Today is Wednesday, Dec. 12, the 347th day of 2012. There are 19 days left in the year.
Today's Highlight in History:
On Dec. 12, 1787, Pennsylvania became the second state to ratify the U.S. Constitution.
On this date:
In 1870, Joseph H. Rainey of South Carolina became the first black lawmaker sworn into the U.S. House of Representatives.
In 1897, "The Katzenjammer Kids," the pioneering comic strip created by Rudolph Dirks, made its debut in the New York Journal.
In 1906, President Theodore Roosevelt nominated Oscar Straus to be Secretary of Commerce and Labor; Straus became the first Jewish Cabinet member.
In 1911, Britain's King George V announced during a visit to India that the capital would be transferred from Calcutta to Delhi.
In 1917, Father Edward Flanagan founded Boys Town outside Omaha, Neb.
In 1925, the first motel -- the Motel Inn -- opened in San Luis Obispo, Calif.
In 1937, Japanese aircraft sank the U.S. gunboat Panay on China's Yangtze River. (Japan apologized, and paid $2.2 million in reparations.)
In 1946, a United Nations committee voted to accept a six-block tract of Manhattan real estate offered as a gift by John D. Rockefeller Jr. to be the site of the U.N.'s headquarters.
In 1963, Kenya gained its independence from Britain.
In 1972, Irwin Allen's all-star disaster movie "The Poseidon Adventure" was released.
In 1985, 248 American soldiers and eight crew members were killed when an Arrow Air charter crashed after takeoff from Gander, Newfoundland.
In 2000, George W. Bush was transformed into the president-elect as a divided U.S. Supreme Court reversed a state court decision for recounts in Florida's contested election.
Ten years ago: President George W. Bush publicly rebuked Senate Republican leader Trent Lott for his statement that appeared to embrace half-century-old segregationist politics, calling it "offensive" and "wrong." President Bush named Wall Street investment banker Stephen Friedman to head his National Economic Council, replacing Lawrence Lindsey, who'd been ousted along with Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill. Actor Nick Nolte pleaded no contest in Malibu, Calif., to one count of driving under the influence of drugs; he was sentenced to three years' probation.
Five years ago: Republican presidential rivals gathered in Johnston, Iowa, called for deep cuts in federal spending in a debate remarkably free of acrimony. President George W. Bush vetoed a second bill that would have expanded government-provided health insurance for children. Three car bombs exploded in the southern Shiite city of Amarah, Iraq, killing at least 25 people and wounding dozens. Ike Turner, the rock pioneer and ex-husband of Tina Turner, died in San Marcos, Calif., at age 76.
One year ago: President Barack Obama met at the White House with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki; afterward, the president declared that U.S. troops were leaving Iraq "with honor and with their heads held high." Bert Schneider, 78, a producer credited with inspiring a "New Hollywood" band of independent filmmakers in the 1970s and 1980s, died in Los Angeles.
Today's Birthdays: Former TV host Bob Barker is 89. Former New York City Mayor Edward Koch (kahch) is 88. Basketball Hall of Famer Bob Pettit is 80. Singer Connie Francis is 75. Singer Dionne Warwick is 72. Rock singer-musician Dickey Betts is 69. Former race car driver Emerson Fittipaldi is 66. Actor Wings Hauser is 65. Actor Bill Nighy (ny) is 63. Actor Duane Chase (Film: "The Sound of Music") is 62. Country singer LaCosta is 62. Gymnast-turned-actress Cathy Rigby is 60. Author Lorna Landvik is 58. Singer-musician Sheila E. is 55. Actress Sheree J. Wilson is 54. Pop singer Daniel O'Donnell is 51. International Tennis Hall of Famer Tracy Austin is 50. Rock musician Eric Schenkman (Spin Doctors) is 49. Rock musician Nicholas Dimichino (Nine Days) is 45. News anchor Maggie Rodriguez is 43. Actress Jennifer Connelly is 42. Actress Madchen Amick is 42. Country singer Hank Williams III is 40. Actress Mayim Bialik is 37. Model Bridget Hall is 35.
Thought for Today: "I have never known a man who died from overwork, but many who died from doubt." -- Charles Horace Mayo, American surgeon and co-founder of the Mayo Clinic (1865-1939).