The Almanac, Celebrity Birthdays, Today in History, June 26 –

Today is Tuesday, June 26, the 178th day of 2012 with 188 to follow.

The moon is waxing. Morning stars are Venus, Jupiter, Neptune and Uranus. Evening stars are Mercury, Saturn and Mars.

Those born on this date are under the sign of Cancer. They include reputed baseball pioneer Abner Doubleday in 1819; British physicist and inventor William Thomson Kelvin in 1824; Nobel literature laureate Pearl Buck in 1892; German aircraft designer Willy Messerschmitt in 1898; William Lear, developer of the Lear jet, in 1902; actor Peter Lorre in 1904; “Colonel” Tom Parker, Elvis Presley‘s manager, in 1909; champion athlete Mildred “Babe” Didrikson Zaharias in 1911; musicians Mick Jones in 1955 (age 57) and Chris Isaak in 1956 (age 56); cyclist Greg LeMond in 1961 (age 51); actors Chris O’Donnell and Sean P. Hayes, both in 1970 (age 42); singer Gretchen Wilson in 1973 (age 39); baseball player Derek Jeter in 1974 (age 38); and actor Jason Schwartzman in 1980 (age 32).

On this date in history:

In 1900, Dr. Walter Reed and his medical team began a successful campaign to wipe out yellow fever in the Panama Canal Zone.

In 1917, the first troops of the American Expeditionary Force reached France in World War I.

In 1939, film censors approved “Gone With The Wind” but fined Producer David O. Selznick $5,000 for objectionable language in Rhett Butler‘s famous closing line to Scarlett O’Hara: “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn.”

In 1945, the U.N. Charter was signed by representatives of 50 nations.

Also in 1945, the FCC began development of commercial television by allocating airwaves for 13 TV stations.

In 1959, U.S. President Dwight Eisenhower and Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II formally opened the St. Lawrence Seaway in Canada.

In 1974, the bar code, allowing for the electronic scanning of prices, was used for the first time. The purchase was a pack of gum at a supermarket in Troy, Ohio.

In 1976, the CN Tower, the world’s tallest freestanding structure (1,815 feet, 5 inches), opened in Toronto.

In 1977, 42 people died in a county jail fire in Columbia, Tenn.

In 1990, U.S. President George H.W. Bush discarded his “no new taxes” campaign pledge, saying “it is clear to me” taxes are needed as part of a deficit-reduction package.

In 1991, 120 people drowned after an Indonesian trawler and an unidentified ship collided in the Straits of Malacca.

In 1992, U.S. Navy Secretary H. Lawrence Garrett resigned, accepting responsibility for the “Tailhook” incident involving the harassment of Navy women by naval aviators.

In 1993, in response to an Iraqi plot to assassinate former U.S. President George H.W. Bush during a visit to Kuwait, two U.S. ships in the Persian Gulf fired missiles at Iraq’s intelligence complex. The main headquarters building was badly damaged.

In 1995, an attempted assassination of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak failed during his visit to Ethiopia.

In 2000, two rival groups of scientists announced they had deciphered the genetic code, the human genome.

In 2002, the U.S. Court of Appeals in San Francisco ruled that the Pledge of Allegiance recited in schools was unconstitutional because of the phrase “under God.” The ruling was stayed pending appeal.

In 2003, the U.S. Supreme Court gave a major boost to gay rights advocates by striking down a Texas law forbidding sexual activity between same-sex partners.

In 2006, Israel put on a military show of strength in the Gaza Strip following a bloody Palestinian militant raid on a military post and kidnapping of a soldier.

In 2008, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled, 5 to 4, that the U.S. Constitution protects an individual’s right to carry a gun for private use but insisted that the ruling did nothing to alter the ban on gun ownership by felons or the mentally ill or carrying a gun into such “sensitive” areas as schools or government buildings.

Also in 2008, North Korea officials handed to China a list of its nuclear facilities. In exchange, the United States removed North Korea from its list of countries that sponsor terrorism and lifted some sanctions.

In 2009, the U.S. House of Representatives passed legislation to require increased use of renewable energy sources, such as wind and solar power, and to deal with the threat of global climate change.

In 2010, rioters burned and vandalized police cars and broke windows as thousands of people hit the streets in Toronto to protest the Group of 20 international economic summit, which came in the midst of sharp public criticism of Canadian economy, government spending and other key issues.

Also in 2010, a nephew of ousted Kyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakiyev admitted he incited ethnic violence in southern Kyrgyzstan. The official death toll stood at 2,000.

In 2011, six French mountain climbers were killed when they apparently fell while trying to scale the Neige Cordier peak in the French Alps south of Grenoble.

A thought for the day: Tennessee Williams wrote, “All cruel people describe themselves as paragons of frankness.”

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