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Today in History

On Aug. 11, 1997, President Bill Clinton made the first use of the historic line-item veto, rejecting three items in spending and tax bills. (However, the U.S. Supreme Court later struck down the veto as unconstitutional.)

On this date:

In 1860, the nation’s first successful silver mill began operation near Virginia City, Nevada.

In 1919, Germany’s Weimar Constitution was signed by President Friedrich Ebert.

In 1934, the first federal prisoners arrived at Alcatraz Island (a former military prison) in San Francisco Bay.

In 1949, President Harry S. Truman nominated General Omar N. Bradley to become the first chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

In 1952, Hussein bin Talal was proclaimed King of Jordan, beginning a reign lasting nearly 47 years.

In 1956, abstract painter Jackson Pollock, 44, died in an automobile accident on Long Island, New York.

In 1965, rioting and looting that claimed 34 lives broke out in the predominantly Black Watts section of Los Angeles.

In 1992, the Mall of America, the nation’s largest shopping-entertainment center, opened in Bloomington, Minnesota.

In 1993, President Bill Clinton named Army Gen. John Shalikashvili (shah-lee-kash-VEE’-lee) to be the new chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, succeeding the retiring Gen. Colin Powell.

In 2014, Academy Award-winning actor and comedian Robin Williams, 63, died in Tiburon, California, a suicide.

In 2016, the Obama administration said it had decided marijuana would remain on the list of most dangerous drugs, rebuffing growing support across the country for broad legalization, but said it would allow more research into its medical uses.

In 2020, Democrat Joe Biden named California Sen. Kamala Harris as his running mate; Harris was the first Black woman on a major party’s presidential ticket. The newly elected district attorney in Portland, Oregon, said he would not prosecute people arrested on non-violent misdemeanor charges during protests.

Ten years ago: Republican presidential contender Mitt Romney announced his choice of Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin to be his running mate. Usain Bolt capped his perfect London Olympics by leading Jamaica to victory in a world-record 36.84 seconds in the 4×100 meters. Allyson Felix won her third gold medal as the Americans rolled to an easy victory in the women’s 4×400 relay.

Five years ago: A federal judge ordered Charlottesville, Virginia, to allow a weekend rally of white nationalists and other extremists to take place at its originally-planned location downtown. (Violence erupted at the rally, and a woman was killed when a man plowed his car into a group of counterprotesters.) President Donald Trump unleashed fresh threats against North Korea, warning Kim Jong Un that he “will regret it fast” if he takes any action against U.S. territories or allies.

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