- The Washington Times - Monday, March 23, 2009

Today is Sunday, March 22, the 81st day of 2009. There are 284 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On March 22, 1765, Britain enacted the Stamp Act of 1765 to raise money from the American colonies. (The Act was repealed the following year.)

On this date:

In 1638, religious dissident Anne Hutchinson was expelled from the Massachusetts Bay Colony for defying Puritan orthodoxy.

In 1820, U.S. naval hero Stephen Decatur was killed in a duel with Commodore James Barron near Washington.

In 1882, President Chester Alan Arthur signed a measure outlawing polygamy.

In 1929, a U.S. Coast Guard vessel sank a Canadian-registered schooner, the I’m Alone, in the Gulf of Mexico. (The schooner was suspected of carrying bootleg liquor.)

In 1933, during Prohibition, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed a measure to make wine and beer containing up to 3.2 percent alcohol legal.

In 1941, the Grand Coulee hydroelectric dam in Washington state went into operation.

In 1945, the Arab League was formed with the adoption of a charter in Cairo.

In 1958, movie producer Mike Todd and three other people were killed in the crash of Todd’s private plane near Grants, N.M.

In 1968, President Lyndon B. Johnson named General William C. Westmoreland to be the Army’s new chief of staff.

In 1978, Karl Wallenda, the 73-year-old patriarch of “The Flying Wallendas” high-wire act, fell to his death while attempting to walk a cable strung between two hotel towers in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Ten years ago: Acting as his own lawyer, Dr. Jack Kevorkian went on trial on murder charges for the first time, telling a jury in Pontiac, Mich., he was merely carrying out his professional duty in giving a lethal injection to a man with Lou Gehrig’s disease as shown on CBS’ “60 Minutes.” (Kevorkian was convicted of second-degree murder.)

Five years ago: Hamas spiritual leader Sheik Ahmed Yassin was killed in an Israeli airstrike in Gaza City, enraging Palestinians. Terry Nichols went on trial for his life in the Oklahoma City bombing. (Nichols, already serving a life sentence for his conviction on federal charges, was found guilty of 161 state murder charges, but was again spared the death penalty when the jury couldn’t agree on his sentence.)

One year ago: Vice President Dick Cheney, visiting the Middle East, said the U.S. had an “enduring and unshakable” commitment to Israel’s security and its right to defend itself against those bent on destroying the Jewish state. Jeffrey Buttle of Canada won the men’s title at the World Figure Skating Championships in Goteborg, Sweden.

Today’s Birthdays: Actor Karl Malden is 97. USA Today founder Allen H. Neuharth is 85. Composer-lyricist Stephen Sondheim is 79. Actor William Shatner is 78. Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, is 75. Actor M. Emmet Walsh is 74. Actor-singer Jeremy Clyde is 68. Singer-guitarist George Benson is 66. Writer James Patterson is 62. CNN newscaster Wolf Blitzer is 61. Composer Andrew Lloyd Webber is 61. Actress Fanny Ardant is 60. Sportscaster Bob Costas is 57. Country singer James House is 54. Actress Lena Olin is 54. Singer-actress Stephanie Mills is 52. Actor Matthew Modine is 50. Country musician Tim Beeler (Flynnville Train) is 41. Actress Anne Dudek is 34. Actor Cole Hauser is 34. Actress Kellie Williams is 33. Actress Reese Witherspoon is 33. Rock musician John Otto (Limp Bizkit) is 32. Rapper Mims is 28.

Thought for Today: “Kindness consists in loving people more than they deserve.” _ Joseph Joubert, French moralist (1754-1824).

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