Today is Thursday, May 17, the 138th day of 2012. There are 228 days left in the year.
Today's highlight in history:
On May 17, 1937, Teddy Hill and His Orchestra recorded "King Porter Stomp" for RCA Victor's Bluebird label in New York; making his recording debut was trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie.
On this date:
In 1510, Early Renaissance painter Sandro Botticelli died in Florence, Italy; he was probably in his mid 60s.
In 1792, the New York Stock Exchange had its origins as a group of brokers met under a tree on Wall Street.
In 1849, fire erupted in St. Louis, Mo., resulting in the loss of three lives, more than 400 buildings and some two dozen steamships.
In 1912, the Socialist Party of America nominated Eugene V. Debs for president at its convention in Indianapolis.
In 1939, Britain's King George VI and Queen Elizabeth arrived in Quebec on the first visit to Canada by reigning British sovereigns.
In 1946, President Harry S. Truman seized control of the nation's railroads, delaying — but not preventing — a threatened strike by engineers and trainmen.
In 1954, the U.S. Supreme Court, in Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, unanimously struck down racially segregated public schools.
In 1961, Cuban leader Fidel Castro offered to release prisoners captured in the Bay of Pigs invasion in exchange for 500 bulldozers. (The prisoners were eventually freed in exchange for medical supplies.)
In 1971, "Godspell," a contemporary musical inspired by the Gospel According to St. Matthew, opened off-Broadway at the Cherry Lane Theatre.
In 1980, rioting that claimed 18 lives erupted in Miami's Liberty City after an all-white jury in Tampa acquitted four former Miami police officers of fatally beating black insurance executive Arthur McDuffie.
In 1987, 37 American sailors were killed when an Iraqi warplane attacked the U.S. Navy frigate Stark in the Persian Gulf. (Iraq apologized for the attack, calling it a mistake, and paid more than $27 million in compensation.)
In 1992, orchestra leader Lawrence Welk died in Santa Monica, Calif., at age 89.
Ten years ago: Former President Jimmy Carter ended a historic visit to Cuba sharply at odds with the Bush administration over how to deal with Fidel Castro, saying limits on tourism and trade often hurt Americans more than Cubans.
Five years ago: President George W. Bush and retiring British Prime Minister Tony Blair held a joint news conference at the White House, during which Blair allowed not a single regret about the Iraq war alliance. World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz announced he would resign at the end of June 2007, following controversy over his handling of a pay package for his girlfriend. Trains crossed the border dividing the two Koreas for the first time in more than half a century.
One year ago: Queen Elizabeth II began the first visit by a British monarch to the Republic of Ireland, a four-day trip to highlight strong Anglo-Irish relations and the success of Northern Ireland peacemaking. Former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger issued a statement confirming a Los Angeles Times report that he had fathered a child with a woman on his household staff more than a decade earlier. (Schwarzenegger and his wife, Maria Shriver, had announced their separation on May 9, 2011.).
Today's birthdays: Actor Peter Gerety is 72. Singer Taj Mahal is 70. Singer-songwriter Jesse Winchester is 68. Rock musician Bill Bruford is 63. Singer-musician George Johnson (The Brothers Johnson) and TV personality Kathleen Sullivan are 59. Actor Bill Paxton is 57. Boxing Hall-of-Famer Sugar Ray Leonard and actor-comedian Bob Saget are 56. Sports announcer Jim Nantz is 53. Singer Enya is 51. Talk show host-actor Craig Ferguson is 50. Rock singer-musician Page McConnell is 49. Actor David Eigenberg is 48. Singer-musician Trent Reznor (Nine Inch Nails), actress Paige Turco and rhythm-and-blues musician O'Dell (Mint Condition) are 47. Actor Hill Harper is 46. TV personality/interior designer Thom Filicia is 43. Singers Jordan Knight and Darnell Van Rensalier (Shai) are 42. Actress Sasha Alexander and rock singer-musician Josh Homme are 39. Rock singer Andrea Corr (The Corrs) and actor Sendhil Ramamurthy are 38. Actress Rochelle Aytes and singer Kandi Burruss are 36. Actress Kat Foster is 34. Actor Tahj Mowry is 26. Actress Nikki Reed is 24. Actress Leven Rambin is 22. Actress Samantha Browne-Walters is 21. Actor Justin Martin is 18.
Thought for today: "If an article is attractive, or useful, or inexpensive, they'll stop making it tomorrow; if it's all three, they stopped making it yesterday." — Mignon McLaughlin, American journalist (1913-1983).