Today is Tuesday, Feb. 18, the 49th day of 2020. There are 317 days left in the year.
Today’s Highlight in History:
On Feb. 18, 1970, the “Chicago Seven” defendants were found not guilty of conspiring to incite riots at the 1968 Democratic national convention; five were convicted of violating the Anti-Riot Act of 1968 (those convictions were later reversed).
On this date:
In 1546, Martin Luther, leader of the Protestant Reformation in Germany, died in Eisleben.
In 1564, artist Michelangelo died in Rome.
In 1861, Jefferson Davis was sworn in as provisional president of the Confederate States of America in Montgomery, Alabama.
In 1885, Mark Twain’s “Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” was published in the U.S. for the first time (after being published in Britain and Canada).
In 1930, photographic evidence of Pluto (now designated a “dwarf planet”) was discovered by Clyde W. Tombaugh at Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, Arizona.
In 1943, Madame Chiang Kai-shek (chang ky-shehk), wife of the Chinese leader, addressed members of the Senate and then the House, becoming the first Chinese national to address both houses of the U.S. Congress.
In 1983, 13 people were shot to death at a gambling club in Seattle’s Chinatown in what became known as the Wah Mee Massacre. (Two men were convicted of the killings and are serving life sentences; a third was found guilty of robbery and assault.)
In 1988, Anthony M. Kennedy was sworn in as an associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court.
In 1994, at the Winter Olympic Games in Norway, U.S. speedskater Dan Jansen finally won a gold medal, breaking the world record in the 1,000 meters.
In 1997, astronauts on the space shuttle Discovery completed their tune-up of the Hubble Space Telescope after 33 hours of spacewalking; the Hubble was then released using the shuttle’s crane.
In 2001, veteran FBI agent Robert Philip Hanssen was arrested, accused of spying for Russia. (Hanssen later pleaded guilty to espionage and attempted espionage and was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.) Auto racing star Dale Earnhardt Sr. died in a crash at the Daytona 500; he was 49.
In 2003, an arson attack involving two South Korean subway trains in the city of Daegu claimed 198 lives. (The arsonist was sentenced to life in prison, where he died in 2004.)
Ten years ago: In Austin, Texas, software engineer A. Joseph Stack III crashed his single-engine plane into a building containing IRS offices, killing one person besides himself. President Barack Obama personally welcomed the Dalai Lama to the White House, but kept the get-together off camera and low key in an attempt to avoid inflaming tensions with China.
Five years ago: President Barack Obama, hosting a White House summit on countering violent extremism, said Muslims in the U.S. and around the world had a responsibility to fight a misconception that terrorist groups like the Islamic State were speaking for them.
One year ago: Scientist Wallace Smith Broecker, who raised early alarms about climate change and popularized the term “global warming,” died at a New York hospital at the age of 87. President Donald Trump urged Venezuela’s military to support opposition leader Juan Guaido (gwy-DOH’), and warned that soldiers would find “no safe harbor” if they continued to back President Nicolas Maduro’s government. (Despite U.S. pressure including new sanctions on members of Maduro’s inner circle, efforts to unseat Maduro have floundered.) New York City officials issued legal guidance saying that the city’s existing human rights law protected against hairdo discrimination, allowing New Yorkers to maintain hairstyles “closely associated with their racial, ethnic or cultural identities.”
Today’s Birthdays: Former Sen. John Warner, R-Va., is 93. Singer Yoko Ono is 87. Singer-songwriter Bobby Hart is 81. Singer Irma Thomas is 79. Singer Herman Santiago (Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers) is 79. Actress Jess Walton is 74. Singer Dennis DeYoung is 73. Actress Sinead Cusack is 72. Actress Cybill Shepherd is 70. Singer Randy Crawford is 68. Rock musician Robbie Bachman is 67. Actor John Travolta is 66. Actor John Pankow is 65. Game show host Vanna White is 63. Actress Jayne Atkinson is 61. Actress Greta Scacchi (SKAH’-kee) is 60. Actor Matt Dillon is 56. Rock musician Tommy Scott (Space) is 56. Rapper Dr. Dre is 55. Actress Molly Ringwald is 52. Actress Sarah Brown is 45. Country musician Trevor Rosen (Old Dominion) is 45. Actor Ike Barinholtz is 43. Actor Kristoffer Polaha is 43. Singer-musician Sean Watkins (Nickel Creek) is 43. Actor Tyrone Burton is 41. Rock-singer musician Regina Spektor is 40. Opera singer Isabel Leonard is 38. Roots rock musician Zac Cockrell (Alabama Shakes) is 32. Actor Shane Lyons is 32. Actress Sara Sutherland is 32. Actress Maiara Walsh is 32.
Thought for Today: “Opinion is that exercise of the human will which helps us to make a decision without information.” — John Erskine, American author and educator (1879-1951).