- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 19, 2009

Today is Thursday, March 19, the 78th day of 2009. There are 287 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On March 19, 1979, the U.S. House of Representatives began televising its day-to-day business.

On this date:

In 1859, the opera “Faust” by Charles Gounod premiered in Paris.

In 1917, the Supreme Court, in Wilson v. New, upheld the eight-hour work day for railroad workers.

In 1918, Congress approved daylight saving time.

In 1920, the Senate rejected, for a second time, the Treaty of Versailles by 49 to 35, falling short of the two-thirds majority needed for approval.

In 1931, Nevada Gov. Fred B. Balzar signed a measure legalizing casino gambling.

In 1945, during World War II, 724 people were killed when a Japanese dive bomber attacked the carrier USS Franklin off Japan; the ship, however, was saved. Adolf Hitler issued his so-called “Nero Decree,” ordering the destruction of German facilities that could fall into Allied hands.

In 1953, the Academy Awards was televised for the first time; “The Greatest Show on Earth” was named best picture of 1952.

In 1976, Buckingham Palace announced the separation of Princess Margaret and her husband, the Earl of Snowdon, after 16 years of marriage.

In 1987, televangelist Jim Bakker resigned as chairman of his PTL ministry organization amid a sex and money scandal involving Jessica Hahn, a former church secretary.

In 2003, President George W. Bush ordered the start of war against Iraq. (Because of the time difference, it was early March 20 in Iraq.)

Ten years ago: During a White House news conference, President Bill Clinton prepared the nation for airstrikes against Serbian targets following the collapse of Kosovo peace talks in Paris. A powerful bomb shattered an outdoor food market in Vladikavkaz, Russia, killing at least 53 people.

Five years ago: President George W. Bush, on the first anniversary of the Iraq war, urged unity in the war against terrorism. Taiwanese President Chen Shui-bian and his vice president were shot and slightly wounded in an apparent assassination attempt on the final day of Taiwan’s presidential campaign. The Army dropped all charges against Capt. James Yee, a military chaplain at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, who had been accused of mishandling classified information.

One year ago: Five years after launching the invasion of Iraq, President George W. Bush strongly signaled he wouldn’t order troop withdrawals beyond those already planned because he refused to “jeopardize the hard-fought gains” of the past year. In a new audio message, Osama bin Laden criticized the publication of drawings insulting to the Prophet Muhammad and warned Europeans of a strong reaction to come. Death claimed science fiction writer Arthur C. Clarke at age 90 and actor Paul Scofield at age 86.

Today’s Birthdays: Former White House national security adviser Brent Scowcroft is 84. Theologian Hans Kung is 81. Jazz musician Ornette Coleman is 79. Author Philip Roth is 76. Actress Renee Taylor is 76. Actress-singer Phyllis Newman is 76. Actress Ursula Andress is 73. Singer Clarence “Frogman” Henry is 72. Singer Ruth Pointer (The Pointer Sisters) is 63. Actress Glenn Close is 62. Film producer Harvey Weinstein is 57. Actor Bruce Willis is 54. Rock musician Gert Bettens (K’s Choice) is 39. Rapper Bun B is 36. Rock musician Zach Lind (Jimmy Eat World) is 33. Actress Abby Brammell is 30. Actor Craig Lamar Traylor is 20. Actor Philip Bolden is 14.

Thought for Today: “History is principally the inaccurate narration of events which ought not to have happened.” _ Ernest Albert Hooten, American anthropologist (1887-1954).

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