Today in History


By the Associated Press

Today is Monday, May 9, the 130th day of 2016. There are 236 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On May 9, 1961, in a speech to the National Association of Broadcasters, Federal Communications Commission Chairman Newton N. Minow decried the majority of television programming as a “vast wasteland.”

On this date:

In 1754, a political cartoon in Benjamin Franklin’s Pennsylvania Gazette depicted a snake cut into eight pieces, each section representing a part of the American colonies; the caption read, “JOIN, or DIE.”

In 1814, the Jane Austen novel “Mansfield Park” was first published in London.

In 1864, Union Maj. Gen. John Sedgwick was killed by a Confederate sniper during the Civil War Battle of Spotsylvania in Virginia.

In 1914, President Woodrow Wilson, acting on a joint congressional resolution, signed a proclamation designating the second Sunday in May as Mother’s Day.

In 1926, Americans Richard Byrd and Floyd Bennett supposedly became the first men to fly over the North Pole. (However, U.S. scholars announced in 1996 that their examination of Byrd’s flight diary, discovered earlier that year, suggested he had turned back 150 miles short of his goal.)

In 1936, Italy annexed Ethiopia.

In 1945, with World War II in Europe at an end, Soviet forces liberated Czechoslovakia from Nazi occupation. U.S. officials announced that a midnight entertainment curfew was being lifted immediately.

In 1951, the U.S. conducted its first thermonuclear experiment as part of Operation Greenhouse by detonating a 225-kiloton device on Enewetak Atoll in the Pacific nicknamed “George.”

In 1974, the House Judiciary Committee opened public hearings on whether to recommend the impeachment of President Richard Nixon. (The committee ended up adopting three articles of impeachment against the president, who resigned before the full House took up any of them.)

In 1980, 35 people were killed when a freighter rammed the Sunshine Skyway Bridge over Tampa Bay in Florida, causing a 1,400-foot section of the southbound span to collapse.

In 1994, South Africa’s newly elected parliament chose Nelson Mandela to be the country’s first black president.

In 1996, in dramatic video testimony to a hushed courtroom in Little Rock, Arkansas, President Bill Clinton insisted he had nothing to do with a $300,000 loan at the heart of a criminal case against his former Whitewater partners.

Ten years ago: Freed by rescuers drilling round-the-clock by hand, two men walked out of an Australian mine where they had been trapped for two weeks by an earthquake. (The joy over the survival of Brant Webb and Todd Russell was tempered by the loss of Larry Knight, who died in the same rock collapse.)

Five years ago: Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich announced on social networking websites that he was running for the Republican presidential nomination. Dallas Wiens, the nation’s first full face transplant recipient, joined surgeons at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston in his first public appearance since the 15-hour procedure in March 2011. Belgian cyclist Wouter Weylandt lost control of his bike and tumbled down a mountain pass to his death during the third stage of the Giro d’Italia (JEER’-oh dee-TAHL’-yah). Lidia Gueiler, Bolivia’s first female president, died at age 89.

One year ago: North Korea announced it had successfully test-fired a newly developed ballistic missile from a submarine in the latest display of the country’s advanced military capabilities. Actress Elizabeth Wilson, 94, died in New Haven, Connecticut. Renowned country fiddler Johnny Gimble, 88, died in Dripping Springs, Texas.

Today’s Birthdays: Actor-writer Alan Bennett is 82. Rock musician Nokie Edwards (The Ventures) is 81. Actor Albert Finney is 80. Actress-turned-politician Glenda Jackson is 80. Producer-director James L. Brooks is 79. Musician Sonny Curtis (Buddy Holly and the Crickets) is 79. Singer Tommy Roe is 74. Singer-musician Richie Furay (Buffalo Springfield and Poco) is 72. Actress Candice Bergen is 70. Pop singer Clint Holmes is 70. Actor Anthony Higgins is 69. Singer Billy Joel is 67. Blues singer-musician Bob Margolin is 67. Rock singer-musician Tom Petersson (Cheap Trick) is 66. Actress Alley Mills is 65. Actress Amy Hill is 63. Actress Wendy Crewson is 60. Actor John Corbett is 55. Singer Dave Gahan (GAHN) (Depeche Mode) is 54. Actress Sonja Sohn is 52. Rapper Ghostface Killah is 46. Country musician Mike Myerson (Heartland) is 45. Actor Chris Diamantopoulos (dy-uh-MAN’-toh-POO’-lehs) is 41. Rhythm-and-blues singer Tamia (tuh-MEE’-ah) is 41. Rock musician Dan Regan (Reel Big Fish) is 39. Rock singer Pierre Bouvier (Simple Plan) is 37. Actress Rosario Dawson is 37. Rock singer Andrew W.K. is 37. Figure skater Angela Nikodinov is 36. Actress Rachel Boston is 34. TV personality Audrina Patridge is 31. Actress Grace Gummer is 30.

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