Today is Friday, Aug. 19, the 231st day of 2011. There are 134 days left in the year.
Today's Highlight in History:
On Aug. 19, 1991, Soviet hard-liners made the stunning announcement that President Mikhail S. Gorbachev had been removed from power. (The coup attempt collapsed two days later with Gorbachev temporarily restored as leader until the dissolution of the Soviet Union in Dec. 1991.)
On this date:
In 1812, the USS Constitution defeated the British frigate Guerriere off Nova Scotia during the War of 1812.
In 1909, the first automobile races were run at the just-opened Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
In 1934, a plebiscite in Germany approved the vesting of sole executive power in Adolf Hitler.
In 1936, the first of a series of show trials orchestrated by Soviet leader Josef Stalin began in Moscow as 16 defendants faced charges of conspiring against the government (all were convicted and executed).
In 1942, during World War II, about 6,000 Canadian and British soldiers launched a disastrous raid against the Germans at Dieppe, France, suffering more than 50-percent casualties.
In 1951, the owner of the St. Louis Browns, Bill Veeck (vehk), sent in Eddie Gaedel, a 3-foot-7 midget, to pinch-hit in a game against Detroit. (In his only major league at-bat, Gaedel walked on four pitches and was replaced at first base by a pinch-runner.)
In 1960, a tribunal in Moscow convicted American U2 pilot Francis Gary Powers of espionage. (Although sentenced to 10 years' imprisonment, Powers was returned to the United States in 1962 as part of a prisoner exchange.)
In 1976, President Gerald R. Ford won the Republican presidential nomination at the party's convention in Kansas City.
In 1980, 301 people aboard a Saudi Arabian L-1011 died as the jetliner made a fiery emergency return to the Riyadh airport.
In 1991, rioting erupted in the Brooklyn, N.Y., Crown Heights neighborhood after a black 7-year-old, Gavin Cato, was struck and killed by a Jewish driver from the ultra-Orthodox Lubavitch community; three hours later, a gang of blacks fatally stabbed Yankel Rosenbaum, a rabinnical student.
Ten years ago: An underground methane and coal dust explosion in Ukraine killed 55 miners. Donald Woods, a veteran South African newspaper editor and apartheid opponent, died in Sutton, England, at age 67. Soul singer Betty Everett died in Beloit, Wis., at age 61. Davis Toms won the PGA Championship in Duluth, Ga., with a 1-under-par 69.
Five years ago: Israeli commandos raided a Hezbollah stronghold deep in Lebanon. (Israel said the raid was launched to stop arms smuggling from Iran and Syria to the militant Shiite fighters; Lebanon called the operation a "flagrant violation" of a U.N. truce.)
One year ago: The last American combat brigade exited Iraq, seven years and five months after the U.S.-led invasion began. A federal grand jury in Washington indicted seven-time Cy Young Award winner Roger Clemens for allegedly lying to Congress about steroid use. (However, Clemens' trial this year ended early with the judge declaring a mistrial.)
Today's Birthdays: Actor L.Q. Jones is 84. Actress Debra Paget is 78. USTA Eastern Tennis Hall of Famer Renee Richards is 77. Former MLB All-Star Bobby Richardson is 76. Actress Diana Muldaur is 73. Rock musician Ginger Baker (Cream, Blind Faith) is 72. Singer Johnny Nash is 71. Actress Jill St. John is 71. Actor and former U.S. senator Fred Thompson is 69. Singer Billy J. Kramer is 68. Country singer-songwriter Eddy Raven is 67. Rock singer Ian Gillan (Deep Purple) is 66. Former President Bill Clinton is 65. Tipper Gore, wife of former Vice President Al Gore, is 63. Actor Gerald McRaney is 63. Rock musician John Deacon (Queen) is 60. Actor-director Jonathan Frakes is 59. Political consultant Mary Matalin is 58. Actor Peter Gallagher is 56. Actor Adam Arkin is 55. Singer-songwriter Gary Chapman is 54. Actor Martin Donovan is 54. Pro Football Hall-of-Famer Anthony Munoz is 53. Rhythm-and-blues singer Ivan Neville is 52. Actor Eric Lutes is 49. Actor John Stamos is 48. Actress Kyra Sedgwick is 46. Actor Kevin Dillon is 46. Country singer Lee Ann Womack is 45. TV reporter Tabitha Soren is 44. Country singer-songwriter Mark McGuinn is 43. Actor Matthew Perry is 42. Country singer Clay Walker is 42. Rapper Fat Joe is 41. Olympic gold medal tennis player Mary Joe Fernandez is 40. Actress Tracie Thoms is 36. Country singer Rissi Palmer is 30. Actress Erika Christensen is 29. Pop singer Missy Higgins is 28. Country singer Karli Osborn is 27. Olympic silver medal snowboarder Lindsey Jacobellis is 26. Actor J. Evan Bonifant is 26. Rapper Romeo is 22.
Thought for Today: "Cheer up! The worst is yet to come!" -- Philander Chase Johnson, American author (1866-1939).