Today in History

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Posted: Jan 21, 2017 12:01 AM

Today in History

Today is Saturday, Jan. 21, the 21st day of 2017. There are 344 days left in the year.

Today's Highlight in History:

On Jan. 21, 1942, pinball machines were banned in New York City by Mayor Fiorello La Guardia after a court ruled they were gambling devices that relied on chance rather than skill (the ban was lifted in 1976).

On this date:

In 1793, during the French Revolution, King Louis XVI, condemned for treason, was executed on the guillotine.

In 1861, Jefferson Davis of Mississippi and four other Southerners whose states had seceded from the Union resigned from the U.S. Senate.

In 1908, New York City's Board of Aldermen passed an ordinance prohibiting women from smoking in public establishments (the measure was vetoed by Mayor George B. McClellan Jr., but not before one woman, Katie Mulcahey, was jailed overnight for refusing to pay a fine).

In 1915, the first Kiwanis Club, dedicated to community service, was founded in Detroit.

In 1924, Russian revolutionary Vladimir Lenin died at age 53.

In 1937, Count Basie and his band recorded "One O'Clock Jump" for Decca Records (on this date in 1942, they re-recorded the song for Okeh Records).

In 1954, the first atomic submarine, the USS Nautilus, was launched at Groton (GRAH'-tuhn), Connecticut (however, the Nautilus did not make its first nuclear-powered run until nearly a year later).

In 1968, the Battle of Khe Sanh began during the Vietnam War. An American B-52 bomber carrying four hydrogen bombs crashed in Greenland, killing one crew member and scattering radioactive material.

In 1977, on his first full day in office, President Jimmy Carter pardoned almost all Vietnam War draft evaders.

In 1982, convict-turned-author Jack Henry Abbott was found guilty in New York of first-degree manslaughter in the stabbing death of waiter Richard Adan in 1981. (Abbott was later sentenced to 15 years to life in prison; he committed suicide in 2002.)

In 1997, Speaker Newt Gingrich was reprimanded and fined as the House voted for the first time in history to discipline its leader for ethical misconduct.

In 2010, a bitterly divided U.S. Supreme Court, in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, vastly increased the power of big business and labor unions to influence government decisions by freeing them to spend their millions directly to sway elections for president and Congress.

Ten years ago: Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez (OO'-goh CHAH'-vez) told U.S. officials to "Go to hell, gringos!" and called Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice "missy" on his weekly radio and TV show, lashing out at Washington for what he called unacceptable meddling in his country's affairs. Lovie Smith became the first black head coach to make it to the Super Bowl when his Chicago Bears won the NFC championship, beating the New Orleans Saints 39-14; Tony Dungy became the second when his Indianapolis Colts took the AFC title over the New England Patriots, 38-34.

Five years ago: Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich scored an upset win in the South Carolina Republican presidential primary, dealing a sharp setback to Mitt Romney. Hundreds of angry Libyans stormed the transitional government's headquarters in the eastern city of Benghazi.

One year ago: The Obama administration tightened restrictions on European and other travelers who had visited Iran, Iraq, Syria or Sudan in the previous five years. Daniel Holtzclaw, a former police officer convicted of raping and sexually victimizing women while on his beat in a low-income Oklahoma City neighborhood, was ordered to spend the rest of his life in prison.

Today's Birthdays: Actress Ann Wedgeworth is 83. World Golf Hall of Famer Jack Nicklaus is 77. Opera singer-conductor Placido Domingo is 76. Singer Mac Davis is 75. Actress Jill Eikenberry is 70. Country musician Jim Ibbotson is 70. Singer-songwriter Billy Ocean is 67. Former U.S. Ambassador to China Gary Locke is 67. Former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder is 66. Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen is 64. Actor-director Robby Benson is 61. Actress Geena Davis is 61. Basketball Hall of Famer Hakeem Olajuwon is 54. Actress Charlotte Ross is 49. Actor John Ducey is 48. Actress Karina Lombard is 48. Rapper Levirt (B-Rock and the Bizz) is 47. Rock musician Mark Trojanowski (Sister Hazel) is 47. Rock singer-songwriter Cat Power is 45. Rock DJ Chris Kilmore (Incubus) is 44. Actor Vincent Laresca is 43. Singer Emma Bunton (Spice Girls) is 41. Actor Jerry Trainor is 40. Country singer Phil Stacey is 39. Rhythm-and-blues singer Nokio (Dru Hill) is 38. Actress Izabella Miko (MEE'-koh) is 36.

Thought for Today: "It is the nature of all greatness not to be exact." — Edmund Burke, British statesman (1729-1797).