Good Morning! “Mr. Sam” Became Mr. Speaker 72 Years Ago Today

U.S. House Speaker Sam Rayburn of Texas. (File)

Good morning, it’s Sunday, Sept. 16, the 260th day of 2012. There are 106 days left in the year. The Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashana, begins at sunset. We’ll start the day in the mid 60s and we’re expecting afternoon highs in the mid 80s under a cloudy to partly sunny sky. There’s a chance of showers and thunderstorms again today. Lows overnight should be in the mid 60s.

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On September 16, 1940—72 years ago today—U.S. Rep. Samuel T. Rayburn of Texas was elected Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, a post he held for 17 years, guiding New Deal and later war-funding legislation through the chamber, and becoming one of the most powerful and most beloved speakers in the country’s history. Through the 1950s he worked with his protégé, Lyndon B. Johnson, who first as Senate Minority Leader and then as Democratic Majority Leader, wielded comparable power, giving Texas unparalleled influence in the US Capitol. Rayburn’s approval was key in Johnson’s decision to become John F. Kennedy’s running mate in 1960.

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Today's Highlight in History:
On Sept. 16, 1857, the song "Jingle Bells" by James Pierpont was copyrighted under its original title, "One Horse Open Sleigh." (The song, while considered a Christmastime perennial, was actually written by Pierpont for Thanksgiving.)

On This Date:
In 1498, Tomas de Torquemada, notorious for his role in the Spanish Inquisition, died in Avila, Spain.
In 1810, Mexicans were inspired to begin their successful revolt against Spanish rule by Father Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla and his "Grito de Dolores (Cry of Dolores)."
In 1893, more than 100,000 settlers swarmed onto a section of land in Oklahoma known as the "Cherokee Strip."
In 1908, William C. Durant founded General Motors in Flint, Mich.
In 1919, the American Legion received a national charter from Congress.
In 1940, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed into law the Selective Training and Service Act. Samuel T. Rayburn of Texas was elected Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives.
In 1953, "The Robe," the first movie presented in the widescreen process CinemaScope, had its world premiere at the Roxy Theater in New York.
In 1972, "The Bob Newhart Show" premiered on CBS.
In 1977, Maria Callas, the American-born prima donna famed for her lyric soprano and fiery temperament, died in Paris at age 53.
In 1982, the massacre of between 1,200 and 1,400 Palestinian men, women and children at the hands of Israeli-allied Christian Phalange militiamen began in west Beirut's Sabra and Shatila refugee camps.
In 1987, two dozen countries signed the Montreal Protocol, a treaty designed to save the Earth's ozone layer by calling on nations to reduce emissions of harmful chemicals by the year 2000.
In 1992, former U.S. Rep. Millicent Fenwick, R-N.J., died at age 82.

Ten years ago:
U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan announced that Iraq had unconditionally accepted the return of U.N. weapons inspectors.

Five years ago:
Contractors for the U.S. security firm Blackwater USA guarding a U.S. State Department convoy in Baghdad opened fire on civilian vehicles, mistakenly believing they were under attack; 17 Iraqis died. A One-Two-Go Airlines passenger plane crashed on the island of Phuket, Thailand, killing 89 people. O.J. Simpson was arrested in the alleged armed robbery of sports memorabilia collectors in Las Vegas. (Simpson was later convicted of kidnapping and armed robbery and sentenced to nine to 33 years in prison.) The Phoenix Mercury beat the Detroit Shock 108-92 to win their first WNBA title. "The Sopranos" claimed its final Emmy award as best dramatic series; "30 Rock" won best comedy series.

One year ago:
President Barack Obama signed into law a major overhaul of the nation's patent system to ease the way for inventors to bring their products to market. A World War II-era fighter plane plunged into spectators during air races in Reno, Nev., killing 74-year-old Florida stunt pilot Jimmy Leeward and 10 others. A Russian Soyuz capsule carrying three crew members, including NASA astronaut Ron Garan, from the International Space Station touched down safely in Kazakhstan, but not without rattling nerves after a breakdown in communications.

Today's Birthdays:
Actress Janis Paige is 90. Actress Lauren Bacall is 88. Blues singer B.B. King is 87. Clergyman-author Rev. Robert H. Schuller is 86. Actor George Chakiris is 80. Movie director Jim McBride is 71. Actress Linda Miller is 70. Rhythm-and-blues singer Betty Kelly (Martha & the Vandellas) is 68. Musician Kenney Jones (Small Faces; Faces; The Who) is 64. Actress Susan Ruttan is 64. Rock musician Ron Blair (Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers; Mudcrutch) is 64. Actor Ed Begley Jr. is 63. Country singer David Bellamy (The Bellamy Brothers) is 62. Country singer-songwriter Phil Lee is 61. Actor-comedian Lenny Clarke is 59. Actor Kurt Fuller is 59. Jazz musician Earl Klugh is 59. Actor Christopher Rich is 59. Singer Frank Reed (The Chi-Lites) is 58. TV personality Mark McEwen is 58. Baseball Hall of Famer Robin Yount is 57. Actor Mickey Rourke is 56. Magician David Copperfield is 56. Country singer-songwriter Terry McBride is 54. Actress Jennifer Tilly is 54. Retired MLB All-Star pitcher Orel Hershiser is 54. Retired MLB All-Star Tim Raines is 53. Actress Jayne Brook is 52. Singer Richard Marx is 49. Comedian Molly Shannon is 48. Singer Marc Anthony is 44. Comedian-actress Amy Poehler is 41. Country singer Matt Stillwell is 37. Singer Musiq is 35. Actress Alexis Bledel is 31. Actress Sabrina Bryan is 28. Actress Madeline Zima is 27. Actress Kyla Pratt is 26. Actor Daren Kagasoff is 25. Rock singer Teddy Geiger is 24. Actress-dancer Bailey Buntain (TV: "Bunheads") is 23. Rock singer-musician Nick Jonas (The Jonas Brothers) is 20.

Thought for Today:
"Stoicism is the wisdom of madness and cynicism the madness of wisdom." - Bergen Evans, American lexicographer (1904-1978).