Today is Friday, Sept. 23, the 266th day of 2011. There are 99 days left in the year. Autumn arrives at 5:04 a.m. Eastern time.
Today's Highlight in History:
On Sept. 23, 1952, Sen. Richard M. Nixon, R-Calif., salvaged his vice-presidential nomination by delivering the "Checkers" speech, in which he defended himself against allegations of improper campaign fundraising.
On this date:
In 1779, during the Revolutionary War, the American warship Bon Homme Richard, commanded by John Paul Jones, defeated the HMS Serapis in battle.
In 1780, British spy John Andre was captured along with papers revealing Benedict Arnold's plot to surrender West Point to the British.
In 1806, the Lewis and Clark expedition returned to St. Louis more than two years after setting out for the Pacific Northwest.
In 1846, Neptune was identified as a planet by German astronomer Johann Gottfried Galle.
In 1908, an apparent baserunning error by Fred Merkle of the New York Giants cost his team a victory against the Chicago Cubs and left the game tied 1-1. (The Cubs won a rematch and with it, the National League pennant.)
In 1939, Sigmund Freud (froyd), the founder of psychoanalysis, died in London at age 83.
In 1957, nine black students who'd entered Little Rock Central High School in Arkansas were forced to withdraw because of a white mob outside.
In 1962, New York's Philharmonic Hall (later renamed Avery Fisher Hall) formally opened as the first unit of the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts.
In 1973, former Argentine president Juan Peron won a landslide election victory that returned him to power; his wife, Isabel, was elected vice president.
In 1981, the Reagan administration announced plans for what became known as "Radio Marti."
Ten years ago: President George W. Bush returned the American flag to full staff at Camp David, symbolically ending a period of national mourning. Thousands gathered at New York's Yankee Stadium to offer prayers for the victims of terrorism; Mayor Rudolph Giuliani pledged that "our skyline will rise again." Thirteen coal miners were killed in an explosion at the Blue Creek Mine No. 5 in Brookwood, Ala.
Five years ago: Three young children were found dead in an East St. Louis, Ill., apartment, hours after Tiffany Hall was charged with killing their pregnant mother and her fetus in a grisly attack. (Hall later pleaded guilty to four counts of murder and one count of intentional homicide in the death of the fetus and was sentenced to life in prison without parole.) Barry Bonds hit his 734th career home run in the Giants' 10-8 loss to the Brewers, breaking Hank Aaron's NL record.
One year ago: The U.S. delegation walked out of a U.N. speech by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad after he said some in the world had speculated that the U.S. staged the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks in an attempt to assure Israel's survival. Congressional Republicans unveiled their "Pledge to America," a strongly worded manifesto promising to return government to the people. Teresa Lewis, 41, was executed by the state of Virginia for arranging the killings of her husband and stepson to collect on a $250,000 insurance policy. The children's show "Sesame Street" announced it wouldn't televise a taped segment in which the Muppet character Elmo sang with bustier-clad pop star Katy Perry.
Today's Birthdays: Actor Mickey Rooney is 91. Actress Margaret Pellegrini ("The Wizard of Oz") is 88. Singer Julio Iglesias is 68. Actor Paul Petersen ("The Donna Reed Show") is 66. Actress-singer Mary Kay Place is 64. Rock star Bruce Springsteen is 62. Rock musician Leon Taylor (The Ventures) is 56. Actress Rosalind Chao is 54. Golfer Larry Mize is 53. Actor Jason Alexander is 52. Actress Elizabeth Pena is 52. Actor Chi McBride is 50. Country musician Don Herron (BR549) is 49. Actor Erik Todd Dellums is 47. Actress LisaRaye is 45. Singer Ani DiFranco is 41. Rock singer Sarah Bettens (K's Choice) is 39. Recording executive Jermaine Dupri is 39. Actor Kip Pardue is 35. Pop singer Erik-Michael Estrada ("Making the Band") is 32. Actress Aubrey Dollar is 31. Tennis player Melanie Oudin is 20.
Thought for Today: "Trust your own instinct. Your mistakes might as well be your own, instead of someone else's." -- Billy Wilder, Austro-Hungarian-born American movie director (1906-2002).