Good morning, it’s Thursday, Dec. 29, the 364th day of 2016. There are two days left in the year. We’ll start the day in the upper 40s under a mostly sunny sky, and we’re expecting afternoon highs only in the upper 50s this afternoon. Overnight it will be much cooler with lows in the mid-30s.
On December 29, 1845—171 years ago today—the U.S. Congress voted to annex Texas, eight years after statehood was first proposed. In June 1845 the Texas Congress voted in favor of annexation and on July 4, 1845, a convention of elected delegates followed suit. A popular vote in October ratified the document, which the U.S. Congress accepted on December 29, 1845, making Texas the 28th state. Texas President Anson Jones handed over control of the new state government to Gov. James Pinckney Henderson on February 19, 1846.
On December 29, 1902, singer Jules Bledsoe was born in Waco.
On December 29, 1917, former Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley was born in Calvert.
On December 29, 2006 tornados touched down near Oglesby, near the Womack Community in Bosque County, and in Limestone County, where two twisters struck, the more powerful of which, an F-2, destroyed homes and outbuildings including a personal care home for veterans. One veteran died and several others were injured. In all more than a dozen injuries were reported in Limestone county.
On December 29, 2011, Baylor, led by Robert Griffin III, defeated Washington 67-56 in the Alamo Bowl, in the Bears’ first bowl win since 1992.
On December 29, 2015, Johnny Jefferson rushed for three touchdowns and a bowl-record 299 yards, and No. 18 Baylor ran past No. 10 North Carolina 49-38 in the Russell Athletic Bowl.
On Dec. 29, 1916, James Joyce's first novel, "A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man," was first published in book form in New York after being serialized in London.
In 1170, Thomas Becket, the Archbishop of Canterbury, was slain in Canterbury Cathedral by knights loyal to King Henry II.
In 1808, the 17th president of the United States, Andrew Johnson, was born in Raleigh, North Carolina.
In 1812, during the War of 1812, the American frigate USS Constitution engaged and severely damaged the British frigate HMS Java off Brazil.
In 1890, the Wounded Knee massacre took place in South Dakota as an estimated 300 Sioux Indians were killed by U.S. troops sent to disarm them.
In 1934, Japan formally renounced the Washington Naval Treaty of 1922.
In 1940, during World War II, Germany dropped incendiary bombs on London, setting off what came to be known as "The Second Great Fire of London."
In 1957, singers Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gorme were married in Las Vegas.
In 1972, Eastern Air Lines Flight 401, a Lockheed L-1011 Tristar, crashed into the Florida Everglades near Miami International Airport, killing 101 of the 176 people aboard.
In 1975, a bomb exploded in the main terminal of New York's LaGuardia Airport, killing 11 people (it's never been determined who was responsible).
In 1986, former British Prime Minister Harold Macmillan died in Sussex, England, at age 92.
In 1996, guerrilla and government leaders in Guatemala signed an accord ending 36 years of civil conflict. North Korea issued an unprecedented apology for sending a spy submarine into South Korean waters.
Word reached the United States of the execution of former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein (because of the time difference, it was the morning of Dec. 30 in Iraq when the hanging took place). In a statement, President George W. Bush called Saddam's execution an important milestone on Iraq's road to democracy. Gerald R. Ford's flag-draped casket was carried into a church in Palm Desert, California, for a public viewing that marked the start of six days of mourning for the former president. More than 400 people died when a crowded Indonesian ferry sank in the Java Sea.
Fed-up voters in Jamaica threw out the ruling party and delivered a landslide triumph to the opposition People's National Party and its leader, former Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller. The No. 15 Baylor Bears, led by Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III, pulled out an incredible Alamo Bowl victory in the highest-scoring regulation bowl game in history, beating the Washington Huskies 67-56 at the Alamodome in San Antonio.
Belgian authorities announced they had arrested two men and seized military-type uniforms and Islamic State group propaganda in connection with a suspected plot to unleash holiday season attacks against police and celebrated locations in Brussels. Former "Glee" star Mark Salling was arrested in Los Angeles for investigation of possessing child pornography. (Salling has pleaded not guilty.)
Country singer Rose Lee Maphis is 94. Actress Dina Merrill is 93. Actress Inga Swenson is 84. ABC newscaster Tom Jarriel is 82. Actress Mary Tyler Moore is 80. Actress Barbara Steele is 79. Actor Jon Voight is 78. Country singer Ed Bruce is 77. Rock musician Ray Thomas is 75. Singer Marianne Faithfull is 70. Hall of Fame Jockey Laffit Pincay, Jr. is 70. Actor Ted Danson is 69. Singer-actress Yvonne Elliman is 65. Actress Patricia Clarkson is 57. Comedian Paula Poundstone is 57. Rock singer-musician Jim Reid (The Jesus and Mary Chain) is 55. Actor Michael Cudlitz is 52. Rock singer Dexter Holland (The Offspring) is 51. Actor-comedian Mystro Clark is 50. Actor Jason Gould is 50. News anchor Ashleigh Banfield is 49. Movie director Andy Wachowski is 49. Actress Jennifer Ehle is 47. Actor Patrick Fischler is 47. Rock singer-musician Glen Phillips is 46. Actor Kevin Weisman is 46. Actor Jude Law is 44. Actress Maria Dizzia is 42. Actor Mekhi Phifer is 42. Actor Shawn Hatosy is 41. Actress Katherine Moennig is 39. Actor Diego Luna is 37. Country singer Jessica Andrews is 33. Actress Jane Levy is 27. Singer-actor-dancer Ross Lynch is 21.
"Ours is the age of substitutes: Instead of language we have jargon; instead of principles, slogans; and instead of genuine ideas, bright suggestions." - Eric Bentley, British-born American author and educator.