Today in History

Today in History

Today is Friday, Sept. 16, the 260th day of 2016. There are 106 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On Sept. 16, 1966, the Metropolitan Opera officially opened its new opera house at New York’s Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts with the world premiere of Samuel Barber’s “Antony and Cleopatra.”

On this date:

In 1498, Tomas de Torquemada, notorious for his role in the Spanish Inquisition, died in Avila, Spain.

In 1810, Mexicans were inspired to begin their successful revolt against Spanish rule by Father Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla and his “Grito de Dolores (Cry of Dolores).”

In 1893, more than 100,000 settlers swarmed onto a section of land in Oklahoma known as the “Cherokee Strip.”

In 1908, General Motors was founded in Flint, Michigan, by William C. Durant.

In 1919, the American Legion received a national charter from Congress.

In 1925, the Irving Berlin song “Always” (written for his future wife, Ellin Mackay) was published.

In 1940, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Selective Training and Service Act. Samuel T. Rayburn of Texas was elected Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives.

In 1953, “The Robe,” the first movie presented in the widescreen process CinemaScope, had its world premiere at the Roxy Theater in New York.

In 1976, the Episcopal Church, at its General Convention in Minneapolis, formally approved the ordination of women as priests and bishops.

In 1982, the massacre of between 1,200 and 1,400 Palestinian men, women and children at the hands of Israeli-allied Christian Phalange militiamen began in west Beirut’s Sabra and Shatila refugee camps.

In 1994, a federal jury in Anchorage, Alaska, ordered Exxon Corp. to pay $5 billion in punitive damages for the 1989 Exxon Valdez (val-DEEZ’) oil spill (the U.S Supreme Court later reduced that amount to $507.5 million). Two astronauts from the space shuttle Discovery went on the first untethered spacewalk in ten years.

In 2007, O.J. Simpson was arrested in the alleged armed robbery of sports memorabilia collectors in Las Vegas. (Simpson was later convicted of kidnapping and armed robbery and sentenced to nine to 33 years in prison.)

Ten years ago: The Vatican said Pope Benedict XVI “sincerely” regretted offending Muslims with his reference to an obscure medieval text characterizing some of the teachings of Islam’s founder as “evil and inhuman,” but the statement stopped short of the apology demanded by Islamic leaders. Mexico extradited accused drug kingpin Francisco Rafael Arellano Felix (ah-ray-YAH’-noh fay-LEEKS’) to the U.S. (Arellano Felix later pleaded guilty to federal charges of selling cocaine in a San Diego motel and was sentenced to six years in prison, but was returned to Mexico in 2008 after getting credit for time served in Mexico while awaiting extradition; he was killed in Oct. 2013 by a gunman disguised as a clown.)

Five years ago: President Barack Obama signed into law a major overhaul of the nation’s patent system to ease the way for inventors to bring their products to market. A World War II-era fighter plane plunged into spectators during air races in Reno, Nevada, killing 74-year-old Florida stunt pilot Jimmy Leeward and 10 others. A Russian Soyuz capsule carrying three crew members, including NASA astronaut Ron Garan, from the International Space Station touched down safely in Kazakhstan, but not without rattling nerves after a breakdown in communications.

One year ago: Eleven Republican presidential candidates debated at the Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California, wrangling over immigration, gay marriage and foreign affairs. Baton-wielding Hungarian riot police unleashed tear gas and water cannons against hundreds of migrants after they broke through a razor-wire fence and tried to surge into the country from Serbia. Country singer Sturgill Simpson and singer-songwriter Lucinda Williams, both eclectic genre-bending artists, took home top honors at the Americana Honors and Awards show in Nashville.

Today’s Birthdays: Actress Janis Paige is 94. Actor George Chakiris is 84. Bluesman Billy Boy Arnold is 81. Movie director Jim McBride is 75. Actress Linda Miller is 74. Rhythm-and-blues singer Betty Kelley (Martha & the Vandellas) is 72. Musician Kenney Jones (Small Faces; Faces; The Who) is 68. Actress Susan Ruttan is 68. Rock musician Ron Blair (Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers; Mudcrutch) is 68. Actor Ed Begley Jr. is 67. Country singer David Bellamy (The Bellamy Brothers) is 66. Country singer-songwriter Phil Lee is 65. Actor-comedian Lenny Clarke is 63. Actor Kurt Fuller is 63. Jazz musician Earl Klugh is 63. Actor Christopher Rich is 63. Singer Frank Reed (The Chi-Lites) is 62. TV personality Mark McEwen is 62. Baseball Hall of Famer Robin Yount is 61. Actor Mickey Rourke is 60. Magician David Copperfield is 60. Country singer-songwriter Terry McBride is 58. Actress Jennifer Tilly is 58. Retired MLB All-Star pitcher Orel Hershiser is 58. Retired MLB All-Star Tim Raines is 57. Actress Jayne Brook is 56. Singer Richard Marx is 53. Comedian Molly Shannon is 52. Singer Marc Anthony is 48. Comedian-actress Amy Poehler is 45. Actress Toks Olagundoye (tohks oh-lah-GOON’-doh-yay) is 41. Country singer Matt Stillwell is 41. Singer Musiq (MYOO’-sihk) is 39. Actor Michael Mosley is 38. Rapper Flo Rida is 37. Actress Alexis Bledel is 35. Actress Sabrina Bryan is 32. Actress Madeline Zima is 31. Actor Ian Harding is 30. Actress Kyla Pratt is 30. Actor Daren Kagasoff is 29. Rock singer Teddy Geiger is 28. Actress-dancer Bailey Buntain is 27. Rock singer-musician Nick Jonas (The Jonas Brothers) is 24. Actress Elena Kampouris is 19.

Thought for Today: “Stoicism is the wisdom of madness and cynicism the madness of wisdom.” — Bergen Evans, American lexicographer (1904-1978).

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