Today is Wednesday, Dec. 2, the 336th day of 2009. There are 29 days left in the year.
Today's Highlights in History:
On Dec. 2, 1859, militant abolitionist John Brown was hanged for his raid on Harpers Ferry the previous October. Artist Georges-Pierre Seurat was born in Paris.
On this date:
In 1804, Napoleon crowned himself Emperor of the French.
In 1823, President James Monroe outlined his doctrine opposing European expansion in the Western Hemisphere.
In 1927, Ford Motor Co. formally unveiled its second Model A automobile, the successor to its Model T.
In 1939, New York Municipal Airport-LaGuardia Field (later LaGuardia Airport) went into operation as an airliner from Chicago landed at one minute past midnight.
In 1942, an artificially created, self-sustaining nuclear chain reaction was demonstrated for the first time, at the University of Chicago.
In 1954, the Senate voted to condemn Wisconsin Republican Joseph R. McCarthy for conduct that "tends to bring the Senate into disrepute."
In 1969, the Boeing 747 jumbo jet got its first public preview as 191 people, most of them reporters and photographers, flew from Seattle to New York City.
In 1970, the Environmental Protection Agency began operating under director William Ruckelshaus.
In 1980, four American churchwomen were raped and murdered outside San Salvador. (Five national guardsmen were convicted in the killings.)
In 1989, President George H.W. Bush and Soviet President Mikhail S. Gorbachev held the first talks of their wind-tossed Malta summit aboard the Soviet cruise ship Maxim Gorky.
Ten years ago: Relative calm was restored in Seattle, where a meeting of the World Trade Organization was greeted earlier with sometimes violent demonstrations. All six Republican presidential hopefuls, including Texas Gov. George W. Bush, debated in Manchester, N.H. In Northern Ireland, a power-sharing cabinet of Protestants and Catholics sat down together for the first time.
Five years ago: President George W. Bush chose former New York police commissioner Bernard Kerik to run the Department of Homeland Security. (Kerik withdrew his name days later, citing immigration problems with a former nanny; he later pleaded guilty to eight felonies, including lying to the White House.) Bush announced that Nebraska Gov. Mike Johanns was his choice as the next agriculture secretary, replacing Ann Veneman. U.N. ambassador John Danforth resigned after five months representing the U.S. at the world body. Dame Alicia Markova, one of the 20th century's greatest ballerinas, died in Bath, England, a day after turning 94. Pulitzer-winning poet Mona Van Duyn, the nation's first female poet laureate, died in University City, Mo., at age 83.
One year ago: President-elect Barack Obama promised swift action on an economic plan "to solve this crisis and to ease the burden on our states." Republican Saxby Chambliss won a Georgia runoff, denying Democrats a 60-seat, filibuster-proof majority in the Senate (until Al Franken's belated victory over Norm Coleman in Minnesota). Folk singer Odetta died in New York at age 77. Henry Molaison, the patient known as "H.M." whose severe amnesia led to groundbreaking studies of how memory works, died in Connecticut at age 82.
Today's Birthdays: Character actor Bill Erwin is 95. Former Secretary of State Alexander M. Haig is 85. Actress Julie Harris is 84. Former Attorney General Edwin Meese III is 78. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is 70. Actress Cathy Lee Crosby is 65. Movie director Penelope Spheeris is 64. Actor Ron Raines is 60. Country singer John Wesley Ryles is 59. Actor Keith Szarabajka is 57. Actor Dan Butler is 55. Broadcast journalist Stone Phillips is 55. Actor Dennis Christopher is 54. Actor Steven Bauer is 53. Figure skater Randy Gardner is 52. Country singer Joe Henry is 49. Rock musician Rick Savage (Def Leppard) is 49. Rock musician Nate Mendel (Foo Fighters) is 41. Actress Rena Sofer is 41. Rock singer Jimi HaHa (Jimmie's Chicken Shack) is 41. Actress Lucy Liu is 41. Rapper Treach (Naughty By Nature) is 39. Tennis player Monica Seles is 36. Singer Nelly Furtado is 31. Pop singer Britney Spears is 28. Actress Daniela Ruah ("NCIS: Los Angeles") is 26. Actor Alfie Enoch ("Harry Potter") is 21. Actresses Daniella and Deanna Canterman are 17.
Thought for Today: "Misery loves company, but company does not reciprocate." _ Addison Mizner, American architect (1872-1933).