Miscellaneous: Today in History (02/18/22)

Today is Friday, February 18, the 49th day of 2022. There are 316 days left in the year.

Today’s highlight in the story:

On February 18, 2001, auto racing star Dale Earnhardt Sr. died in an accident at the Daytona 500; he was 49 years old.

To this date :

In 1564, the artist Michelangelo died in Rome.

In 1885, Mark Twain’s “Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” was first published in the United States (after being published in Britain and Canada).

In 1970, the “Chicago Seven” defendants were found not guilty of conspiring to incite a riot at the 1968 Democratic National Convention; five were convicted of breaching the Riot Act 1968 (these convictions were later overturned).

In 1972, the California Supreme Court overturned the state’s death penalty.

In 1983, 13 people were shot dead at a Seattle Chinatown gambling club in what became known as the Wah Mee Massacre. (Two men were convicted of the murders and sentenced to life in prison; a third was convicted of robbery and assault.)

In 1984, Italy and the Vatican signed an agreement under which Roman Catholicism ceased to be the state religion of Italy.

In 1988, Anthony M. Kennedy was sworn in as Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court.

In 1994, at the Winter Olympics in Norway, American speed skater Dan Jansen finally won a gold medal, breaking the world record for the 1,000 meters.

In 2001, veteran FBI agent Robert Philip Hanssen was arrested, accused of spying for Russia. (Hanssen later pleaded guilty to espionage and attempted espionage and was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.)

In 2003, an arson attack involving two South Korean subway trains in the city of Daegu killed 198 people. (The arsonist was sentenced to life in prison, where he died in 2004.)

In 2016, in what was seen as a critique of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, Pope Francis said anyone advocating the building of walls was “not a Christian”; Trump was quick to retort that it was “shameful” to question someone’s faith. (A Vatican spokesperson said the next day that the pope’s comment was not intended to be a “personal attack” on Trump.)

In 2020, President Donald Trump commuted former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich’s 14-year prison sentence for political corruption; Blagojevich left prison a few hours later and returned home to Chicago. (Trump also granted a pardon or clemency to former New York City Police Commissioner Bernie Kerik, financier Michael Milken and a long list of others.)

Ten years ago: A star-studded funeral service was held for pop singer Whitney Houston at New Hope Baptist Church in Newark, New Jersey, a week after her death at the age of 48. Syrian security forces have fired live ammunition and tear gas at thousands marching in a funeral procession that has turned into one of the biggest protests in Damascus since the start of the 11-month uprising against the president Bashar Assad.

Five years ago: Norma McCorvey, whose legal challenge under the pseudonym ‘Jane Roe’ led to the landmark US Supreme Court ruling that legalized abortion, but later became an outspoken opponent to the proceedings, died in Katy, Texas, at age 69. Omar Abdel-Rahman, the so-called “Blind Sheikh” convicted of planning terrorist attacks in the United States in the 1990s, died in a federal prison in North Carolina where he was serving a life sentence; he was 78 years old.

A year ago: Republican Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, who flew out with his family for a vacation in Mexico as his state faced a deadly winter storm that crippled the power grid, returned home a day later and described the trip as “obviously a mistake.” Bob Dole, a 97-year-old longtime former senator and 1996 Republican presidential candidate, said he was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer. (Dole died in December 2021.) Officials at health reported that life expectancy in the United States fell by a year in the first half of 2020 as the coronavirus pandemic caused its first wave of deaths. Naomi Osaka has stopped Serena Williams’ latest bid for a record 24th Grand Slam singles title in the Australian Open semi-finals.

Today’s birthdays: Singer Yoko Ono turns 89. Singer-songwriter Bobby Hart is 83 years old. Singer Irma Thomas is 81 years old. Singer Herman Santiago (Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers) is 81 years old. Actor Jess Walton is 76 years old. Singer Dennis DeYoung is 75 years old. Actor Sinead Cusack is 74 years old. Actor Cybill Shepherd is 72 years old. Singer Randy Crawford is 70 years old. Rock musician Robbie Bachman is 69. Actor John Travolta is 68 years old. Actor John Pankow is 67 years old. Game show host Vanna White is 65. Greta Scacchi is 62 years old. Actor Matt Dillon is 58 years old. Rock musician Tommy Scott (Space) is 58 years old. Rapper Dr. Dre is 57 years old. Actress Molly Ringwald is 54 years old. Actress Sarah Brown is 47 years old. Country musician Trevor Rosen (Old Dominion) is 47 years old. Actor Ike Barinholtz is 45 years old. Actor Kristoffer Polaha is 45 years old. Singer-musician Sean Watkins (Nickel Creek) is 45 years old. Rock singer Regina Spektor is 42 years old. Opera singer Isabel Leonard is 40 years old. is 34 years old. Actor Shane Lyons is 34 years old. Actor Sarah Sutherland is 34 years old. Actor Maiara Walsh is 3 years old. 4.