On Nov. 17, 1800, Congress held its first session in Washington in the partially completed Capitol building.
On this date:
In 1558, Elizabeth I acceded to the English throne upon the death of Queen Mary.
In 1869, the Suez Canal opened in Egypt.
In 1911, the African-American fraternity Omega Psi Phi was founded at Howard University in Washington, D.C.
In 1917, French sculptor Auguste Rodin (roh-DAN’) died in Meudon at age 77.
In 1934, Lyndon Baines Johnson married Claudia Alta Taylor, better known as Lady Bird, in San Antonio, Texas.
In 1962, Washington’s Dulles International Airport was dedicated by President John F. Kennedy.
In 1969, the first round of Strategic Arms Limitation Talks between the United States and the Soviet Union opened in Helsinki, Finland.
In 1970, the Soviet Union landed an unmanned, remote-controlled vehicle on the moon, the Lunokhod 1.
In 1973, President Richard Nixon told Associated Press managing editors in Orlando, Fla.: “People have got to know whether or not their president is a crook. Well, I’m not a crook.”
In 1979, Iran’s Ayatollah Khomeini ordered the release of 13 black and/or female American hostages being held at the U.S. Embassy in Tehran.
In 1987, a federal jury in Denver convicted two neo-Nazis and acquitted two others of civil rights violations in the 1984 slaying of radio talk show host Alan Berg.
In 2000, the Florida Supreme Court froze the state’s presidential tally, forbidding Secretary of State Katherine Harris from certifying results of the marathon vote count just as Republican George W. Bush was advancing his minuscule lead over Democrat Al Gore. Also, a federal appeals court refused to block recounts under way in two heavily Democratic counties.
Ten years ago: John Allen Muhammad was convicted of two counts of capital murder in the Washington-area sniper shootings. Arnold Schwarzenegger was sworn in as the 38th governor of California. Rush Limbaugh returned to radio after five weeks of rehabilitation for a painkiller addiction. Texas Rangers shortstop Alex Rodriguez won the American League Most Valuable Player award.
Five years ago: In their first meeting since the election, Barack Obama and former rival John McCain met at the president-elect’s transition headquarters in Chicago, where they pledged to work together on ways to change Washington’s “bad habits.” St. Louis Cardinals slugger Albert Pujols won his second NL MVP award.
One year ago: Workers using jackhammers began opening the concrete-encased grave of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat in the West Bank so that investigators could check for a radioactive substance, polonium-210, as part of a probe into whether he had been poisoned before his death in 2004. A speeding train crashed into a bus carrying Egyptian children to their kindergarten, killing 48 children and three adults. On the fourth day of an Israeli offensive targeting militants in Gaza, the White House defended Israel’s right to defend itself against rocket fire. Israel broadened its offensive, destroying the headquarters of Hamas’ prime minister.
Today’s Birthdays: Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., is 79. Rock musician Gerry McGee (The Ventures) is 76. Singer Gordon Lightfoot is 75. Singer-songwriter Bob Gaudio is 72. Movie director Martin Scorsese (skor-SEH’-see) is 71. Actress Lauren Hutton is 70. Actor-director Danny DeVito is 69. “Saturday Night Live” producer Lorne Michaels is 69. Baseball Hall-of-Famer Tom Seaver is 69. Movie director Roland Joffe is 68. Former Democratic National Chairman Howard Dean is 65. House Speaker John Boehner (BAY’-nur) is 64. Actor Stephen Root is 62. Rock musician Jim Babjak (The Smithereens) is 56. Actress Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio is 55. Actor William Moses is 54. Entertainer RuPaul is 53. Actor Dylan Walsh is 50. U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice is 49. Actress Sophie Marceau is 47. Actress-model Daisy Fuentes is 47. Rhythm-and-blues singer Ronnie DeVoe (New Edition; Bell Biv DeVoe) is 46. Rock musician Ben Wilson (Blues Traveler) is 46. Actor David Ramsey is 42. Actor Leonard Roberts is 41. Actress Leslie Bibb is 40. Actor Brandon Call is 37. Country singer Aaron Lines is 36. Actress Rachel McAdams is 35. Rock musician Isaac Hanson (Hanson) is 33. Actor Justin Cooper is 25. Musician Reid Perry (The Band Perry) is 25. Actress Raquel Castro is 19.
Thought for Today: “Since others have to tolerate my weaknesses, it is only fair that I should tolerate theirs.” — William Allen White, American journalist (1868-1944).