Silent Film 'The Artist' Dominates The Oscars Ten Years Ago Today

Today in 1907, U.S. Congress raised the salary of congressmen to $7500 – it went into effect March 4th of that year. Both House and Senate members got the same amount. As for the Vice President and the cabinet members – they earned $12,000. (Side note: Before you start thinking that they weren't being paid very much, consider that the Veep's salary at that time was enough to buy at least half a dozen houses. At the time, the richest man in the world was John D. Rockefeller, whose oil fortune was incredible by any measure…he was worth about $300-million – which would be about $8-billion today.)

Today in 1914, the first long-distance phone conversation took place thanks to the Boston-Washington underground cable.

Today in 1919, Congress established The Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona. The Colorado River formed the gigantic gorge in the northwest corner of Arizona. One of the most spectacular natural wonders of the world, the Grand Canyon National Park covers 1,218,375 acres.

Today in 1975, the first televised kidney transplant took place on NBC’s “Today Show.” Intended to raise awareness of the plight of waiting kidney recipients, it did exactly that – by some estimates, 20-thousand people called in to NBC and offered to donate their kidney.

Today in 1984, Reverend Jesse Jackson acknowledged that he called New York City "Hymietown" – and apologized.

Today in 1989, Defense Secretary-designate John Tower, dogged by questions about a possible drinking problem, publicly pledged not to imbibe in any alcohol during his term of office if confirmed by the Senate. What brought that on? An internal briefing from the FBI found a ''pattern of alcohol abuse'' that then Senator Tower reportedly had taken steps to correct back in 1983. Tower, reading an statement on ABC-TV's “This Week With David Brinkley,” offered, "I hereby swear and undertake that if confirmed, during the course of my tenure as secretary of defense, I will not consume beverage alcohol of any type or form, including wine, beer or spirits of any kind." It didn’t work – the Senate killed his nomination the following month.

Today in 1992, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled unanimously that sexually harassed students may sue to collect monetary damages from their schools and school officials.

Today in 1993, six people were killed and more than a thousand injured in New York City when a van packed with a 1,210-pound bomb exploded in the parking garage underneath the World Trade Center. The explosion left a gigantic crater 200-feet wide and caused over $591-million in damage.

Today in 1994, a jury in San Antonio acquitted 11 followers of Branch Davidian leader David Koresh of murder over charges that they ambushed federal agents – five others were convicted of manslaughter. Federal agents had stormed the religious group’s compound and during the course of the 50-day siege that began on February 28th, 1993, 76 women and children – as well as Koresh – were killed.

Today in 1997, President Clinton defended White House fund-raising tactics as "entirely appropriate," a day after the disclosure of documents revealed that 938 guests had stayed at the mansion during the president’s first term, dwarfing the 284 who stayed during the previous administration. The so-called “Lincoln bedroom sleepovers” found a number of high profile donors getting special access to the Clintons as their political pockets were nicely fattened.

Today in 1998, five New York City police officers were indicted on federal civil rights charges in the case of Haitian immigrant Abner Louima. Following an arrest for a scuffle, Louima was viciously beaten and sodomized with a stick by officers the previous August.

Today in 2009, the Pentagon reversed its 18-year policy of not allowing media to cover dead soldiers returning from war. The reversal allowed some media coverage with family approval.

Today in 2012, "The Artist" won five Oscars at the 84th Academy Awards including Best Picture – the first silent film to win since 1927.

Today in 2017, at the 89th Academy Awards: Best Picture went to "Moonlight" (after a mix-up), Damien Chazelle was named Best Director (for “La La Land”), Best Actor was Casey Affleck, and Emma Stone won in the Best Actress category.

Today in 2017, at the 59th Daytona 500: Kurt Busch won after Kyle Larson ran out of gas on last lap; Jeffrey Earnhardt made NASCAR history, as the first ever fourth generation driver to compete in Daytona 500.

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