Today is Thursday, Dec. 19, the 353rd day of 2019. There are 12 days left in the year.
Today’s Highlight in History:
On Dec. 19, 1998, President Bill Clinton was impeached by the Republican-controlled House for perjury and obstruction of justice (he was subsequently acquitted by the Senate).
On this date:
In 1777, during the American Revolutionary War, Gen. George Washington led his army of about 11,000 men to Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, to camp for the winter.
In 1946, war broke out in Indochina as troops under Ho Chi Minh launched widespread attacks against the French.
In 1950, Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower was named commander of the military forces of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.
In 1960, fire broke out on the hangar deck of the nearly completed aircraft carrier USS Constellation at the New York Naval Shipyard; 50 civilian workers were killed.
In 1974, Nelson A. Rockefeller was sworn in as the 41st vice president of the United States in the U.S. Senate chamber by Chief Justice Warren Burger with President Gerald R. Ford looking on.
In 1975, John Paul Stevens was sworn in as an Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court.
In 1986, the Soviet Union announced it had freed dissident Andrei Sakharov (SAH’-kah-rahv) from internal exile, and pardoned his wife, Yelena Bonner. Lawrence E. Walsh was appointed independent counsel to investigate the Iran-Contra affair.
In 1997, James Cameron’s epic film “Titanic” opened in U.S. theaters.
In 2001, the fires that had burned beneath the ruins of the World Trade Center in New York City for the previous three months were declared extinguished except for a few scattered hot spots.
In 2002, Secretary of State Colin Powell declared Iraq in “material breach” of a U.N. disarmament resolution.
In 2003, design plans were unveiled for the signature skyscraper — a 1,776-foot glass tower — at the site of the World Trade Center in New York City.
In 2008, citing imminent danger to the national economy, President George W. Bush ordered an emergency bailout of the U.S. auto industry.
Ten years ago: A U.N. climate conference in Copenhagen ended with a nonbinding accord to show for two weeks of debate and frustration; the deal was brokered by President Barack Obama, who attended the conference on its final day. A snowstorm paralyzed much of the eastern U.S. on the last holiday shopping weekend.
Five years ago: President Barack Obama said Sony Pictures Entertainment “made a mistake” in shelving “The Interview,” a satirical film about a plot to assassinate North Korea’s leader; Sony defended its decision, saying it had no choice but to cancel the film’s Christmas Day theatrical release because the country’s top theater chains had pulled out in the face of threats.
One year ago: President Donald Trump announced that all 2,000 U.S. troops in Syria would be leaving that country, a move that sparked alarm and outrage from Republican lawmakers and prompted the resignation of Defense Secretary Jim Mattis; Trump explained the decision by declaring victory against the Islamic State group. The Federal Reserve raised its key interest rate for the fourth time in 2018 to reflect the economy’s continued strength, but signaled that it expected to slow its rate hikes in 2019.
Today’s Birthdays: Former game show contestant Herb Stempel is 93. Actress Elaine Joyce is 76. Actor Tim Reid is 75. Paleontologist Richard E. Leakey is 75. Musician John McEuen is 74. Singer Janie Fricke is 72. Jazz musician Lenny White is 70. Actor Mike Lookinland is 59. Actor Scott Cohen is 58. Actress Jennifer Beals is 56. Actor Robert MacNaughton is 53. Magician Criss Angel is 52. Rock musician Klaus Eichstadt (Ugly Kid Joe) is 52. Actor Ken Marino is 51. Actor Elvis Nolasco is 51. Rock musician Kevin Shepard is 51. Actor Derek Webster is 51. Actress Kristy Swanson is 50. Model Tyson Beckford is 49. Actress Amy Locane is 48. Pro Football Hall of Famer Warren Sapp is 47. Actress Rosa Blasi is 47. Actress Alyssa Milano is 47. Actress Tara Summers is 40. Actor Jake Gyllenhaal (JIH’-lihn-hahl) is 39. Actress Marla Sokoloff is 39. Rapper Lady Sovereign is 34. Journalist Ronan Farrow is 32. Actor Nik Dodani is 26.
Thought for Today: “He that jokes confesses.” — Italian proverb.