Today is Friday, June 1, the 153rd day of 2012. There are 213 days left in the year.
Today's Highlight in History:
On June 1, 1912, Paramount Pictures had its beginnings as Adolph Zukor incorporated the Famous Players Film Co., which later merged with the Jesse L. Lasky Feature Play Co.
On this date:
In 1792, Kentucky became the 15th state of the union.
In 1796, Tennessee became the 16th state.
In 1812, President James Madison, in a message to Congress, recounted what he called Britain's "series of acts hostile to the United States as an independent and neutral nation"; Congress ended up declaring war.
In 1813, the mortally wounded commander of the USS Chesapeake, Capt. James Lawrence, gave the order, "Don't give up the ship" during a losing battle with the British frigate HMS Shannon in the War of 1812.
In 1862, Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee assumed command of the Army of Northern Virginia during the Civil War.
In 1868, James Buchanan, the 15th president of the United States, died near Lancaster, Pa., at age 77.
In 1933, financier J.P. Morgan Jr., waiting to resume testifying before the Senate Banking Committee on the 1929 stock market crash, was startled as a publicist for Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus placed a female dwarf named Lya Graf on his lap. (As photographers snapped pictures, the bemused banker told Graf, "I have a grandson bigger than you." Graf replied, "But I'm older.")
In 1942, Mexican President Manuel Avila Camacho issued a decree stating that a state of war had existed with Germany, Italy and Japan as of May 22.
In 1958, Charles de Gaulle became premier of France, marking the beginning of the end of the Fourth Republic.
In 1967, the Beatles album "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" was released.
In 1979, the state of Zimbabwe Rhodesia, which lasted only six months, came into existence.
In 1997, Betty Shabazz, the widow of Malcolm X, was severly burned in a fire set by her 12-year-old grandson in her Yonkers, N.Y., apartment (she died three weeks later). The Chicago Tribune published a pretend commencement speech by columnist Mary Schmich which urged graduates to, among other things, "wear sunscreen" (the essay ended up being misattributed online to author Kurt Vonnegut).
Ten years ago: President George W. Bush told West Point graduates the United States would strike pre-emptively against suspected terrorists if necessary to deter attacks on Americans, saying "the war on terror will not be won on the defensive."
Five years ago: The FDA warned consumers to avoid using toothpaste made in China because it might contain a poisonous chemical used in antifreeze. Kidnapped British journalist Alan Johnston appeared in a videotape posted on an Islamic Web, the first time he was seen since being abducted nearly three months earlier in Gaza. (Johnston was freed July 4, 2007.) Assisted suicide advocate Jack Kevorkian walked out of a Michigan prison, where he'd spent eight years for ending the life of a man suffering from Lou Gehrig's disease.
One year ago: In a face-to-face meeting, GOP leaders complained to President Barack Obama that he had not produced a detailed plan of spending cuts and accused him of playing politics over Medicare; the White House said Obama had in fact led on the issue, and accused Republicans of trying to destroy the popular health care program for seniors. Space shuttle Endeavour and its six astronauts returned to Earth, closing out the next-to-last mission in NASA's 30-year program.
Today's Birthdays: Actor Richard Erdman is 87. Actor Andy Griffith is 86. Singer Pat Boone is 78. Actor-writer-director Peter Masterson is 78. Actor Morgan Freeman is 75. Actor Rene Auberjonois is 72. Opera singer Frederica von Stade is 67. Actor Brian Cox is 66. Rock musician Ronnie Wood is 65. Actor Jonathan Pryce is 65. Actor Powers Boothe is 64. Actress Gemma Craven is 62. Blues-rock musician Tom Principato is 60. Country singer Ronnie Dunn is 59. Actress Lisa Hartman Black is 56. Singer-musician Alan Wilder is 53. Rock musician Simon Gallup (The Cure) is 52. Country musician Richard Comeaux (River Road) is 51. Actor-comedian Mark Curry is 51. Actor-singer Jason Donovan is 44. Actress Teri Polo is 43. Basketball player-turned-coach Tony Bennett is 43. Actor Rick Gomez is 40. Model-actress Heidi Klum is 39. Singer Alanis Morissette is 38. Actress Sarah Wayne Callies is 35. TV personality Damien Fahey is 32. Pop singer-songwriter Brandi Carlile is 31. Tennis player Justine Henin is 30. Actor Taylor Handley is 28.
Thought for Today: "When a thing ceases to be a subject of controversy, it ceases to be a subject of interest." -- William Hazlitt, British essayist (1778-1830).