Today in History
Today is Tuesday, Dec. 14, the 348th day of 2021. There are 17 days left in the year.
Today’s Highlight in History:
On Dec. 14, 2020, the Electoral College decisively confirmed Joe Biden as the nation’s next president, ratifying his November victory in a state-by-state repudiation of President Donald Trump’s refusal to concede he had lost; electors gave Biden 306 votes to Trump’s 232. Speaking from Delaware, Biden accused Trump of threatening core principles of democracy, but told Americans that their form of self-government had “prevailed.” A divided Wisconsin Supreme Court rejected Trump’s lawsuit seeking to overturn his loss in the battleground state about an hour before the Electoral College cast Wisconsin’s 10 votes for Biden.
On this date:
In 1799, the first president of the United States, George Washington, died at his Mount Vernon, Virginia, home at age 67.
In 1819, Alabama joined the Union as the 22nd state.
In 1861, Prince Albert, husband of Queen Victoria, died at Windsor Castle at age 42.
In 1911, Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen (ROH’-ahl AH’-mun-suhn) and his team became the first men to reach the South Pole, beating out a British expedition led by Robert F. Scott.
In 1916, President Woodrow Wilson vetoed an immigration measure aimed at preventing “undesirables” and anyone born in the “Asiatic Barred Zone” from entering the U.S. (Congress overrode Wilson’s veto in February 1917.)
In 1939, the Soviet Union was expelled from the League of Nations for invading Finland.
In 1961, a school bus was hit by a passenger train at a crossing near Greeley, Colorado, killing 20 students.
In 1964, the U.S. Supreme Court, in Heart of Atlanta Motel v. United States, ruled that Congress was within its authority to enforce the Civil Rights Act of 1964 against racial discrimination by private businesses (in this case, a motel that refused to cater to Blacks).
In 1981, Israel annexed the Golan Heights, which it had seized from Syria in 1967.
In 1985, former New York Yankees outfielder Roger Maris, who’d hit 61 home runs during the 1961 season, died in Houston at age 51.
In 2005, President George W. Bush defended his decision to wage the Iraq war, even as he acknowledged that “much of the intelligence turned out to be wrong.”
In 2012, a gunman with a semi-automatic rifle killed 20 first-graders and six educators at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, then took his own life as police arrived; the 20-year-old had also fatally shot his mother at their home before carrying out the attack on the school.
Ten years ago: President Barack Obama, visiting Fort Bragg in North Carolina, saluted troops returning from Iraq, asserting that the nearly nine-year conflict was ending honorably.
Five years ago: President-elect Donald Trump convened a summit at Trump Tower for nearly a dozen tech leaders whose industry had largely supported Democrat Hillary Clinton; the CEOs included Apple’s Tim Cook, Google’s Eric Schmidt, Amazon’s Jeff Bezos and Tesla’s Elon Musk. Trump announced his selection of former campaign rival Rick Perry to be secretary of energy. Yahoo said it believed hackers had stolen data from more than one billion user accounts in Aug. 2013 (in Oct. 2017, Yahoo raised that figure to 3 billion).
One year ago: The largest vaccination campaign in U.S. history began with health workers getting shots on the same day the nation’s COVID-19 death toll hit 300,000. U.S. government agencies and private companies rushed to secure computer networks after the disclosure of a sophisticated, long-running cyber-espionage intrusion suspected of being carried out by Russian hackers. The owner of the Cleveland Indians said the team would drop the name it had used since 1915; he said it was “no longer acceptable in our world.” (The team would still be known as the Indians in 2021, with the new name, the Guardians, taking effect after that season.)
Today’s Birthdays: Singer-actor Abbe Lane is 90. Actor Hal Williams is 87. Actor-singer Jane Birkin is 75. Pop singer Joyce Vincent-Wilson (Tony Orlando and Dawn) is 75. Entertainment executive Michael Ovitz is 75. Actor Dee Wallace is 73. R&B singer Ronnie McNeir (The Four Tops) is 72. Rock musician Cliff Williams is 72. Actor-comedian T.K. Carter is 65. Rock singer-musician Mike Scott (The Waterboys) is 63. Singer-musician Peter “Spider” Stacy (The Pogues) is 63. Actor Cynthia Gibb is 58. Actor Nancy Valen is 56. Actor Archie Kao is 52. Actor Natascha McElhone is 52. Actor-comedian Michaela Watkins is 50. Actor-comedian Miranda Hart is 49. R&B singer Brian Dalyrimple (Soul For Real) is 46. Actor KaDee Strickland is 46. Actor Tammy Blanchard is 45. Actor Sophie Monk is 42. Actor-singer-musician Jackson Rathbone is 37. Actor Vanessa Hudgens is 33. Rock/R&B singer Tori Kelly is 29.