Today is Friday, Nov. 13, the 317th day of 2009. There are 48 days left in the year.
Today's Highlight in History:
On Nov. 13, 1909, 259 men and boys were killed when fire erupted inside a coal mine in Cherry, Ill. (Nearly as many miners survived the disaster).
On this date:
In 1789, Benjamin Franklin wrote in a letter to a friend, "In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes."
In 1927, the Holland Tunnel opened to the public, providing access between lower Manhattan and New Jersey beneath the Hudson River.
In 1942, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed a measure lowering the minimum draft age from 21 to 18.
In 1956, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down laws calling for racial segregation on public city and state buses.
In 1969, speaking in Des Moines, Iowa, Vice President Spiro T. Agnew accused network TV news departments of bias and distortion, and urged viewers to lodge complaints.
In 1971, the U.S. space probe Mariner 9 went into orbit around Mars.
In 1974, Karen Silkwood, a technician and union activist at the Kerr-McGee Cimarron plutonium plant near Crescent, Okla., died in a car crash while on her way to meet a reporter.
In 1979, former California Gov. Ronald Reagan announced in New York his candidacy for the Republican presidential nomination.
In 1982, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial was dedicated on the National Mall in Washington.
In 1985, some 23,000 residents of Armero, Colombia, died when a volcanic mudslide buried the city.
Ten years ago: The Navy recovered the cockpit voice recorder from EgyptAir Flight 990, which crashed into the Atlantic Ocean on Oct. 31 with the loss of all 217 people aboard. Lennox Lewis became the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world, winning a unanimous decision over Evander Holyfield in Las Vegas. Donald Mills, last surviving member of the singing Mills Brothers, died in Los Angeles at age 84.
Five years ago: Vice President Dick Cheney went to a hospital after experiencing shortness of breath; tests found nothing wrong. Rapper O.D.B. (real name: Russell Jones), a founding member of the Wu-Tang Clan, collapsed and died inside a recording studio in New York City two days before his 36th birthday. Harry Lampert, the illustrator who helped create the DC Comics superhero The Flash, died in Boca Raton, Fla., at age 88.
One year ago: A wind-driven fire erupted in Southern California; the blaze destroyed more than 200 homes in Santa Barbara and neighboring Montecito. Investors did an abrupt turnaround on Wall Street, muscling the Dow Jones industrial average up more than 550 points after three straight days of selling. Colombian rocker Juanes won five awards, including record of the year and album of the year, at the Latin Grammys in Houston. Cleveland's Cliff Lee won the American League Cy Young Award.
Today's Birthdays: Actress Madeleine Sherwood is 87. Journalist-author Peter Arnett is 75. Producer-director Garry Marshall is 75. Actor Jimmy Hawkins is 68. Country singer-songwriter Ray Wylie Hubbard is 63. Actor Joe Mantegna is 62. Actress Sheila Frazier is 61. Actress Frances Conroy is 56. Musician Andrew Ranken (The Pogues) is 56. Actress Tracy Scoggins is 56. Actor Chris Noth is 55. Actress-comedian Whoopi Goldberg is 54. Actor Rex Linn ("CSI: Miami") is 53. Actress Caroline Goodall is 50. Actor Neil Flynn ("Scrubs") is 49. Former NFL quarterback Vinny Testaverde is 46. Rock musician Walter Kibby (Fishbone) is 45. Comedian/talk-show host Jimmy Kimmel is 42. Actor Steve Zahn is 42. Writer-activist Ayaan Hirsi Ali is 40. Actress Aisha Hinds is 34. Rock musician Nikolai Fraiture is 31. Los Angeles Lakers forward Ron Artest is 30. Actress Monique Coleman is 29.
Thought for Today: "What is politics but persuading the public to vote for this and support that and endure these for the promise of those?" _ Gilbert Highet, Scottish-born American author and educator (1906-1978).