Today is Saturday, Dec. 22, the 357th day of 2012. There are nine days left in the year.
Today's Highlight in History:
On Dec. 22, 1912, Lady Bird Johnson, the wife of President Lyndon B. Johnson, was born Claudia Alta Taylor in Karnack, Texas.
On this date:
In 1775, Esek Hopkins was appointed the commander-in-chief of the Continental Navy.
In 1808, Ludwig van Beethoven's Symphony No. 5 in C minor, Op. 67, Symphony No. 6 in F major, Op. 68, and Piano Concerto No. 4 in G major, Op. 58, had their world premieres in Vienna, Austria.
In 1864, during the Civil War, Union Gen. William T. Sherman said in a message to President Abraham Lincoln: "I beg to present you as a Christmas-gift the city of Savannah."
In 1894, French army officer Alfred Dreyfus was convicted of treason in a court-martial that triggered worldwide charges of anti-Semitism. (Dreyfus was eventually vindicated.)
In 1910, a fire lasting more than 26 hours broke out at the Chicago Union Stock Yards; 21 firefighters were killed in the collapse of a burning building.
In 1937, the first, center tube of the Lincoln Tunnel connecting New York City and New Jersey underneath the Hudson River was opened to traffic. (The north tube opened in 1945, the south tube in 1957.)
In 1944, during the World War II Battle of the Bulge, U.S. Brig. Gen. Anthony C. McAuliffe rejected a German demand for surrender, writing "Nuts!" in his official reply.
In 1968, Julie Nixon married David Eisenhower in a private ceremony in New York.
In 1977, three dozen people were killed when a 250-foot-high grain elevator at the Continental Grain Company plant in Westwego, La., exploded.
In 1984, New York City resident Bernhard Goetz shot and wounded four youths on a Manhattan subway, claiming they were about to rob him.
In 1992, a Libyan Boeing 727 jetliner crashed after a midair collision with a MiG fighter, killing all 157 aboard the jetliner, and both crew members of the fighter jet.
In 2001, Richard C. Reid, a passenger on an American Airlines flight from Paris to Miami, tried to ignite explosives in his shoes, but was subdued by flight attendants and fellow passengers. (Reid is serving a life sentence in federal prison.)
Ten years ago: A defiant North Korea said that it had begun removing U.N. seals and surveillance cameras from nuclear facilities that U.S. officials said could yield weapons within months. Time magazine chose as its Persons of the Year for 2002 three female whistleblowers: FBI agent Coleen Rowley; WorldCom auditor Cynthia Cooper; and former Enron vice president Sherron Watkins. Joe Strummer, lead singer of the British punk band The Clash, died in Broomfield, England, at age 50.
Five years ago: A jury in Riverhead, N.Y., convicted John White, a black man, of second-degree manslaughter in the shooting death of Daniel Cicciaro (SIS'-ur-oh), a white teenager, during a confrontation outside White's house. (The 17-year-old was shot in the face after he showed up with two carloads of friends to confront White's son after a dispute at a party. White was later sentenced to two to four years in prison, but had his sentence commuted by New York Gov. David Paterson after five months.)
One year ago: A wave of 16 bombings ripped across Baghdad, killing at least 69 people in the worst violence in Iraq in months days after the last American forces left the country, heightening fears of a new round of Shiite-Sunni sectarian bloodshed. Melanie Amaro, a 19-year-old vocalist from Sunrise, Fla., won the first U.S. season of "The X Factor" talent competition on Fox.
Today's Birthdays: Former House Speaker Jim Wright is 90. Actor Hector Elizondo is 76. Country singer Red Steagall is 74. Former World Bank Group President Paul Wolfowitz is 69. Baseball Hall-of-Famer Steve Carlton is 68. ABC News anchor Diane Sawyer is 67. Rock singer-musician Rick Nielsen (Cheap Trick) is 66. Rock singer-musician Michael Bacon is 64. Baseball All-Star Steve Garvey is 64. Golfer Jan Stephenson is 61. Actress BernNadette Stanis is 59. Rapper Luther Campbell is 52. Country singer-musician Chuck Mead is 52. Actor Ralph Fiennes is 50. Actress Lauralee Bell is 44. Country singer Lori McKenna is 44. Actress Dina Meyer is 44. Actress Heather Donahue is 39. Actor Chris Carmack is 32. Actor Logan Huffman is 23. Rhythm-and-blues singer Jordin Sparks is 23.
Thought for Today: "The way you overcome shyness is to become so wrapped up in something that you forget to be afraid." — Lady Bird Johnson (1912-2007).
(Above Advance for Use Saturday, Dec. 22)
Copyright 2012, The Associated Press. All rights reserved.