Today in history
Today is Sunday, March 19, the 78th day of 2017. There are 287 days left in the year.
Today’s Highlight in History:
On March 19, 1917, a divided U.S. Supreme Court, in Wilson v. New, upheld 5-4 the eight-hour work day for interstate railroad workers.
On this date:
In 1863, the Confederate cruiser Georgiana, was scuttled off Charleston, S.C., on its maiden voyage to prevent it from falling into Union hands.
In 1920, the Senate rejected, for a second time, the Treaty of Versailles by a vote of 49 in favor, 35 against, falling short of the two-thirds majority needed for approval.
In 1931, Nevada Gov. Fred B. Balzar signed a measure legalizing casino gambling.
In 1942, during World War II, President Franklin D. Roosevelt ordered men between the ages of 45 and 64, inclusive, to register for non-military duty.
In 1945, during World War II, 724 people were killed when a Japanese dive bomber attacked the carrier USS Franklin off Japan (the ship was saved). Adolf Hitler ordered the destruction of German facilities that could fall into Allied hands in his so-called “Nero Decree,” which was largely disregarded.
In 1951, Herman Wouk’s World War II novel “The Caine Mutiny” was first published by Doubleday.
In 1965, the wreck of the Confederate cruiser Georgiana was discovered by E. Lee Spence, 102 years to the day after it was scuttled.
In 1977, the series finale of “Mary Tyler Moore” aired on CBS-TV, ending the situation comedy’s seven-season run.
In 1979, the U.S. House of Representatives began televising its floor proceedings; the live feed was carried by C-SPAN (Cable-Satellite Public Affairs Network), which was making its debut.
In 1987, televangelist Jim Bakker resigned as chairman of his PTL ministry organization amid a sex and money scandal involving Jessica Hahn, a former church secretary.
In 1997, artist Willem de Kooning, considered one of the 20th century’s greatest painters, died in East Hampton, N.Y., at age 92.
In 2003, President George W. Bush ordered the start of war against Iraq. (Because of the time difference, it was early March 20 in Iraq.)
Ten years ago: President George W. Bush marked the fourth anniversary of the start of the Iraq war with a plea for patience to let his revised battle plan work; Congress’ new Democratic leaders retorted that no patience remained. A methane gas explosion in a Siberian coal mine killed 110 workers. Death claimed rhythm-and-blues singer-songwriter Luther Ingram at age 69 and TV performer Calvert DeForest, aka “Larry ‘Bud’ Melman,” at age 85.
Five years ago: An assailant on a motorbike opened fire with two handguns in front of a Jewish school in the southern French city of Toulouse, killing a rabbi, his two young sons and a girl. (The gunman, French-born Mohammed Merah, was killed in a gunfight with police after a 32-hour standoff at his apartment; he had also killed three French paratroopers.) The federal Justice Department announced it had begun an investigation into the fatal shooting of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in Florida by a neighborhood watch captain, George Zimmerman.
One year ago: A FlyDubai Boeing 737 plunged into the ground near the airport in the Russian city of Rostov-on-Don, killing all 62 people on board. A Turkish suicide bomber killed five people, including two Americans, in Istanbul’s main pedestrian shopping street; Turkish officials said the bomber was linked to Islamic State. Protesters blocked a main highway leading into the Phoenix suburb where Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump was staging a campaign rally alongside Arizona’s contentious sheriff, Joe Arpaio.
Today’s Birthdays: Former White House national security adviser Brent Scowcroft is 92. Theologian Hans Kung is 89. Author Philip Roth is 84. Actress Renee Taylor is 84. Actress-singer Phyllis Newman is 84. Actress Ursula Andress is 81. Singer Clarence “Frogman” Henry is 80. Singer Ruth Pointer (The Pointer Sisters) is 71. Actress Glenn Close is 70. Film producer Harvey Weinstein is 65. Actor Bruce Willis is 62. Actress-comedian Mary Scheer is 54. Playwright Neil LaBute is 54. Actor Connor Trinneer is 48. Rock musician Gert Bettens (K’s Choice) is 47. Rapper Bun B is 44. Rock musician Zach Lind (Jimmy Eat World) is 41. Actress Virginia Williams is 39. Actress Abby Brammell is 38. Actor Craig Lamar Traylor is 28. Actor Philip Bolden is 22.
Thought for Today: “One friend in a lifetime is much; two are many; three are hardly possible.” — Henry Brooks Adams, American historian and author (1838-1918).