Today in History
Today is Wednesday, Jan. 20, the 20th day of 2016. There are 346 days left in the year.
Today’s Highlight in History:
On Jan. 20, 1936, Britain’s King George V died after his physician, Lord Dawson of Penn, injected the mortally ill monarch with morphine and cocaine to hasten his death; the king was succeeded by his eldest son, Edward VIII, who abdicated the throne 11 months later to marry American divorcee Wallis Warfield Simpson.
On this date:
In 1265, England’s first representative Parliament met for the first time; the gathering at Westminster was composed of bishops, abbots, peers, Knights of the Shire and town burgesses.
In 1649, King Charles I of England went on trial, accused of high treason (he was found guilty and executed by month’s end).
In 1887, the U.S. Senate approved an agreement to lease Pearl Harbor in Hawaii as a naval base.
In 1942, Nazi officials held the notorious Wannsee conference, during which they arrived at their “final solution” that called for exterminating Jews.
In 1945, President Franklin D. Roosevelt was sworn into office for an unprecedented fourth term.
In 1954, “The Caine Mutiny Court-Martial,” a play by Herman Wouk based on part of his novel “The Caine Mutiny,” opened on Broadway.
In 1961, John F. Kennedy was inaugurated as the 35th President of the United States.
In 1975, several former William Morris talent agents, including Michael Ovitz, founded Creative Artists Agency (CAA).
In 1981, Iran released 52 Americans it had held hostage for 444 days, minutes after the presidency had passed from Jimmy Carter to Ronald Reagan.
In 1986, the United States observed the first federal holiday in honor of slain civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr.
In 1990, actress Barbara Stanwyck died in Santa Monica, California, at age 82.
In 2001, George Walker Bush became America’s 43rd president after one of the most turbulent elections in U.S. history.
Ten years ago: Michael Fortier (FOHR’-tee-ur), the government’s star witness in the Oklahoma City bombing trials, was released from federal prison after serving more than 10 years for failing to warn authorities about the plot. Japan halted all imports of U.S. beef because of mad cow fears. (Shipments resumed six months later.)
Five years ago: In a luncheon speech to American business executives in Washington, Chinese President Hu Jintao denied his country was a military threat despite its arms buildup and pressed the U.S. for closer cooperation between the global powers. Federal authorities orchestrated one of the biggest Mafia takedowns in FBI history, charging 127 suspected mobsters and associates in the Northeast with murders, extortion and other crimes spanning decades.
One year ago: President Barack Obama, undaunted by the new Republican majority in Congress, issued a sweeping challenge in his State of the Union address to do more for the poor and middle class and to end the nasty partisan political fight that had characterized his six years in office. The Islamic State group threatened to kill two Japanese hostages unless its ransom demands were met. (Kenji Goto and Haruna Yukawa were both slain by their captors.)
(Stations: “?uestlove” is correct)
Today’s Birthdays: Comedian Arte Johnson is 87. Former astronaut Buzz Aldrin is 86. Olympic gold medal figure skater Carol Heiss is 76. Singer Eric Stewart is 71. Movie director David Lynch is 70. Country-rock musician George Grantham (Poco) is 69. Israeli activist Natan Sharansky is 68. Actor Daniel Benzali is 66. Rock musician Paul Stanley (KISS) is 64. Rock musician Ian Hill (Judas Priest) is 64. Comedian Bill Maher (MAR) is 60. Actor Lorenzo Lamas is 58. Actor James Denton is 53. Rock musician Greg K. (The Offspring) is 51. Country singer John Michael Montgomery is 51. Sophie, Countess of Wessex, is 51. Actor Rainn Wilson is 50. Actress Stacey Dash is 49. TV personality Melissa Rivers is 48. Singer Xavier is 48. Actor Reno Wilson is 47. Singer Edwin McCain is 46. Actor Skeet Ulrich is 46. Rap musician ?uestlove (questlove) (The Roots) is 45. Rock musician Rob Bourdon (Linkin Park) is 37. Singer/songwriter Bonnie McKee is 32. Country singer Brantley Gilbert is 31. Rock singer Kevin Parker (Tame Impala) is 30. Actor Evan Peters is 29.
Thought for Today: “Whatever people in general do not understand, they are always prepared to dislike; the incomprehensible is always the obnoxious.” — Letitia Landon, English poet (1802-1838).