Today is Tuesday, Feb. 20, the 51st day of 2007. There are 314 days left in the year.
Today’s Highlight in History:
On Feb. 20, 1962, astronaut John Glenn became the first American to orbit the Earth, flying aboard Friendship VII.
On this date:
In 1790, Holy Roman Emperor Joseph II died.
In 1792, President George Washington signed an act creating the U.S. Post Office.
In 1809, the Supreme Court, in United States v. Peters, ruled the power of the federal government is greater than that of any individual state.
In 1839, Congress prohibited dueling in the District of Columbia.
In 1907, President Theodore Roosevelt signed an immigration act which excluded “idiots, imbeciles, feebleminded persons, epileptics, insane persons” from being admitted to the United States.
In 1944, during World War II, U.S. bombers began raiding German aircraft manufacturing centers in a series of attacks that became known as “Big Week.”
In 1965, the Ranger VIII spacecraft crashed on the moon after sending back thousands of pictures of the lunar surface.
In 1987, a bomb blamed on the Unabomber exploded behind a computer store in Salt Lake City, seriously injuring store owner Gary Wright.
In 1987, Soviet authorities released Jewish activist Josef Begun.
In 2003, fire broke out during a rock concert at The Station nightclub in West Warwick, R.I., killing 100 people and injuring about 200 others.
Ten years ago: The National Transportation Safety Board called for a speedup in the redesign of the rudder controls on Boeing 737s, citing potential problems suspected in a pair of deadly crashes.
Five years ago: President Bush, on the final leg of his Asian trip, arrived in China, where he urged President Jiang Zemin to respect religious freedoms. A Cairo-to-Luxor passenger train caught fire, killing 360 people. At the Salt Lake City Winter Olympics, Jim Shea won the men’s skeleton race, finishing the two runs at Utah Olympic Park in one minute, 41.96 seconds. (The victory was the culmination of an emotional two months for Shea, whose 91-year-old grandfather, Olympic gold medal speedskater Jack Shea, died four weeks earlier.) American speedskater Apolo Anton Ohno won the 1,500 meters after South Korean Kim Dong-sung, who had crossed the finish line ahead of him, was disqualified.
One year ago: President George Bush, visiting Milwaukee, outlined his energy proposals to help wean the country off foreign oil. Right-wing British historian David Irving was sentenced to three years in prison after admitting to an Austrian court that he had denied the Holocaust. At the Turin Olympics, Tanith Belbin and partner Ben Agosto snapped the U.S. medals drought in figure skating with a silver; Russians Tatiana Navka and Roman Kostomarov won the gold. Archbishop Paul C. Marcinkus, a former Vatican bank chief linked to a huge Italian banking scandal in the 1980s, was found dead in his home in Sun City, Ariz.; he was 84. Sportscaster Curt Gowdy died in Palm Beach, Fla., at age 86.
Today’s Birthdays: Fashion designer Gloria Vanderbilt is 83. Actor Sidney Poitier is 80. Actress Marj Dusay is 71. Jazz-soul singer Nancy Wilson is 70. Singer-songwriter Buffy Sainte-Marie is
66. Hockey Hall-of-Famer Phil Esposito is 65. Movie director Mike Leigh is 64. Actress Brenda Blethyn is 61. Actress Sandy Duncan is
61. Rock musician J. Geils is 61. Actor Peter Strauss is 60. Rock singer-musician-producer Walter Becker (Steely Dan) is 57. Country singer Kathie Baillie is 56. Newspaper heiress Patricia Hearst is
53. Actor Anthony Stewart Head is 53. Country singer Leland Martin is 50. Actor James Wilby is 49. Rock musician Sebastian Steinberg is 48. Comedian Joel Hodgson is 47. Basketball player Charles Barkley is 44. Rock musician Ian Brown (Stone Roses) is 44. Actor French Stewart is 43. Actor Ron Eldard is 42. Model Cindy Crawford is 41. Actor Andrew Shue is 40. Actress Lili Taylor is 40. Singer Brian Littrell (Backstreet Boys) is 32. Actress Lauren Ambrose (“Six Feet Under”) is 29. Actor Jay Hernandez is 29. Actress Majandra Delfino is 26. Singer-musician Chris Thile is 26. Actor Jake Richardson is 22. Singer Rihanna is 19.
Thought for Today: “The life of the nation is secure only while the nation is honest, truthful, and virtuous.” — Frederick Douglass (c.1817-1895).