GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

May 9, 2013

Today in History

The Associated Press
Gloucester Daily Times

---- — Today is Thursday, May 9, the 129th day of 2013. There are 236 days left in the year.

Today’s highlight in history:

On May 9, 1754, a political cartoon in Benjamin Franklin’s Pennsylvania Gazette depicted a snake cut into eight pieces, each section representing a part of the American colonies; the caption read, “JOIN, or DIE.”

On this date:

In 1712, the Carolina Colony was officially divided into two entities: North Carolina and South Carolina.

In 1883, Spanish philosopher Jose Ortega y Gasset was born in Madrid.

In 1936, Italy annexed Ethiopia.

In 1945, U.S. officials announced that a midnight entertainment curfew was being lifted immediately.

In 1951, the U.S. conducted its first thermonuclear experiment as part of Operation Greenhouse by detonating a 225-kiloton device on Enewetak Atoll in the Pacific nicknamed “George.”

In 1958, “Vertigo,” Alfred Hitchcock’s eerie thriller starring James Stewart and Kim Novak, premiered in San Francisco, the movie’s setting.

In 1961, in a speech to the National Association of Broadcasters, Federal Communications Commission Chairman Newton N. Minow decried the majority of television programming as a “vast wasteland.”

In 1962, scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology succeeded in reflecting a laser beam off the surface of the moon.

In 1974, the House Judiciary Committee opened public hearings on whether to recommend the impeachment of President Richard Nixon.

In 1978, the bullet-riddled body of former Italian prime minister Aldo Moro, who’d been abducted by the Red Brigades, was found in an automobile in the center of Rome.

In 1980, 35 people were killed when a freighter rammed the Sunshine Skyway Bridge over Tampa Bay in Florida, causing a 1,400-foot section of the southbound span to collapse.

In 1987, 183 people were killed when a New York-bound Polish jetliner crashed while attempting an emergency return to Warsaw.

Ten years ago: A camouflage-clad gunman fired hundreds of rounds as he roamed the halls of Case Western Reserve University’s business school in Cleveland, killing one person (Biswanath Halder was later convicted and sentenced to life in prison). The United States and its allies asked the U.N. Security Council to give its stamp of approval to their occupation of Iraq. The Republican-led House approved, 222-203, a $550 billion tax cut package.

Five years ago: Democrat Barack Obama picked up the backing of nine superdelegates, all but erasing Hillary Rodham Clinton’s once-imposing lead. Jury selection began in the Chicago trial of R&B superstar R. Kelly, accused of videotaping himself having sex with a girl as young as 13. (Kelly was later acquitted on all counts.)

One year ago: President Barack Obama declared his unequivocal support for same-sex marriage in a historic announcement that came three days after Vice President Joe Biden spoke in favor of such unions on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

Today’s birthdays: Actress Geraldine McEwan is 81. Actor-writer Alan Bennett is 79. Rock musician Nokie Edwards (The Ventures) is 78. Actor Albert Finney and actress-turned-politician Glenda Jackson are 77. Producer-director James L. Brooks and musician Sonny Curtis (Buddy Holly and the Crickets) are 76. Singer Tommy Roe is 71. Singer-musician Richie Furay (Buffalo Springfield and Poco) is 69. Actress Candice Bergen and pop singer Clint Holmes are 67. Actor Anthony Higgins is 66. Singer Billy Joel and blues singer-musician Bob Margolin are 64. Rock singer-musician Tom Petersson (Cheap Trick) is 63. Actress Alley Mills is 62. Actress Amy Hill is 60. Actress Wendy Crewson is 57. Actor John Corbett is 52. Singer Dave Gahan (Depeche Mode) is 51. Actress Sonja Sohn is 49. Rapper Ghostface Killah is 43. Musician Mike Myerson (Heartland) is 42. Rhythm-and-blues singer Tamia is 38. Musician Dan Regan (Reel Big Fish) is 36.

Thought for today: “There is nothing to fear except the persistent refusal to find out the truth, the persistent refusal to analyze the causes of happenings.”

— Dorothy Thompson, American journalist and author (1894-1961).