Today in History

AP News
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Posted: Dec 12, 2015 12:05 AM

Today in History

Today is Saturday, Dec. 12, the 346th day of 2015. There are 19 days left in the year.

Today's Highlight in History:

On Dec. 12, 1915, singer-actor Frank Sinatra was born Francis Albert Sinatra in Hoboken, New Jersey.

On this date:

In 1787, Pennsylvania became the second state to ratify the U.S. Constitution.

In 1870, Joseph H. Rainey of South Carolina became the first black lawmaker sworn into the U.S. House of Representatives.

In 1906, President Theodore Roosevelt nominated Oscar Straus to be secretary of Commerce and Labor; Straus became the first Jewish Cabinet member.

In 1911, Britain's King George V announced during a visit to India that the capital would be transferred from Calcutta to Delhi.

In 1917, Father Edward Flanagan founded Boys Town outside Omaha, Nebraska.

In 1925, the first motel — the Motel Inn — opened in San Luis Obispo, California.

In 1937, Japanese aircraft sank the U.S. gunboat Panay on China's Yangtze River. (Japan apologized, and paid $2.2 million in reparations.)

In 1946, a United Nations committee voted to accept a six-block tract of Manhattan real estate offered as a gift by John D. Rockefeller Jr. to be the site of the U.N.'s headquarters.

In 1963, Kenya became independent of Britain.

In 1975, Sara Jane Moore asked a federal court in San Francisco to allow her to plead guilty to trying to kill President Gerald R. Ford. (After the judge ruled Moore competent to change her plea, she was sentenced to life. Moore was released on parole on New Year's Eve 2007 after serving 32 years behind bars.)

In 1985, 248 American soldiers and eight crew members were killed when an Arrow Air charter crashed after takeoff from Gander, Newfoundland.

In 2000, George W. Bush became president-elect as a divided U.S. Supreme Court reversed a state court decision for recounts in Florida's contested election.

Ten years ago: California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger refused to block the imminent execution of Stanley Tookie Williams, rejecting the notion that the founder of the murderous Crips gang had atoned for his crimes and found redemption on death row. (Williams was put to death early the next day.) During an impromptu question-and-answer session before the World Affairs Council of Philadelphia, President George W. Bush estimated 30,000 Iraqis had died in the war.

Five years ago: An explosives-packed minibus blew up at the entrance of a joint NATO-Afghan base in southern Afghanistan, killing six American troops and two Afghan soldiers as they prepared to head out on patrol. The inflatable roof of the Minneapolis Metrodome collapsed following a snowstorm that had dumped 17 inches on the city. (The NFL was forced to shift an already rescheduled game between the Minnesota Vikings and New York Giants to Detroit's Ford Field.)

One year ago: President Barack Obama urged the Senate to ratify a $1.1 trillion spending bill opposed by some Democrats, judging it an imperfect measure that stemmed from "the divided government that the American people voted for." (The Senate passed the measure the next day.) Illustrator Norman Bridwell, 86, creator of Clifford the Red Dog, died in Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts.

Today's Birthdays: Former TV host Bob Barker is 92. Basketball Hall of Famer Bob Pettit is 83. Singer Connie Francis is 78. Singer Dionne Warwick is 75. Rock singer-musician Dickey Betts is 72. Former race car driver Emerson Fittipaldi is 69. Actor Wings Hauser is 68. Actor Bill Nighy (ny) is 66. Actor Duane Chase (Film: "The Sound of Music") is 65. Country singer LaCosta is 65. Gymnast-turned-actress Cathy Rigby is 63. Author Lorna Landvik is 61. Singer-musician Sheila E. is 58. Actress Sheree J. Wilson is 57. Pop singer Daniel O'Donnell is 54. International Tennis Hall of Famer Tracy Austin is 53. Rock musician Eric Schenkman (Spin Doctors) is 52. Rock musician Nicholas Dimichino (Nine Days) is 48. Author Sophie Kinsella is 46. News anchor Maggie Rodriguez is 46. Actress Jennifer Connelly is 45. Actress Madchen Amick is 45. Actress Regina Hall is 45. Country singer Hank Williams III is 43. Actress Mayim Bialik is 40. Model Bridget Hall is 38.

Thought for Today: "If you possess something but you can't give it away, then you don't possess it... it possesses you." — Frank Sinatra (1915-1998).