Good morning, it’s Sunday, June 29, the 180th day of 2014. There are 185 days left in the year. We’ll start the day with clouds and temperatures in the mid-70s and we’re expecting afternoon highs in the lower 90s, and for the first time in a week, the forecast doesn’t mention a chance of rain. Lows overnight will be in the mid-70s.
On June 29, 1972—42 years ago today--the U.S. Supreme Court, in Furman v. Georgia, Jackson v. Georgia and Branch v. Texas, struck down a trio of death sentences, saying the way they were imposed constituted cruel and unusual punishment. The ruling forced states to impose what effectively was a moratorium on executions until capital punishment laws could be revised. At the time, there were 45 men on Texas death row and seven others in county jails who had been sentenced to death. All of those sentences were commuted to life and death row was clear by March 1973. The Texas Penal Code was revised the same year and on Feb. 15, 1974 John Devries became the first inmate placed on death row under the new law. (He committed suicide in July 1974). Texas, which replaced the electric chair with lethal injection as the means of execution in 1977, didn’t carry out another death sentence until Dec. 7, 1982, when Charlie Brooks received the state’s first lethal injection for the kidnapping and murder of a Fort Worth mechanic. (There are currently 267 men and eight women on death row in Texas.)
Today's Highlight in History:
On June 29, 1974, Isabel Martinez de Peron was sworn in as acting president of Argentina, two days before the death of her ailing husband, President Juan Peron.
On This Date:
In 1613, London's original Globe Theatre, where many of Shakespeare's plays were performed, was destroyed by a fire sparked by a cannon shot during a performance of "Henry VIII."
In 1767, Britain approved the Townshend Revenue Act, which imposed import duties on glass, paint, oil, lead, paper and tea shipped to the American colonies. (Colonists bitterly protested, prompting Parliament to repeal the duties - except for tea.)
In 1880, France annexed Tahiti, which became a French colony on December 30, 1880.
In 1913, the Second Balkan War broke out as Bulgaria attacked Serbia and Greece, its former allies from the First Balkan War.
In 1927, the first trans-Pacific airplane flight was completed as Lt. Lester J. Maitland and Lt. Albert F. Hegenberger arrived at Wheeler Field in Hawaii aboard the Bird of Paradise, an Atlantic-Fokker C-2, after flying 2,400 miles from Oakland, California, in 25 hours, 50 minutes.
In 1941, Polish statesman, pianist and composer Ignacy Jan Paderewski died in New York at age 80.
In 1954, the Atomic Energy Commission voted against reinstating Dr. J. Robert Oppenheimer's access to classified information.
In 1967, Jerusalem was re-unified as Israel removed barricades separating the Old City from the Israeli sector.
In 1988, the U.S. Supreme Court, in Morrison v. Olson, upheld the independent counsel law in a 7-1 decision (the sole dissenter was Justice Antonin Scalia).
In 1992, the remains of Polish statesman Ignace Jan Paderewski, interred for five decades in the United States, were returned to his homeland in keeping with his wish to be buried only in a free Poland.
In 2003, actress Katharine Hepburn, one of the last stars from Hollywood's Golden Age, died in Old Saybrook, Connecticut, at age 96.
Ten years ago:
A United Nations helicopter crashed in Sierra Leone, killing all 24 peacekeepers, aid workers and others on board. The Supreme Court blocked a law meant to shield Web-surfing children from online pornography. Randy Johnson of the Arizona Diamondbacks became the fourth pitcher to record 4,000 career strikeouts (however, his team lost to the San Diego Padres, 3-2).
Five years ago:
U.S. combat troops withdrew from Iraqi cities, the first major step toward removing all American forces from the country by Dec. 31, 2011. Disgraced financier Bernard Madoff received a 150-year sentence for his multibillion-dollar fraud. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that white firefighters in New Haven, Connecticut, were denied promotion because of their race. Indoor tennis came to Wimbledon as the new retractable roof over Centre Court was closed after rain halted play during a fourth-round match with Amelie Mauresmo leading top-ranked Dinara Safina, 6-4, 1-4. (Safina ended up winning, 4-6, 6-3, 6-4.)
One year ago:
Paying tribute to his personal hero, President Barack Obama met privately in Johannesburg, South Africa, with Nelson Mandela's family as the world anxiously awaited news on the condition of the hospitalized 94-year-old anti-apartheid leader. (Mandela was discharged from the hospital on September 1, 2013; he died the following December.)
Movie producer Robert Evans is 84. Songwriter L. Russell Brown is 74. Actor Gary Busey is 70. Comedian Richard Lewis is 67. Actor-turned-politician-turned-radio personality Fred Grandy is 66. Rock musician Ian Paice (Deep Purple) is 66. Singer Don Dokken (Dokken) is 61. Rock singer Colin Hay (Men At Work) is 61. Actress Maria Conchita Alonso is 57. Actress Sharon Lawrence is 53. Actress Amanda Donohoe is 52. Actress Judith Hoag is 51. Violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter is 51. Rhythm-and-blues singer Stedman Pearson (Five Star) is 50. Actress Kathleen Wilhoite is 50. Producer-writer Matthew Weiner is 49. Musician Dale Baker is 48. Actress Melora Hardin is 47. Rap DJ Shadow is 42. Actress Zuleikha Robinson is 37. Country musician Todd Sansom (Marshall Dyllon) is 36. Singer Nicole Scherzinger is 36. Comedian-writer Colin Jost (johst) is 32.
Thought for Today:
"A hypocrite is a person who - but who isn't?" - Don Marquis, American journalist-author (1878-1937).