Today is Wednesday, July 30, the 211th day of 2014. There are 154 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:
On July 30, 1864, during the Civil War, Union forces tried to take Petersburg, Virginia, by exploding a gunpowder-laden mine shaft that had been dug out beneath Confederate defense lines; the attack failed.

On this date:

  • In 1729, Baltimore, Maryland, was founded.
  • In 1918, poet Joyce Kilmer, a sergeant in the 165th U.S. Infantry Regiment, was killed during the Second Battle of the Marne in World War I. (Kilmer is perhaps best remembered for his poem “Trees.”)
  • In 1932, the Summer Olympic Games opened in Los Angeles.
  • In 1942, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed a bill creating a women’s auxiliary agency in the Navy known as “Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service” — WAVES for short.
  • In 1945, the Portland class heavy cruiser USS Indianapolis was torpedoed by a Japanese submarine during World War II; only 316 out of some 1,200 men survived.
  • In 1953, the Small Business Administration was founded.
  • In 1956, President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed a measure making “In God We Trust” the national motto, replacing “E Pluribus Unum” (“Out of many, one”).
  • In 1963, the Soviet Union announced it had granted political asylum to Harold “Kim” Philby, the “third man” of a British spy ring.
  • In 1965, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed into law the Medicare bill, which went into effect the following year.
  • In 1975, former Teamsters union president Jimmy Hoffa disappeared in suburban Detroit; although presumed dead, his remains have never been found.
  • In 1980, Israel’s Knesset passed a law reaffirming all of Jerusalem as the capital of the Jewish state.
  • In 1990, British Conservative Party lawmaker Ian Gow was killed in a bombing claimed by the Irish Republican Army.

Ten years ago: Leaders of the September 11 commission urged senators to embrace their proposals for massive changes to the nation’s intelligence structure, warning that failure to act would leave America vulnerable to another devastating terrorist attack. Mike Tyson was knocked out in the fourth round of a fight in Louisville, Kentucky, by British heavyweight Danny Williams.

Five years ago: Harvard scholar Henry Louis Gates Jr. and Sgt. James Crowley, the Cambridge, Massachusetts, police officer who’d arrested him for disorderly conduct at his home, had beers with President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden at the White House to discuss the dispute that unleashed a furor over racial profiling in America.

One year ago: U.S. Army Pfc. Bradley Manning was acquitted of aiding the enemy — the most serious charge he faced — but was convicted of espionage, theft and other charges at Fort Meade, Maryland, more than three years after he’d spilled secrets to WikiLeaks. (The former intelligence analyst, now known as Chelsea Manning, was later sentenced to up to 35 years in prison.) Former Sen. Harry F. Byrd Jr., 98, died in Winchester, Virginia.

Today’s Birthdays: Actor Richard Johnson is 87. Actor Edd (correct) “Kookie” Byrnes is 81. Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig is 80. Blues musician Buddy Guy is 78. Movie director Peter Bogdanovich is 75. Feminist activist Eleanor Smeal is 75. Former U.S. Rep. Patricia Schroeder is 74. Singer Paul Anka is 73. Jazz musician David Sanborn is 69. Former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is 67. Actor William Atherton is 67. Actor Jean Reno (zhahn rih-NOH’) is 66. Blues singer-musician Otis Taylor is 66. Actor Frank Stallone is 64. Actor Ken Olin is 60. Actress Delta Burke is 58. Law professor Anita Hill is 58. Singer-songwriter Kate Bush is 56. Country singer Neal McCoy is 56. Actor Richard Burgi is 56. Movie director Richard Linklater is 54. Actor Laurence Fishburne is 53. Actress Lisa Kudrow is 51. Bluegrass musician Danny Roberts (The Grascals) is 51. Country musician Dwayne O’Brien is 50. Actress Vivica A. Fox is 50. Actor Terry Crews is 46. Actor Simon Baker is 45. Movie director Christopher Nolan is 44. Actor Tom Green is 43. Rock musician Brad Hargreaves (Third Eye Blind) is 43. Actress Christine Taylor is 43. Actor-comedian Dean Edwards is 41. Actress Hilary Swank is 40. Olympic gold medal beach volleyball player Misty May-Treanor is 37. Actress Jaime Pressly is 37. Alt-country singer-musician Seth Avett (AY’-veht) is 34. Actress April Bowlby is 34. Actress Yvonne Strahovski is 32. Actress Joey King is 15.

Thought for Today: “An efficient bureaucracy is the greatest threat to liberty.” — Sen. Eugene McCarthy (1916-2005).

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