Today in History Sunday, Feb. 5, 2017


Today is Sunday, Feb. 5, the 36th day of 2017. There are 329 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlights in History:

On Feb. 5, 1917, Mexico’s present-day constitution was adopted by the Constitutional Convention in Santiago de Queretaro. The U.S. Congress passed, over President Woodrow Wilson’s veto, an act severely curtailing Asian immigration.

On this date:

In 1783, Sweden recognized the independence of the United States.

In 1887, Verdi’s opera “Otello” premiered at La Scala.

In 1897, the Indiana House of Representatives passed, 67-0, a measure offering a new (as well as fundamentally flawed) method for determining the area of a circle, which would have effectively redefined the value of pi as 3.2. (The bill died in the Indiana Senate.)

In 1922, the first edition of Reader’s Digest was published.

In 1937, President Franklin D. Roosevelt proposed increasing the number of U.S. Supreme Court justices; the proposal, which failed in Congress, drew accusations that Roosevelt was attempting to “pack” the nation’s highest court.

In 1940, Glenn Miller and His Orchestra recorded “Tuxedo Junction” for RCA Victor’s Bluebird label.

In 1953, Walt Disney’s animated feature “Peter Pan” was first released.

In 1967, “The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour” premiered on CBS-TV.

In 1971, Apollo 14 astronauts Alan Shepard and Edgar Mitchell stepped onto the surface of the moon in the first of two lunar excursions.

In 1973, services were held at Arlington National Cemetery for U.S. Army Col. William B. Nolde, the last official American combat casualty before the Vietnam cease-fire took effect.

In 1989, the Soviet Union announced that all but a small rear-guard contingent of its troops had left Afghanistan.

In 1994, white separatist Byron De La Beckwith was convicted in Jackson, Mississippi, of murdering civil rights leader Medgar Evers in 1963, and was immediately sentenced to life in prison. (Beckwith died Jan. 21, 2001 at age 80.) Sixty-eight people were killed when a mortar shell exploded in a marketplace in Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina.

Ten years ago: President George W. Bush unveiled a $2.9 trillion budget which proposed a big spending increase for the Pentagon while pinching domestic programs. NASA astronaut Lisa Nowak was arrested in Orlando, Florida, accused of trying to kidnap a rival for the affections of a space shuttle pilot. (Nowak was sentenced in 2009 to a year of probation in the altercation after pleading guilty to burglary charges; she was drummed out of the astronaut corps as well as the U.S. Navy.)

Five years ago: Josh Powell, long identified as a person of interest in the 2009 disappearance of his wife, Susan, set fire to his home in Graham, Washington, killing himself and his two sons, 7-year-old Charles and 5-year-old Braden, who had been brought there by a social worker for a supervised visit. Eli Manning and the Giants one-upped Tom Brady and the Patriots again, coming back with a last-minute score to beat New England 21-17 for New York’s fourth NFL title in Super Bowl XLVI (46).

One year ago: President Barack Obama used a new jobs report to continue his victory lap on the economy, declaring the U.S. had “the strongest, most durable economy in the world.” (The president spoke shortly after the Labor Department announced that U.S. employers added 151,000 jobs in January, pushing the unemployment rate to 4.9 percent from 5 percent.) A huge construction crane plummeted into a Lower Manhattan street, killing one person and leaving three other people injured.

Today’s Birthdays: Baseball Hall of Famer Hank Aaron is 83. Actor Stuart Damon is 80. Tony-winning playwright John Guare (gwayr) is 79. Financial writer Jane Bryant Quinn is 78. Actor David Selby is 76. Singer-songwriter Barrett Strong is 76. Football Hall-of-Famer Roger Staubach is 75. Movie director Michael Mann is 74. Rock singer Al Kooper is 73. Actress Charlotte Rampling is 71. Racing Hall-of-Famer Darrell Waltrip is 70. Actress Barbara Hershey is 69. Actor Christopher Guest is 69. Actor Tom Wilkinson is 69. Actor-comedian Tim Meadows is 56. Actress Jennifer Jason Leigh is 55. Actress Laura Linney is 53. Rock musician Duff McKagan (Velvet Revolver) is 53. World Golf Hall of Famer Jose Maria Olazabal is 51. Actor-comedian Chris Parnell is 50. Rock singer Chris Barron (Spin Doctors) is 49. Singer Bobby Brown is 48. Actor Michael Sheen is 48. Actor David Chisum is 47. Country singer Sara Evans is 46. Country singer Tyler Farr is 33. Neo-soul musician Mark Shusterman (Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats) is 32. Actor-singer Darren Criss is 30. Actor Alex Brightman is 30. Rock musician Kyle Simmons (Bastille) is 29. Actor Jeremy Sumpter is 28. Drummer Graham Sierota (Echosmith) is 18.

Thought for Today: “Men do not desire to be rich, but to be richer than other men.” — John Stuart Mill, English philosopher and economist (1806-1873).

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