Today is Friday, May 15, the 136th day of 2020. There are 230 days left in the year.
Today’s Highlight in History:
On May 15, 1948, hours after declaring its independence, the new state of Israel was attacked by Transjordan, Egypt, Syria, Iraq and Lebanon.
On this date:
In 1862, President Abraham Lincoln signed an act establishing the Department of Agriculture.
In 1918, U.S. airmail began service between Washington, D.C., Philadelphia and New York.
In 1930, registered nurse Ellen Church, the first airline stewardess, went on duty aboard an Oakland-to-Chicago flight operated by Boeing Air Transport, a forerunner of United Airlines.
In 1942, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed a measure creating the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps, whose members came to be known as WACs. Wartime gasoline rationing went into effect in 17 Eastern states, limiting sales to three gallons a week for non-essential vehicles.
In 1954, the Fender Stratocaster guitar, created by Leo Fender, was officially released.
In 1963, Weight Watchers was incorporated in New York.
In 1968, two days of tornado outbreaks began in 10 Midwestern and Southern states; twisters were blamed for 72 deaths, including 45 in Arkansas and 18 in Iowa.
In 1970, just after midnight, Phillip Lafayette Gibbs and James Earl Green, two black students at Jackson State College in Mississippi, were killed as police opened fire during student protests.
In 1972, Alabama Gov. George C. Wallace was shot and left paralyzed while campaigning for president in Laurel, Maryland, by Arthur H. Bremer, who served 35 years for attempted murder.
In 1975, U.S. forces invaded the Cambodian island of Koh Tang and captured the American merchant ship Mayaguez, which had been seized by the Khmer Rouge. (All 39 crew members had already been released safely by Cambodia; some 40 U.S. servicemen were killed in connection with the operation.)
In 1988, the Soviet Union began the process of withdrawing its troops from Afghanistan, more than eight years after Soviet forces entered the country.
In 2000, by a 5-4 vote, the U.S. Supreme Court threw out a key provision of the 1994 Violence Against Women Act, saying that rape victims could not sue their attackers in federal court.
Ten years ago: Jessica Watson, a 16-year-old Australian who’d spent seven months at sea in her pink yacht, became the youngest person to sail around the world solo, nonstop and unassisted as she arrived in Sydney.
Five years ago: A jury sentenced Dzhokhar Tsarnaev (joh-HAHR’ tsahr-NEYE’-ehv) to death for the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing that killed three and left more than 250 wounded. Elisabeth Bing, the Lamaze International co-founder who popularized what was known as natural childbirth and helped change how women and doctors approached the delivery room, died in New York at age 100.
One year ago: Alabama’s Republican governor, Kay Ivey, signed into law the most stringent abortion legislation in the nation, making performing an abortion a felony in nearly all cases. (The law remains blocked by court challenges.) President Donald Trump granted a full pardon to Conrad Black, a former newspaper publisher who had written a flattering political biography of Trump. (Black had been convicted of fraud in 2007 and spent more than three years in prison.) California fire officials said an investigation found that power lines owned by Pacific Gas & Electric Corp. had sparked a Northern California blaze that killed 85 people and nearly destroyed the town of Paradise in 2018; it was the deadliest U.S. wildfire in a century.
Today’s Birthdays: Actress-singer Anna Maria Alberghetti is 84. Counterculture icon Wavy Gravy is 84. Former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright is 83. Singer Trini Lopez is 83. Singer Lenny Welch is 82. Actress-singer Lainie Kazan is 78. Actress Gunilla Hutton is 78. Country singer K.T. Oslin is 78. Actor Chazz Palminteri is 74. Former Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius is 72. Singer-songwriter Brian Eno is 72. Actor Nicholas Hammond (Film: “The Sound of Music”) is 70. Baseball Hall of Famer George Brett is 67. Musician-composer Mike Oldfield is 67. Actor Lee Horsley is 65. TV personality Giselle Fernandez is 59. Rapper Grandmaster Melle Mel is 59. Actress Brenda Bakke is 57. Football Hall of Famer Emmitt Smith is 51. Actor Brad Rowe is 50. Actor David Charvet (shahr-VAY’) is 48. Actor Russell Hornsby is 46. Rock musician Ahmet Zappa is 46. Olympic gold medal gymnast Amy Chow is 42. Actor David Krumholtz is 42. Rock musician David Hartley (The War on Drugs) is 40. Actress Jamie-Lynn Sigler is 39. Actress Alexandra Breckenridge is 38. Rock musician Brad Shultz (Cage the Elephant) is 38. Rock musician Nick Perri is 36. Tennis player Andy Murray is 33.
Thought for Today: “Martyrdom has always been a proof of the intensity, never of the correctness of a belief.” — Arthur Schnitzler (1862-1931).