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Today in History: May 22, Johnson’s ‘Great Society’

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Today in History

Today is Monday, May 22, the 142nd day of 2023. There are 223 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On May 22, 1964, President Lyndon B. Johnson, speaking at the University of Michigan, outlined the goals of his “Great Society,” saying that it “rests on abundance and liberty for all” and “demands an end to poverty and racial injustice.”

On this date:

In 1939, the foreign ministers of Germany and Italy, Joachim von Ribbentrop and Galeazzo Ciano, signed a “Pact of Steel” committing the two countries to a military alliance.

In 1960, an earthquake of magnitude 9.5, the strongest ever measured, struck southern Chile, claiming some 1,655 lives.

In 1962, Continental Airlines Flight 11, en route from Chicago to Kansas City, Missouri, crashed after a bomb apparently brought on board by a passenger exploded, killing all 45 occupants of the Boeing 707.

In 1967, a fire at the L’Innovation department store in Brussels killed 322 people. Poet and playwright Langston Hughes died in New York at age 65.

In 1968, the nuclear-powered submarine USS Scorpion, with 99 men aboard, sank in the Atlantic Ocean. (The remains of the sub were later found on the ocean floor 400 miles southwest of the Azores.)

In 1969, the lunar module of Apollo 10, with Thomas P. Stafford and Eugene Cernan aboard, flew to within nine miles of the moon’s surface in a dress rehearsal for the first lunar landing.

In 1985, U.S. sailor Michael L. Walker was arrested aboard the aircraft carrier Nimitz, two days after his father, John A. Walker Jr., was apprehended; both were later convicted of spying for the Soviet Union. (Michael Walker served 15 years in prison and was released in 2000.)

In 1992, after a reign lasting nearly 30 years, Johnny Carson hosted NBC’s “Tonight Show” for the final time. (Jay Leno took over as host three days later.)

In 2006, The Department of Veterans Affairs said personal data, including Social Security numbers of 26.5 million U.S. veterans, was stolen from a VA employee after he took the information home without authorization.

In 2011, a tornado devastated Joplin, Missouri, with winds up to 250 mph, claiming at least 159 lives and destroying about 8,000 homes and businesses.

In 2020, “Full House” star Lori Loughlin and her fashion designer husband, Mossimo Giannulli, pleaded guilty to paying half a million dollars into the University of Southern California as part of a college admissions bribery scheme. (Loughlin would spend two months behind bars; Giannulli began a five-month sentence in November 2020 and was released to home confinement in April 2021.)

Ten years ago: Lois Lerner, an Internal Revenue Service supervisor whose agents had targeted conservative groups, swore to a House committee she did nothing wrong, then refused to answer further questions, citing her Fifth Amendment right not to incriminate herself. In a brutal daylight attack in London, two al-Qaida-inspired extremists with butcher knives hacked to death an off-duty British soldier, Lee Rigby, before police wounded them in a shootout. (The attackers were later sentenced to prison.)

Five years ago: Stacey Abrams won Georgia’s Democratic gubernatorial primary, making her the first woman nominee for Georgia governor from either major party. (Abrams, seeking to become the nation’s first black female governor, was defeated in November by Republican Brian Kemp.) Novelist Philip Roth, whose books included “Portnoy’s Complaint” and the Pulitzer Prize-winning “American Pastoral,” died in New York at the age of 85. A judge in upstate New York ordered a 30-year-old man to move out of his parents’ house after they went to court to have him ejected.

One year ago: Polish President Andrzej Duda became the first foreign leader to address the Ukrainian parliament since Russia invaded the country. He traveled to Kyiv to support Ukraine’s goal of becoming a candidate for European Union membership. Leaders of the Southern Baptist Convention, America’s largest Protestant denomination, stonewalled and denigrated survivors of clergy sex abuse over almost two decades while seeking to protect their own reputations, according to a scathing 288-page investigative report. Kate McKinnon and Pete Davidson departed from “Saturday Night Live,” leaving the sketch institution without arguably its two most famous names after its 47th season finale.

Today’s Birthdays: Conductor Peter Nero is 89. Actor-director Richard Benjamin is 85. Actor Frank Converse is 85. Actor Barbara Parkins is 81. Retired MLB All-Star pitcher Tommy John is 80. Songwriter Bernie Taupin is 73. Actor-producer Al Corley is 68. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, is 66. Singer Morrissey is 64. Actor Ann Cusack is 62. Country musician Dana Williams (Diamond Rio) is 62. Rock musician Jesse Valenzuela is 61. Actor Mark Christopher Lawrence is 59. R&B singer Johnny Gill (New Edition) is 57. Rock musician Dan Roberts (Crash Test Dummies) is 56. Actor Brooke Smith is 56. Actor Michael Kelly is 54. Model Naomi Campbell is 53. Actor Anna Belknap is 51. Actor Alison Eastwood is 51. Singer Donell Jones is 50. Actor Sean Gunn is 49. Actor A.J. Langer is 49. Actor Ginnifer Goodwin is 45. R&B singer Vivian Green is 44. Actor Maggie Q is 44. Olympic gold medal speed skater Apolo Anton Ohno is 41. Actor Molly Ephraim (TV: “Last Man Standing”) is 37. Tennis player Novak Djokovic is 36. Actor Anna Baryshnikov (TV: “Superior Donuts”) is 31. Actor Camren Bicondova is 24.

By The Associated Press

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