Today is Friday, Dec. 12, the 346th day of 2014. There are 19 days left in the year.
Today’s Highlight in History:
On Dec. 12, 1870, Joseph H. Rainey of South Carolina became the first black lawmaker sworn into the U.S. House of Representatives.
On this date:
In 1787, Pennsylvania became the second state to ratify the U.S. Constitution.
In 1897, “The Katzenjammer Kids,” the pioneering comic strip created by Rudolph Dirks, made its debut in the New York Journal.
In 1906, President Theodore Roosevelt nominated Oscar Straus to be Secretary of Commerce and Labor; Straus became the first Jewish Cabinet member.
In 1911, Britain’s King George V announced during a visit to India that the capital would be transferred from Calcutta to Delhi.
In 1917, Father Edward Flanagan founded Boys Town outside Omaha, Neb.
In 1925, the first motel — the Motel Inn — opened in San Luis Obispo, Calif.
In 1937, Japanese aircraft sank the U.S. gunboat Panay on China’s Yangtze River. (Japan apologized, and paid $2.2 million in reparations.)
In 1946, a United Nations committee voted to accept a six-block tract of Manhattan real estate offered as a gift by John D. Rockefeller Jr. to be the site of the U.N.’s headquarters.
In 1963, Kenya became independent of Britain. In 1974, “The Godfather, Part II,” a Paramount Pictures release, premiered in New York.
In 1985, 248 American soldiers and eight crew members were killed when an Arrow Air charter crashed after takeoff from Gander, Newfoundland.
In 2000, George W. Bush became president-elect as a divided U.S. Supreme Court reversed a state court decision for recounts in Florida’s contested election.
Ten years ago: A bomb exploded in a market in southern Philippines, killing at least 14 people. Militants blew up an Israeli base at the Gaza-Egypt crossing, killing five soldiers. Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas apologized to Kuwaitis for Palestinian support for Saddam Hussein after Iraq invaded Kuwait in 1990.
Five years ago: Houston elected its first openly gay mayor, with voters handing a solid victory to City Controller Annise Parker after a hotly contested runoff with former city attorney Gene Locke. Rescue crews found the body of a climber on Oregon’s Mount Hood while two others remained missing. (The bodies of the other two climbers were found in Aug. 2010.) Sophomore tailback Mark Ingram became the first player at the University of Alabama to win the Heisman Trophy.
One year ago: The House voted to ease across-the-board federal spending cuts and head off future government shutdowns, acting after Speaker John Boehner unleashed a stinging attack on tea party-aligned conservative groups campaigning for the measure’s defeat. Actress Audrey Totter, 95, died in Los Angeles. Actor-writer-producer Tom O’Laughlin, 82, creator of “Billy Jack,” died in Thousand Oaks, California.
Today’s Birthdays: Former TV host Bob Barker is 91. Basketball Hall of Famer Bob Pettit is 82. Singer Connie Francis is 77. Singer Dionne Warwick is 74. Rock singer-musician Dickey Betts is 71. Former race car driver Emerson Fittipaldi is 68. Actor Wings Hauser is 67. Actor Bill Nighy (ny) is 65. Actor Duane Chase (Film: “The Sound of Music”) is 64. Country singer LaCosta is 64. Gymnast-turned-actress Cathy Rigby is 62. Author Lorna Landvik is 60. Singer-musician Sheila E. is 57. Actress Sheree J. Wilson is 56. Pop singer Daniel O’Donnell is 53. International Tennis Hall of Famer Tracy Austin is 52. Rock musician Eric Schenkman (Spin Doctors) is 51. Rock musician Nicholas Dimichino (Nine Days) is 47. Author Sophie Kinsella is 45. News anchor Maggie Rodriguez is 45. Actress Jennifer Connelly is 44. Actress Madchen Amick is 44. Actress Regina Hall is 44. Country singer Hank Williams III is 42. Actress Mayim Bialik is 39. Model Bridget Hall is 37.
Thought for Today: “To escape criticism — do nothing, say nothing, be nothing.” — Elbert Hubbard, American author and publisher (1856-1915).