Today in History

Friday, December 2, 2011

Today is Friday, Dec. 2, the 336th day of 2011. There are 29 days left in the year.

Today's Highlight in History:

On Dec. 2, 1961, Cuban leader Fidel Castro declared himself a Marxist-Leninist who would eventually lead Cuba to Communism in a nationally broadcast speech that began around midnight and ended five hours later.

On this date:

In 1804, Napoleon crowned himself Emperor of the French.

In 1823, President James Monroe outlined his doctrine opposing European expansion in the Western Hemisphere.

In 1859, militant abolitionist John Brown was hanged for his raid on Harpers Ferry the previous October. Artist Georges-Pierre Seurat was born in Paris.

In 1927, Ford Motor Co. unveiled its Model A automobile that replaced its Model T.

In 1939, New York Municipal Airport-LaGuardia Field (later LaGuardia Airport) went into operation as an airliner from Chicago landed at one minute past midnight.

In 1942, an artificially created, self-sustaining nuclear chain reaction was demonstrated for the first time, at the University of Chicago.

In 1954, the Senate voted to condemn Sen. Joseph R. McCarthy, R-Wis., for conduct that "tends to bring the Senate into disrepute."

In 1970, the newly created Environmental Protection Agency opened its doors. (Its first director was William D. Ruckelshaus.)

In 1980, four American churchwomen were raped and murdered outside San Salvador. (Five El Salvador national guardsmen were later convicted of murdering nuns Ita Ford, Maura Clarke and Dorothy Kazel, and lay worker Jean Donovan.)

In 1991, American hostage Joseph Cicippio, held captive in Lebanon for more than five years, was released.

Ten years ago: In one of the largest corporate bankruptcies in U.S. history, Enron filed for Chapter 11 protection. A bomb went off aboard a bus in Haifa, killing 15 Israelis, a day after two suicide bombers killed 11 bystanders in Jerusalem. Nicolas Escude gave France its ninth Davis Cup, defeating Australian Wayne Arthurs 7-6 (3), 6-7 (5), 6-3, 6-3 in the deciding fifth match.

Five years ago: Fidel Castro failed to attend a military parade marking the 50th anniversary of the formation of Cuba's Revolutionary Armed Forces, raising questions about his ability to return to power. A triple car bombing in a predominantly Shiite district of Baghdad killed dozens of people. A sport utility vehicle driven by actor Lane Garrison hit a tree in Beverly Hills, killing a 17-year-old passenger; Garrison was later sentenced to three years and four months in prison for drunken driving (he was paroled in April 2009).

One year ago: The House voted, 333-79, to censure Rep. Charles Rangel, D-N.Y., for financial and fundraising misconduct; it was only the 23rd time that the House had invoked its most serious punishment short of expulsion. LeBron James scored 38 points to lead the Miami Heat to a 118-90 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers; it was James' first game back in the city where he had played for seven years before leaving via free agency. The tiny desert nation of Qatar beat out the United States as the 2022 World Cup host, bringing soccer's showcase event for the first time to the Middle East.

Today's Birthdays: Actress Julie Harris is 86. Former Attorney General Edwin Meese III is 80. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., is 72. Actress Cathy Lee Crosby is 67. Movie director Penelope Spheeris is 66. Actor Ron Raines is 62. Country singer John Wesley Ryles is 61. Actor Keith Szarabajka is 59. Actor Dan Butler is 57. Broadcast journalist Stone Phillips is 57. Actor Dennis Christopher is 56. Actor Steven Bauer is 55. Country singer Joe Henry is 51. Rock musician Rick Savage (Def Leppard) is 51. Rock musician Nate Mendel (Foo Fighters) is 43. Actress Rena Sofer is 43. Rock singer Jimi HaHa (Jimmie's Chicken Shack) is 43. Actress Lucy Liu is 43. Rapper Treach (Naughty By Nature) is 41. Tennis player Monica Seles is 38. Singer Nelly Furtado is 33. Pop singer Britney Spears is 30. Actress-singer Jana Kramer (TV: "One Tree Hill") is 28. Actress Daniela Ruah (TV: "NCIS: Los Angeles") is 28. Actor Alfie Enoch (Film: "Harry Potter" films) is 23. Actresses Daniella and Deanna Canterman are 19.

Thought for Today: "When your work speaks for itself, don't interrupt." -- Henry J. Kaiser, American industrialist (1882-1967).

Copyright 2011, The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: