There are 3 days left in the year.
Today's Highlight in History:
- One hundred years ago, on Dec. 28, 1908, a major earthquake followed by a tsunami devastated the Italian city of Messina, killing some 70,000 people, although some estimates are much higher.
On this date:
- In 1694, Queen Mary II of England died after more than five years of joint rule with her husband, King William III.
- In 1832, John C. Calhoun became the first vice president of the United States to resign, stepping down over differences with President Andrew Jackson.
- In 1846, Iowa became the 29th state to be admitted to the Union.
- In 1856, the 28th president of the United States, Thomas Woodrow Wilson, was born in Staunton, Va.
- In 1897, the play "Cyrano de Bergerac," by Edmond Rostand, premiered in Paris.
- In 1917, the New York Evening Mail published "A Neglected Anniversary," a facetious -- as well as ficitious -- essay by H.L. Mencken recounting the history of bathtubs in America.
- In 1945, Congress officially recognized the Pledge of Allegiance.
- In 1958, the Baltimore Colts won the NFL championship, defeating the New York Giants 23-17 in overtime at Yankee Stadium.
- In 1973, Alexander Solzhenitsyn published "Gulag Archipelago," an expose of the Soviet prison system.
- In 1987, the bodies of 14 relatives of Ronald Gene Simmons were found at his home near Dover, Arkansas, following a shooting rampage by Simmons in Russellville that claimed two other lives. (Simmons was later executed.)
Ten years ago:
- American warplanes exchanged missile fire with Iraqi air defenses; President Bill Clinton said there would be no letup in American and British pressure on Saddam Hussein.
- Four people were killed, two gone missing and presumed dead, when fierce gales struck during an Australian yacht race.
Five years ago:
- Libya for the first time allowed U.N. nuclear officials to inspect four sites related to its nuclear weapons program.
One year ago:
- President George W. Bush used a "pocket veto" to reject a sweeping defense bill because he objected to a provision that would have exposed the Iraqi government to expensive lawsuits seeking damages from the Saddam Hussein era.
- Pakistani opposition leader Benazir Bhutto was laid to rest as the country's army tried to quell a frenzy of rioting in the wake of her assassination.
- Six French charity workers sentenced to eight years' forced labor in Chad for allegedly trying to kidnap 103 children were transferred to French custody. (The workers were later pardoned by Chad's president and set free.)
- Actor Lou Jacobi 95
- Stan Lee Comic book creator ("Spider-Man," "The Incredible Hulk") 86
- Martin Milner Actor ("Adam-12") 77
- Nichelle Nichols Actress ("Star Trek") 76
- Maggie Smith Actress 74
- Johnny Isakson U.S. senator, R-Ga. 64
- Mike Beebe Governor of Arkansas 62
- Tim Johnson U.S. senator, D-S.D. 62
- Edgar Winter Rock singer, musician 62
- Alex Chilton Rock singer, musician 58
- Denzel Washington Actor 54
- Joe Diffie Country singer 50
- Mike McGuire Country musician (Shenandoah) 50
- Ray Borque Hockey Hall of Famer 48
- Chad McQueen Actor 48
- Marty Roe Country singer, musician (Diamond Rio) 48
- Malcolm Gets Actor 44
- Mauricio Mendoza Actor 39
- Patrick Rafter Tennis Hall of Famer 36
- Adam Vinatieri Football player 36
- Seth Meyers Comedian ("Saturday Night Live") 35
- John Legend R&B singer 30
- James Blake Tennis player 29
- Sienna Miller Actress 27
- Thomas Dekker Actor 21
- Mackenzie Rosman Actress ("7th Heaven") 19
- David Archuleta Singer ("American Idol") 18
Thought for Today:
"More persons, on the whole, are humbugged by believing nothing, than by believing too much."
Phineas T. Barnum, American showman (1810-1891).
"Let's all be careful out there!"