On this date: President Carter pardons Vietnam War draft dodgers

Published 7:15 am Monday, January 21, 2019

Today is Monday, Jan. 21, the 21st day of 2019. There are 344 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On Jan. 21, 1977, on his first full day in office, President Jimmy Carter pardoned almost all Vietnam War draft evaders.

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On this date:

In 1793, during the French Revolution, King Louis XVI, condemned for treason, was executed on the guillotine.

In 1861, Jefferson Davis of Mississippi and four other Southerners whose states had seceded from the Union resigned from the U.S. Senate.

In 1908, New York City’s Board of Aldermen passed an ordinance prohibiting women from smoking in public establishments (the measure was vetoed by Mayor George B. McClellan Jr., but not before one woman, Katie Mulcahey, was jailed overnight for refusing to pay a fine).

In 1924, Russian revolutionary Vladimir Lenin died at age 53.

In 1950, former State Department official Alger Hiss, accused of being part of a Communist spy ring, was found guilty in New York of lying to a grand jury. (Hiss, who proclaimed his innocence, served less than four years in prison.)

In 1954, the first atomic submarine, the USS Nautilus, was launched at Groton (GRAH’-tuhn), Connecticut (however, the Nautilus did not make its first nuclear-powered run until nearly a year later).

In 1958, Charles Starkweather, 19, killed three relatives of his 14-year-old girlfriend, Caril Ann Fugate, at her family’s home in Lincoln, Nebraska. (Starkweather and Fugate went on a road trip which resulted in seven more slayings; Starkweather was eventually executed while Fugate spent 17 years in prison despite maintaining she was a hostage, not an accomplice.)

In 1968, the North Vietnamese Army launched a full-scale assault against the U.S. combat base in Khe Sanh, South Vietnam, in a siege lasting 11 weeks; although the Americans were able to hold back the communists, they ended up dismantling and abandoning the base.

In 1982, convict-turned-author Jack Henry Abbott was found guilty in New York of first-degree manslaughter in the stabbing death of waiter Richard Adan in 1981. (Abbott was later sentenced to 15 years to life in prison; he committed suicide in 2002.)

In 1997, Speaker Newt Gingrich was reprimanded and fined as the House voted for the first time in history to discipline its leader for ethical misconduct.

In 1998, Pope John Paul II began a historic pilgrimage to Cuba. Actor Jack Lord of “Hawaii Five-O” fame died in Honolulu at age 77.

In 2003, The Census Bureau announced that Hispanics had surpassed blacks as America’s largest minority group.

Ten years ago: In a whirlwind first full day in office, President Barack Obama showcased efforts to revive the economy, summoned top military officials to chart a new course in Iraq and eased into the daunting thicket of Middle East diplomacy. The Senate confirmed Hillary Rodham Clinton as secretary of state.

Five years ago: Former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, once viewed as a rising star in the GOP, and his wife, Maureen, were indicted on federal corruption charges; the couple denied wrongdoing. (A jury in Sept. 2014 convicted the McDonnells of doing favors for former Star Scientific CEO Jonnie Williams in exchange for more than $165,000 in low-interest loans and gifts. Their convictions were later overturned as the U.S. Supreme Court narrowed the definition of public corruption.)

One year ago: Security forces in Afghanistan brought an end to an overnight siege by Taliban militants at the Intercontinental Hotel in Kabul; four American citizens were among 22 people killed in the 13-hour attack. “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” swept the Screen Actors Guild Awards with wins for best ensemble, best actress for Frances McDormand, and best supporting actor for Sam Rockwell. The Philadelphia Eagles stunned the Minnesota Vikings, 38-7, in the NFC title game to advance to the Super Bowl against the New England Patriots, who had scored a 24-20 comeback win over the Jacksonville Jaguars in the AFC title game. (The Eagles would go on to win their first Super Bowl.)

Today’s Birthdays: World Golf Hall of Famer Jack Nicklaus is 79. Opera singer-conductor Placido Domingo is 78. Singer Mac Davis is 77. Actress Jill Eikenberry is 72. Country musician Jim Ibbotson is 72. Singer-songwriter Billy Ocean is 69. Former U.S. Ambassador to China Gary Locke is 69. Former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder is 68. Actor-director Robby Benson is 63. Actress Geena Davis is 63. Basketball Hall of Famer Hakeem Olajuwon is 56. Actress Charlotte Ross is 51. Actor John Ducey is 50. Actress Karina Lombard is 50. Actor Ken Leung is 49. Rapper Levirt (B-Rock and the Bizz) is 49. Rock musician Mark Trojanowski (Sister Hazel) is 49. Rock singer-songwriter Cat Power is 47. Rock DJ Chris Kilmore (Incubus) is 46. Actor Vincent Laresca is 45. Singer Emma Bunton (Spice Girls) is 43. Actor Jerry Trainor is 42. Country singer Phil Stacey is 41. Rhythm-and-blues singer Nokio (Dru Hill) is 40. Actress Izabella Miko (MEE’-koh) is 38. Actor Luke Grimes is 35. Actress Feliz Ramirez is 27.

Thought for Today: “The road to ruin is always in good repair, and the travellers pay the expense of it.” — Josh Billings (Henry Wheeler Shaw), American humorist (1818-1885).