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Today in History - Dec. 2

Celebrity birthdays, highlights in history, plus more facts about this day
/ Source: The Associated Press

Today is Saturday, Dec. 2, the 336th day of 2006. There are 29 days left in the year.

Today's Highlight in History:
On Dec. 2, 1954, the Senate voted to condemn Wisconsin Republican Joseph R. McCarthy for conduct that "tends to bring the Senate into disrepute."

On this date:
In 1804, Napoleon was crowned emperor of France.

In 1823, President Monroe outlined his doctrine opposing European expansion in the Western Hemisphere.

In 1859, militant abolitionist John Brown was hanged for his raid on Harpers Ferry, Va., the previous October.

In 1906, 100 years ago, Peter C. Goldmark, father of the long-playing phonograph record, was born in Budapest, Hungary.

In 1942, an artificially created, self-sustaining nuclear chain reaction was demonstrated for the first time, at the University of Chicago.

In 1970, the Environmental Protection Agency began operating under director William Ruckelshaus.

In 1980, four American churchwomen were raped, murdered and buried outside San Salvador, El Salvador. (Five national guardsmen were convicted in the killings.)

In 1982, in the first operation of its kind, doctors at the University of Utah Medical Center implanted a permanent artificial heart in the chest of retired dentist Dr. Barney Clark, who lived 112 days with the device.

In 1991, American hostage Joseph Cicippio, held captive in Lebanon for more than five years, was released.

In 1993, Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar was shot to death by security forces in Medellin.

Ten years ago: Financier Charles Keating Jr., a central figure in the most notorious savings and loan debacle of the 1980s, won a new federal trial because jurors had learned of his prior fraud conviction in state court before convicting him of fraud and racketeering. (In 1999, Keating made a deal with federal prosecutors to plead guilty to four fraud counts and was sentenced to 50 months in prison — time he had already served.)

Five years ago: In one of the largest corporate bankruptcies in U.S. history, Enron filed for Chapter 11 protection. A bomb went off aboard a bus in Haifa, killing 15 Israelis, a day after two suicide bombers killed 11 bystanders in Jerusalem. Nicolas Escude gave France its ninth Davis Cup, defeating Australian Wayne Arthurs 7-6 (3), 6-7 (5), 6-3, 6-3 in the deciding fifth match.

One year ago: North Carolina inmate Kenneth Lee Boyd became the 1,000th person executed since the U.S. resumed capital punishment in 1977. Singapore executed a Vietnamese-born Australian heroin trafficker (Nguyen Tuong Van) despite a warning by Australian Prime Minister John Howard that the hanging would sour relations between the two countries.

Today's Birthdays: Character actor Bill Erwin is 92. Former Secretary of State Alexander M. Haig is 82. Actress Julie Harris is 81. Former Attorney General Edwin Meese III is 75. Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., is 67. Actress Cathy Lee Crosby is 62. Movie director Penelope Spheeris is 61. Country singer John Wesley Ryles is 56. Actor Keith Szarabajka is 54. Actor Dan Butler is 52. NBC news broadcaster Stone Phillips is 52. Actor Dennis Christopher is 51. Actor Steven Bauer is 50. Country singer Joe Henry is 46. Rock musician Rick Savage (Def Leppard) is 46. Tennis Hall-of-Famer Tracy Austin is 44. Rock musician Nate Mendel (Foo Fighters) is 38. Actress Rena Sofer is 38. Rock singer Jimi HaHa (Jimmie's Chicken Shack) is 38. Actress Lucy Liu is 38. Rapper Treach (Naughty By Nature) is 36. Tennis player Monica Seles is 33. Singer Nelly Furtado is 28. Singer Britney Spears is 25. Actresses Deanna and Daniella Canterman ("Maybe It's Me") are 14.

Thought for Today: "When we cannot find contentment in ourselves it is useless to seek it elsewhere." — Francois, Duc de la Rochefoucauld, French author (1613-1680).