There are 13 days left in the year.
Today's Highlight in History:
- On Dec. 18, 1865, the 13th Amendment to the Constitution, abolishing slavery, was declared in effect by Secretary of State William H. Seward.
On this date:
- In 1787, New Jersey became the third state to ratify the U.S. Constitution.
- In 1892, Tchaikovsky's ballet "The Nutcracker" publicly premiered in St. Petersburg, Russia.
- In 1915, President Woodrow Wilson, widowed the year before, married Edith Bolling Galt at her Washington home.
- In 1940, Adolf Hitler ordered secret preparations for Nazi Germany to invade the Soviet Union. (Operation Barbarossa was launched in June 1941.)
- In 1944, in a pair of rulings, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the wartime relocation of Japanese-Americans, but also said undeniably loyal Americans of Japanese ancestry could not continue to be detained.
- In 1956, Japan was admitted to the United Nations.
- In 1957, the Shippingport Atomic Power Station in Pennsylvania, the first public, full-scale commercial nuclear facility to generate electricity in the United States, went on line. (It was taken out of service in 1982.)
- In 1958, the world's first communications satellite, SCORE (Signal Communication by Orbiting Relay Equipment), nicknamed "Chatterbox," was launched by the United States aboard an Atlas rocket.
- In 1972, the United States began heavy bombing of North Vietnamese targets during the Vietnam War. (The bombardment ended 11 days later.)
- In 1980, former Soviet Premier Alexei N. Kosygin died at age 76.
Ten years ago:
- The House debated articles of impeachment against President Bill Clinton.
- U.S. and British forces blasted Iraq with a third day of airstrikes.
- South Carolina carried out the nation's 500th execution since capital punishment resumed in 1977.
Five years ago:
- Two federal appeals courts ruled the U.S. military could not indefinitely hold prisoners without access to lawyers or American courts.
- A jury in Chesapeake, Va., convicted teenager Lee Boyd Malvo of two counts of capital murder in the Washington-area sniper shootings (he was later sentenced to life in prison without parole).
- A judge in Seattle sentenced confessed Green River Killer Gary Ridgway to 48 consecutive life terms.
- Michael Jackson was formally charged with molesting a cancer-stricken boy at his Neverland Ranch; Jackson was acquitted at trial.
One year ago:
- The White House said President George W. Bush had approved "a significant reduction" in the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile, cutting it to less than one-quarter its size at the end of the Cold War.
- The U.N. Security Council voted unanimously to extend the U.S.-led multinational force in Iraq for one year.
- Jacob Zuma was elected leader of the African National Congress, South Africa's ruling party, defeating imcumbent Thabo Mbeki.
- Television writer-producer Hal Kanter is 90.
- Former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark is 81.
- Actor Roger Smith is 76.
- Blues musician Lonnie Brooks is 75.
- Rock singer-musician Keith Richards is 65.
- Writer-director Alan Rudolph is 65.
- Movie producer-director Steven Spielberg is 62.
- Blues artist Ron Piazza is 61.
- Movie director Gillian Armstrong is 58.
- Movie reviewer Leonard Maltin is 58.
- Rock musician Elliot Easton is 55.
- Actor Ray Liotta is 53.
- Comedian Ron White is 52.
- Actor Brad Pitt is 45.
- Actress Rachel Griffiths is 40.
- Singer Alejandro Sanz is 40.
- Country/rap singer Cowboy Troy is 38.
- Rapper DMX is 38.
- Tennis player Arantxa Sanchez Vicario is 37.
- DJ Lethal (Limp Bizkit) is 36.
- Actress Katie Holmes is 30.
- Singer Christina Aguilera is 28.
- Christian rock musician Dave Luetkenhoelter (Kutless) is 26.
Thought for Today:
"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage."
Anais Nin, American author (1903-1977).
"Let's all be careful out there!"