Today is Thursday, May 29, the 149th day of 2014. There are 216 days left in the year.
On May 29, 1914, the Canadian ocean liner RMS Empress of Ireland sank in the St. Lawrence River in eastern Quebec after colliding with the Norwegian cargo ship SS Storstad; of the 1,477 people on board the Empress of Ireland, 1,012 died. (The Storstad suffered only minor damage.)
On this date:
In 1765, Patrick Henry denounced the Stamp Act before Virginia’s House of Burgesses.
In 1790, Rhode Island became the 13th original colony to ratify the United States Constitution.
In 1848, Wisconsin became the 30th state of the union.
In 1917, the 35th president of the United States, John F. Kennedy, was born in Brookline, Massachusetts.
In 1932, World War I veterans began arriving in Washington to demand cash bonuses they weren’t scheduled to receive until 1945.
In 1942, the movie “Yankee Doodle Dandy,” starring James Cagney as George M. Cohan, premiered at a war-bonds benefit in New York. Bing Crosby, the Ken Darby Singers and the John Scott Trotter Orchestra recorded Irving Berlin’s “White Christmas” in Los Angeles for Decca Records.
In 1953, Mount Everest was conquered as Edmund Hillary of New Zealand and Tensing Norgay of Nepal became the first climbers to reach the summit.
In 1954, English runner Diane Leather became the first woman to run a sub-five-minute mile, finishing in 4:59.6 during the Midland Championships in Birmingham.
In 1961, a couple in Paynesville, West Virginia, became the first recipients of food stamps under a pilot program created by President John F. Kennedy.
In 1973, Tom Bradley was elected the first black mayor of Los Angeles, defeating incumbent Sam Yorty.
In 1985, 39 people were killed at the European Cup Final in Brussels, Belgium, when rioting broke out and a wall separating British and Italian soccer fans collapsed.
In 1999, Discovery became the first space shuttle to dock with the International Space Station. Olusegun Obasanjo became Nigeria’s first civilian president in 15 years, ending a string of military regimes.
Ten years ago: A shooting rampage by al-Qaida militants at a housing complex in Khobar, Saudi Arabia’s oil hub, killed 22 people, most of them foreign oil industry workers. America dedicated a memorial to its World War II veterans on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. Death claimed former Watergate special prosecutor Archibald Cox at age 92 and Sam Dash, former chief counsel of the Senate Select Committee on Watergate, at age 79.
Five years ago: A judge in Los Angeles sentenced music producer Phil Spector to 19 years to life in prison for the murder of actress Lana Clarkson. Jay Leno hosted “The Tonight Show” on NBC supposedly for the final time, giving up his desk to Conan O’Brien. (After a stint in prime time, Leno returned to “Tonight” in March 2010, stepping down again in February 2014.)
One year ago: A U.S. drone strike killed Waliur Rehman, the No. 2 commander of the Pakistani Taliban. Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann, a conservative firebrand and a favorite of tea party Republicans, said she would not run for another term in the U.S. House. The Rev. Andrew Greeley, 85, an outspoken Roman Catholic priest, best-selling author and longtime newspaper columnist, died in Chicago.
Today’s birthdays: Actor Clifton James is 93. Former Baseball Commissioner Fay Vincent is 76. Motorsports Hall of Famer Al Unser is 75. CBS News Correspondent Bob Simon is 73. Actor Kevin Conway is 72. Actor Helmut Berger is 70. Rock singer Gary Brooker (Procol Harum) is 69. Actor Anthony Geary is 67. Actor Cotter Smith is 65. Singer Rebbie Jackson is 64. Movie composer Danny Elfman is 61. Rock musician Michael Porcaro (Toto) is 59. Singer LaToya Jackson is 58. Actor Ted Levine is 57. Actress Annette Bening is 56. Actor Rupert Everett is 55. Actor Adrian Paul is 55. Singer Melissa Etheridge is 53. Actress Lisa Whelchel is 51. Actress Tracey Bregman is 51. Rock musician Noel Gallagher is 47. Singer Jayski McGowan (Quad City DJ’s) is 47. Rock musician Chan Kinchla (Blues Traveler) is 45. Rock musician Mark Lee (Third Day) is 41. Cartoonist Aaron McGruder (“The Boondocks”) is 40. Singer Melanie Brown (Spice Girls) is 39. Rapper Playa Poncho is 39. Actor Brandon Mychal Smith is 25. Actress Kristen Alderson (“General Hospital”) is 23.
Thought for today: “A pessimist and an optimist, so much the worse; so much the better.” — Jean de La Fontaine, French poet (1621-1695).