Good morning, it’s Saturday, April 12, the 102nd day of 2014. There are 263 days left in the year. We’ll start the day with clouds and temperatures in the mid-60s, but it should become partly sunny this afternoon as temperatures rise into the lower 80s. It will be breezy again this afternoon with wind speeds as high as 25 miles per hour. Overnight, temperatures will fall into the upper 60s.
On April 12, 1861—153 years ago today--the U.S. Civil War began as Confederate forces opened fire on Fort Sumter in South Carolina. (The Union troops holding the fort surrendered the following day.) The final battle of the conflict was fought on May 12 and 13, 1865 in Texas, although many historians regard the Battle of Palmito Ranch a post-war fight and identify the final skirmish of the war as the Battle of Girard. Ala. on April 16, 1865. The war’s death toll is generally estimated at about 620,000, but may have been as high as 700,000, more than the losses of all other U.S. wars.
Today's Highlight in History:
On April 12, 1954, the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission opened a hearing on whether Dr. J. Robert Oppenheimer, scientific director of the Manhattan Project, should have his security clearance reinstated amid questions about his loyalty (it wasn't). Bill Haley and His Comets recorded "Rock Around the Clock" in New York for Decca Records.
On This Date:
In 1606, England's King James I decreed the design of the original Union Flag, which combined the flags of England and Scotland.
In 1776, North Carolina's Fourth Provincial Congress authorized the colony's delegates to the Continental Congress to support independence from Britain.
In 1864, Confederate troops led by Maj. Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest took Union-held Fort Pillow in Tennessee; almost half of the Union garrison was made up of black soldiers, many of whom were slain by the Confederates.
In 1912, Clara Barton, the founder of the American Red Cross, died in Glen Echo, Md., at age 90.
In 1934, "Tender Is the Night," by F. Scott Fitzgerald, was first published in book form after being serialized in Scribner's Magazine.
In 1945, President Franklin D. Roosevelt died of a cerebral hemorrhage in Warm Springs, Ga., at age 63; he was succeeded by Vice President Harry S. Truman.
In 1955, the Salk vaccine against polio was declared safe and effective.
In 1961, Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin became the first man to fly in space, orbiting the earth once before making a safe landing.
In 1963, civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr. was arrested and jailed in Birmingham, Ala., charged with contempt of court and parading without a permit. (During his time behind bars, King wrote his "Letter from Birmingham Jail.")
In 1981, the space shuttle Columbia blasted off from Cape Canaveral on its first test flight. Former world heavyweight boxing champion Joe Louis died in Las Vegas, Nev., at age 66.
In 1989, former boxing champion Sugar Ray Robinson died in Culver City, Calif., at age 67; radical activist Abbie Hoffman was found dead at his home in New Hope, Pa., at age 52.
Ten years ago:
A federal judge allowed a nationwide ban on dietary supplements containing ephedra to take effect, turning aside a plea from two manufacturers. Abelardo Flores and Fatima Holloway pleaded guilty in Houston to taking part in a smuggling scheme that resulted in the deaths of 19 immigrants abandoned in a sweltering truck trailer. (Flores was later sentenced to more than 14 years in prison; Holloway, who testified against truck driver Tyrone Williams, was sentenced to the three days in jail she'd already served.) Barry Bonds hit his 660th home run, sending the Giants to a 7-5 win over the Milwaukee Brewers and tying godfather Willie Mays for third on baseball's career list.
Five years ago:
American cargo ship captain Richard Phillips was rescued from Somali pirates by U.S. Navy snipers who shot and killed three of the hostage-takers. Angel Cabrera became the first Argentine to win the Masters. In Hameenlinna, Finland, the United States won its second straight women's World Hockey Championship title, beating Canada 4-1. Actress Marilyn Chambers, who'd starred in the 1972 adult film "Behind the Green Door," was found dead at her home in Canyon Country, Calif., 10 days before her 57th birthday.
One year ago:
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, visiting South Korea, delivered a stark warning to North Korea not to test-fire a mid-range missile while tamping down anxiety caused by a new U.S. intelligence report suggesting significant progress in the communist regime's nuclear weapons program. Guan Tianlang, a 14-year-old from China, made history as the youngest player to make the cut in a PGA Tour-sanctioned event; despite being the first player at Augusta National to get hit with a one-shot penalty for slow play, Guan made the cut under the 10-shot rule at the Masters.
Country singer Ned Miller is 89. Actress Jane Withers is 88. Opera singer Montserrat Caballe is 81. Playwright Alan Ayckbourn is 75. Jazz musician Herbie Hancock is 74. Rock singer John Kay (Steppenwolf) is 70. Actor Ed O'Neill is 68. Actor Dan Lauria is 67. Talk show host David Letterman is 67. Author Scott Turow is 65. Singer David Cassidy is 64. Actor-playwright Tom Noonan is 63. Rhythm-and-blues singer JD Nicholas (The Commodores) is 62. Singer Pat Travers is 60. Actor Andy Garcia is 58. Movie director Walter Salles is 58. Country singer Vince Gill is 57. Actress Suzzanne Douglas is 57. Rock musician Will Sergeant (Echo & the Bunnymen) is 56. Rock singer Art Alexakis(Everclear) is 52. Country singer Deryl Dodd is 50. Folk-pop singer Amy Ray (Indigo Girls) is 50. Actress Alicia Coppola is 46. Rock singer Nicholas Hexum (311) is 44. Actor Nicholas Brendon is 43. Actress Shannen Doherty is 43. Actress Marley Shelton is 40. Actress Sarah Jane Morris is 37. Actress Jordana Spiro is 37. Rock musician Guy Berryman (Coldplay) is 36. Actress Claire Danes is 35. Actress Jennifer Morrison is 35. Contemporary Christian musician Joe Rickard (Red) is 27. Rock singer-musician Brendon Urie (Panic at the Disco) is 27. Actress Saoirse Ronan is 20.
Thought for Today:
"All history is only one long story to this effect: men have struggled for power over their fellow men in order that they might win the joys of earth at the expense of others, and might shift the burdens of life from their own shoulders upon those of others." - William Graham Sumner (1840-1910).