Today in History 7/12

Today is Thursday, July 12, the 194th day of 2012. There are 172 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On July 12, 1862, President Abraham Lincoln signed a bill passed by Congress authorizing the Medal of Honor.

On this date:

• In 1543, England’s King Henry VIII married his sixth and last wife, Catherine Parr.

• In 1690, forces led by William of Orange defeated the army of James II at the Battle of the Boyne in Ireland.

• In 1812, U.S. forces led by Gen. William Hull invaded Canada during the War of 1812 against Britain. (However, Hull retreated shortly thereafter to Detroit.)

• In 1909, the House of Representatives joined the Senate in passing the 16th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, allowing for a federal income tax, and submitted it to the states. (It was declared ratified in February 1913.)

• In 1948, the Democratic national convention, which nominated President Harry S. Truman for a second term of office, opened in Philadelphia.

• In 1962, The Rolling Stones played their first-ever gig at The Marquee in London.

• In 1977, President Jimmy Carter defended Supreme Court limits on government payments for poor women’s abortions, saying, “There are many things in life that are not fair.”

• In 1984, Democratic presidential candidate Walter F. Mondale announced he’d chosen U.S. Rep. Geraldine A. Ferraro of New York to be his running-mate; Ferraro was the first woman to run for vice president on a major-party ticket.

• In 1988, Democratic presidential candidate Michael S. Dukakis tapped Senator Lloyd Bentsen of Texas as his running-mate.

• In 1991, a Japanese professor (Hitoshi Igarashi) who had translated Salman Rushdie’s “The Satanic Verses” was found stabbed to death, nine days after the novel’s Italian translator was attacked in Milan.

• In 2001, Abner Louima, the Haitian immigrant tortured in a New York City police station, agreed to an $8.7 million settlement with the city and its police union.

Ten years ago:

• The Senate adopted a ban on personal loans from companies to their top officials, a practice that had benefited executives from Enron to WorldCom.

• The U.N. Security Council agreed to exempt U.S. peacekeepers from war crimes prosecution for a year, ending a threat to U.N. peacekeeping operations.

Five years ago:

• A Bush administration assessment said Iraq had achieved only limited military and political progress toward a democratic society; Iraqi leaders responded by insisting they were making progress.

• The House of Representatives voted to withdraw U.S. troops by spring 2008 despite a veto threat from President George W. Bush.

One year ago:

• President Barack Obama awarded the Medal of Honor to Sgt. 1st Class Leroy Arthur Petry, who’d lost his right hand grabbing a live grenade to save his comrades in Afghanistan.

• Ahmed Wali Karzai, the powerful half brother of President Hamid Karzai, was gunned down in his heavily fortified home by a close associate.

Today’s Birthdays:

Pianist Van Cliburn is 78. Comedian Bill Cosby is 75. Singer-musician Christine McVie is 69. Actress Denise Nicholas is 68. Fitness guru Richard Simmons is 64. Actor Jay Thomas is 64. Singer Walter Egan is 64. Actress Cheryl Ladd is 61. Actor Buddy Foster is 55. Rock guitarist Dan Murphy (Soul Asylum) is 50. Actress Judi Evans is 48. Rock singer Robin Wilson (Gin Blossoms) is 47. Actress Lisa Nicole Carson is 43. Olympic gold medal figure skater Kristi Yamaguchi is 41. Country singer Shannon Lawson is 39. Actress Anna Friel is 36. Country singer-musician Kimberly Perry (The Band Perry) is 29. Actor Erik Per Sullivan is 21.