Today is Wednesday, Feb. 1, the 32nd day of 2017. There are 333 days left in the year.
Today’s highlight: On Feb. 1, 1982, “Late Night with David Letterman” premiered on NBC.
On this date:
In 1790, the U.S. Supreme Court convened for the first time in New York. (However, since only three of the six justices were present, the court recessed until the next day.)
In 1865, during the Civil War, Union forces led by Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman began the Carolinas Campaign as they invaded South Carolina. Abolitionist John S. Rock became the first black lawyer admitted to the bar of the U.S. Supreme Court.
In 1922, in one of Hollywood’s most enduring mysteries, movie director William Desmond Taylor was shot to death in his Los Angeles home; the killing has never been solved.
In 1943, one of America’s most highly decorated military units, the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, made up almost exclusively of Japanese-Americans, was authorized.
In 1946, Norwegian statesman Trygve Lie was chosen to be the first secretary-general of the United Nations.
In 1959, men in Switzerland rejected giving women the right to vote by a more than 2-1 referendum margin. (Swiss women gained the right to vote in 1971.)
In 1960, four black college students began a sit-in protest at a Woolworth’s lunch counter in Greensboro, North Carolina, where they’d been refused service.
In 1968, during the Vietnam War, South Vietnam’s police chief (Nguyen Ngoc Loan) executed a Viet Cong officer with a pistol shot to the head in a scene captured by news photographers. Richard M. Nixon announced his bid for the Republican presidential nomination.
In 1979, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini received a tumultuous welcome in Tehran as he ended nearly 15 years of exile.
In 1992, Ron Carey was sworn in as the first Teamsters president elected by the union’s rank-and-file. Federal judge Irving R. Kaufman, who sentenced Julius and Ethel Rosenberg to death, died in New York at age 81.
In 2003, the space shuttle Columbia broke up during re-entry, killing all seven of its crew members.
Ten years ago: The departing top U.S. commander in Iraq, Gen. George Casey, told the Senate Armed Services Committee that improving security in Baghdad would take fewer than half as many extra troops as President George W. Bush had chosen to commit. President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad launched anniversary celebrations for Iran’s Islamic Revolution with a defiant promise to push ahead with the country’s controversial nuclear program. Pulitzer Prize-winning opera composer Gian Carlo Menotti died in Monaco at age 95.
Five years ago: Facebook, the Internet social network, announced plans to go public with a stock offering. A Southern California woman who filed a small-claims action against Honda won her lawsuit when a judge ruled that the automaker had misled her about the potential fuel economy of her hybrid car. (However, another judge overturned the nearly $10,000 small claims judgment in May 2012.) In Port Said, Egypt, 74 people were killed after soccer fans rushed the field following an upset victory by the home team over Egypt’s top club. Don Cornelius, 74, creator of “Soul Train,” died in Los Angeles of an apparently self-inflicted gunshot wound. Boxing trainer Angelo Dundee died in Tampa, Florida, at age 90.
One year ago: Texas Sen. Ted Cruz swept to victory in Iowa’s Republican caucuses, overcoming billionaire Donald Trump and a stronger-than-expected showing by Florida Sen. Marco Rubio; among Democrats, Bernie Sanders rode a wave of voter enthusiasm to a virtual tie with Hillary Clinton. The World Health Organization declared a global emergency over the explosive spread of the Zika virus, which was linked to birth defects in the Americas, calling it an “extraordinary event” that posed a public health threat to other parts of the world.
Today’s birthdays: Actor Stuart Whitman is 89. Folk singer Bob Shane (The Kingston Trio) is 83. Singer Don Everly is 80. Actor Garrett Morris is 80. Singer Ray Sawyer (Dr. Hook and the Medicine Show) is 80. Bluegrass singer Del McCoury is 78. TV personality-singer Joy Philbin is 76. Comedian-actor-director Terry Jones is 75. Political commentator Fred Barnes is 74. Sen. Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., is 73. Opera singer Carol Neblett is 71. Rock musician Mike Campbell (Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers) is 67. Blues singer-musician Sonny Landreth is 66. Actor-writer-producer Bill Mumy is 63. Rock singer Exene Cervenka is 61. Actor Linus Roache is 53. Princess Stephanie of Monaco is 52. Country musician Dwayne Dupuy (Ricochet) is 52. Actress Sherilyn Fenn is 52. Lisa Marie Presley is 49. Comedian-actor Pauly Shore is 49. Actor Brian Krause is 48. Jazz musician Joshua Redman is 48. Rock musician Patrick Wilson (Weezer) is 48. Actor Michael C. Hall is 46. Rock musician Ron Welty is 46. Rapper Big Boi (Outkast) is 42. Roots rocker Jason Isbell is 38. Country singer Julie Roberts is 38. Actor Jarrett Lennon is 35. Rock singer-musician Andrew VanWyngarden is 34. TV personality Lauren Conrad is 31. Actress-singer Heather Morris is 30. Actress and mixed martial artist Ronda Rousey is 30. Rock singer Harry Styles (One Direction) is 23.
Thought for today: “Happiness is a by-product. You cannot pursue it by itself.” — Sam Levenson, American humorist (1911-1980).