Today’s Highlight in History:
On Feb. 17, 1801, the U.S. House of Representatives broke an electoral tie between Thomas Jefferson and Aaron Burr, electing Jefferson president; Burr became vice president.
On this date:
In 1815, the United States and Britain exchanged the instruments of ratification for the Treaty of Ghent, ending the War of 1812.
In 1863, the International Red Cross was founded in Geneva.
In 1864, during the Civil War, the Union ship USS Housatonic was rammed and sunk in Charleston Harbor, South Carolina, by the Confederate hand-cranked submarine HL Hunley in the first naval attack of its kind; the Hunley also sank.
In 1897, the forerunner of the National PTA, the National Congress of Mothers, convened its first meeting in Washington.
In 1944, during World War II, U.S. forces invaded Eniwetok (ehn-eh-WEE’-tahk) Atoll, encountering little initial resistance from Imperial Japanese troops. (The Americans secured the atoll less than a week later.)
In 1959, the United States launched Vanguard 2, a satellite that carried meteorological equipment.
In 1964, the Supreme Court, in Wesberry v. Sanders, ruled that congressional districts within each state had to be roughly equal in population.
In 1972, President Richard M. Nixon departed the White House with his wife, Pat, on a historic trip to China.
In 1988, Lt. Col. William Higgins, a Marine Corps officer serving with a United Nations truce monitoring group, was kidnapped in southern Lebanon by Iranian-backed terrorists (he was later slain by his captors).
In 1995, Colin Ferguson was convicted of six counts of murder in the December 1993 Long Island Rail Road shootings (he was later sentenced to a minimum of 200 years in prison).
In 2014, Jimmy Fallon made his debut as host of NBC’s “Tonight Show.”
In 2015, Vice President Joe Biden opened a White House summit on countering extremism and radicalization, saying the United States needed to ensure that immigrants were fully included in the fabric of American society to prevent violent ideologies from taking root at home.
Ten years ago: Congress voted to extend a Social Security payroll tax cut for 160 million workers and to renew unemployment benefits for millions more.
Five years ago: Over the strong objections of environmental groups, the Senate confirmed Scott Pruitt to lead the Environmental Protection Agency. Making his debut on the world stage, Vice President Mike Pence arrived in Germany, looking to reassure skeptical allies in Europe about U.S. foreign policy under President Donald Trump, who had made his “America First” mantra a centerpiece of his new administration.
One year ago: Nearly 1.9 million utility customers in Texas still had no power after historic snowfall and single-digit temperatures created a surge in demand for electricity to heat homes, buckling the state’s power grid and causing widespread blackouts; a large swath of Texas was under yet another winter storm warning. Rush Limbaugh, the talk radio host who became the voice of American conservatism, died at age 70, a year after he announced he had Stage Four lung cancer. Japan launched its coronavirus vaccination campaign, months after other major economies started giving shots. Officials said Homeland Security agents intercepted hundreds of thousands of counterfeit 3M masks in an East Coast warehouse.
Today’s Birthdays: Actor-comedian Barry Humphries (aka “Dame Edna”) is 88. Actor Christina Pickles is 87. Football Hall of Famer Jim Brown is 86. Actor Brenda Fricker is 77. Actor Becky Ann Baker is 69. Actor Rene Russo is 68. Actor Richard Karn is 66. Actor Lou Diamond Phillips is 60. Basketball Hall of Famer Michael Jordan is 59. Actor-comedian Larry, the Cable Guy is 59. TV personality Rene Syler is 59. Movie director Michael Bay is 58. Singer Chante Moore is 55. Rock musician Timothy J. Mahoney (311) is 52. Actor Dominic Purcell is 52. Olympic gold and silver medal skier Tommy Moe is 52. Actor Denise Richards is 51. Rock singer-musician Billie Joe Armstrong (Green Day) is 50. Rock musician Taylor Hawkins (Foo Fighters) is 50. Actor Jerry O’Connell is 48. Country singer Bryan White is 48. Actor Kelly Carlson is 46. Actor Ashton Holmes is 44. Actor Conrad Ricamora is 43. Actor Jason Ritter is 42. TV personality Paris Hilton is 41. Actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt is 41. TV host Daphne Oz is 36. Actor Chord Overstreet is 33.
Singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran is 31. Actor Meaghan Martin is 30. Actor Sasha Pieterse is 26.