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Today in history: Jan. 19

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On Jan. 19, 1809, author, poet and critic Edgar Allan Poe was born in Boston

By The Associated Press

The Associated Press - Monday, January 19, 2009

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Today is Monday, Jan. 19, the 19th day of 2009. There are 346 days left in the year. This is Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

Today's Highlight in History:

On Jan. 19, 1809, author, poet and critic Edgar Allan Poe was born in Boston.

On this date:

In 1736, James Watt, inventor of the steam engine, was born in Scotland.

In 1807, Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee was born in Westmoreland County, Va.

In 1853, Giuseppe Verdi's opera "Il Trovatore" premiered in Rome.

In 1861, Georgia seceded from the Union.

In 1937, millionaire Howard Hughes set a transcontinental air record by flying his monoplane from Los Angeles to Newark, N.J., in seven hours, 28 minutes and 25 seconds.

In 1944, the federal government relinquished control of the nation's railroads following settlement of a wage dispute.

In 1955, a presidential news conference was filmed for television for the first time, with the permission of President Dwight D. Eisenhower.

In 1966, Indira Gandhi was elected prime minister of India.

In 1970, President Richard M. Nixon nominated G. Harrold Carswell to the Supreme Court; however, the nomination was defeated because of controversy over Carswell's past racial views.

In 1979, former Attorney General John N. Mitchell was released on parole after serving 19 months at a federal prison in Alabama.

Ten years ago: President Bill Clinton delivered his State of the Union address, in which he proposed to protect Social Security by using huge budget surpluses and announced the government would sue the tobacco industry for smokers' health costs. Hours earlier, at the president's impeachment trial in the Senate, White House Counsel Charles Ruff opened the defense with ringing statements of Clinton's innocence.

Five years ago: John Kerry won Iowa's Democratic caucuses, while John Edwards placed second; Howard Dean, who finished third, delivered a fist-pumping, bellowing concession speech that was viewed as politically damaging. A freighter capsized near the western Norwegian port of Bergen, killing 18.

One year ago: Republican John McCain won a hard-fought South Carolina primary; Democrats Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama split the spoils in the Nevada caucuses. A soldier was killed south of Baghdad in a roadside bomb attack; his was the first American death to occur on a newly introduced, heavily armored vehicle known as MRAP. Death claimed actress Suzanne Pleshette in Los Angeles at age 70; John Stewart, a former member of the Kingston Trio, in San Diego at age 68; and former Chicago Mayor Eugene Sawyer at age 73.

Today's Birthdays: Actress Jean Stapleton is 86. Actor Fritz Weaver is 83. Actress Tippi Hedren is 79. Former PBS newsman Robert MacNeil is 78. Movie director Richard Lester is 77. Singer Phil Everly is 70. Actor-singer Michael Crawford is 67. Actress Shelley Fabares is 65. Country singer Dolly Parton is 63. ABC newswoman Ann Compton is 62. TV chef Paula Deen is 62. Rock singer Martha Davis is 58. Singer Dewey Bunnell (America) is 57. Actor Desi Arnaz Jr. is 56. Comedian Paul Rodriguez is 54. Actress Katey Sagal is 52. Reggae musician Mickey Virtue (UB40) is 52. Actor Paul McCrane is 48. Actor William Ragsdale is 48. Tennis player Stefan Edberg is 43. Rock singer Whitfield Crane (Ugly Kid Joe) is 41. Singer Trey Lorenz is 40. Rock singer-musician John Wozniak (Marcy Playground) is 38. Actress Drea de Matteo is 37. Comedian-impressionist Frank Caliendo is 35. Actress Marsha Thomason is 33. Actress Jodie Sweetin is 27. Actor Logan Lerman is 17.

Thought for Today: "Words have no power to impress the mind without the exquisite horror of their reality." - Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849).

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