Pugsley on “The Addams Family” television series in the 1960s, was found dead at his home in Box Canyon, California; he was 59.

One year ago: The man who drove his car into counterprotesters at a 2017 white nationalist rally in Virginia was convicted of first-degree murder; a state jury rejected defense arguments that James Alex Fields Jr. acted in self-defense. President Donald Trump announced that he would nominate William Barr to succeed Jeff Sessions as attorney general. (Barr would be confirmed and sworn-in in February.) Trump said he would nominate State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert to be the next U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. (Nauert withdrew from consideration two months later; congressional aides said she would have faced tough Senate questions about her relative lack of foreign policy experience.) Kendrick Lamar picked up a leading eight Grammy nominations, including seven for his musical companion to the hit film “Black Panther.”

Today’s Birthdays: Linguist and political philosopher Noam Chomsky is 91. Bluegrass singer Bobby Osborne is 88. Actress Ellen Burstyn is 87. Broadcast journalist Carole Simpson is 79. Baseball Hall of Famer Johnny Bench is 72. Actor-director-producer James Keach is 72. Country singer Gary Morris is 71. Singer-songwriter Tom Waits is 70. Sen. Susan M. Collins, R-Maine, is 67. Basketball Hall of Famer Larry Bird is 63. Actress Priscilla Barnes is 62. Former “Tonight Show” announcer Edd Hall is 61. Rock musician Tim Butler (The Psychedelic Furs) is 61. Actor Patrick Fabian is 55. Actor Jeffrey Wright is 54. Actor C. Thomas Howell is 53. Actress Kimberly Hebert Gregory (TV: “Kevin (Probably) Saves the World”) is 47. Producer-director Jason Winer is 47. Former NFL player Terrell Owens is 46. Rapper-producer Kon Artis is 45. Pop singer Nicole Appleton (All Saints) is 44. Latin singer Frankie J is 43. Country singer Sunny Sweeney is 43. Actor Chris Chalk is 42. Actress Shiri Appleby is 41. Pop-rock singer/celebrity judge Sara Bareilles is 40. Actress Jennifer Carpenter is 40. Actor Jack Huston is 37. Singer Aaron Carter is 32.

Thought for today: “O tempora! O mores!” (Oh the times! Oh the customs!) — Marcus Tullius Cicero (106 B.C.-43 B.C.)

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