Tuesday, Aug. 21, is the 234th day of 2012. There are 132 days left in the year.
Today’s birthdays: Actor-director Melvin Van Peebles is 80. Singer Kenny Rogers is 74. Singer Jackie DeShannon is 71. Football Hall of Famer Willie Lanier is 67. Actress Loretta Devine is 63. NBC’s Harry Smith is 61. Actress Kim Cattrall is 56. College Football Hall of Famer Jim McMahon is 53. Former MLB All-Star John Wetteland is 46. Rock singer Serj Tankian is 45. Actress Carrie-Anne Moss is 42. Actress Alicia Witt is 37. Singer Kelis is 33. Gold medal sprinter Usain Bolt is 26. Actress Hayden Panettiere is 23.
In 1609, Galileo Galilei demonstrated his new telescope to a group of officials in Venice.
In 1858, the first of seven debates between Illinois senatorial contenders Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Douglas took place.
In 1911, Leonardo da Vinci’s ‘‘Mona Lisa’’ was stolen from the Louvre Museum in Paris. (The painting was recovered two years later in Italy.)
In 1959, President Eisenhower signed an executive order making Hawaii the 50th state.
In 1991, the hard-line coup against Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev collapsed in the face of a popular uprising led by Boris Yeltsin.