2008: Only 16 percent of those questioned in a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released on this day say things are going well in the United States—an all-time low. Eighty-three percent say things are going badly—an all-time high. Seventy-six percent of those questioned also disapprove of how President George W. Bush is handling his job, an all-time high in CNN polling. Prior to Bush, the record holder for presidential disapproval was Harry Truman, with a 67 percent disapproval rating in January of 1952.
2008: Shares of General Motors drop $1 (23 percent) to $3.36, hitting their lowest point in 60 years. The company announces it will cut 1,900 factory jobs, in addition to the 3,600 announced three days earlier.
2008: Circuit City Stores Inc., the nation’s second-largest electronics retailer, files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and cuts 700 jobs at its Richmond, Virginia headquarters. On this day, its shares fall 14 cents to 11 cents before trading is halted.
2007: The Prairie View A&M University football team clinches its first winning season in 31 years with a 30-27 win over Jackson State University.
1975: The Edmund Fitzgerald, a 729-foot ore carrier loaded with twenty-six thousand tons of taconite iron, sinks during a storm on Lake Superior. It disappears without sending a distress signal, and its entire crew of twenty-nine goes down with the ship.
1972: Three African-American men highjack Southern Airways Flight 49 as it passes over central Alabama, and demand $10 million in cash, as well as 10 parachutes and 10 bulletproof vests. The plane makes stops in Cleveland and Toronto, where the hijackers pick up $500,000, which Southern officials had cobbled together. Then Flight 49 takes off again, this time en route for Knoxville, where the now intoxicated hijackers threaten to crash the plane at Oak Ridge National Laboratory if the full ransom is not delivered. The plane goes on to land in Chattanooga (where the hijackers collect another $1.5 million) before heading to Havana, and then to an air base in Orlando, where six FBI agents open fire on the plane, shooting out the tires and disabling the pressurization system. Yet the three hijackers—Louis Moore, Henry Jackson and Melvin Cale—aren’t apprehended until after the plane crash-lands in Havana. They serve eight years in a Cuban prison, and then another seven in an American prison after being returned to the U.S. in 1980.