Today is Monday, Aug. 11, the 224th day of 2008. There are 142 days left in the year.

Today's Highlight in History:

On Aug. 11, 1949, President Truman nominated Gen. Omar N. Bradley to become the first chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

On this date:

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

In 1934, the first federal prisoners arrived at the island prison Alcatraz in San Francisco Bay.

In 1942, during World War II, Pierre Laval, prime minister of Vichy France, publicly declared that "the hour of liberation for France is the hour when Germany wins the war."

In 1954, a formal peace took hold in Indochina, ending more than seven years of fighting between the French and Communist Vietminh.

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

In 1962, the Soviet Union launched cosmonaut Andrian Nikolayev on a 94-hour flight.

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

In 1984, President Reagan joked during a voice test for a paid political radio address that he had "signed legislation that will outlaw Russia forever. We begin bombing in five minutes."

In 1992, the Mall of America, the biggest shopping mall in the U.S., opened in Bloomington, Minn.

In 1993, President Clinton named Army Gen. John Shalikashvili to be the new chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, succeeding the retiring General Colin Powell.

Ten years ago: One of the shooters in the Jonesboro, Ark., schoolyard massacre, Mitchell Johnson, pleaded guilty to murder and battery and the other, Andrew Golden, was convicted. (The boys, ages 14 and 12, were detained by Arkansas juvenile authorities until they turned 18, then transferred to federal custody. Federal authorities released the two when they turned 21.) British Petroleum announced it was purchasing Amoco for $49 billion.

Five years ago: President Bush chose Utah Gov. Mike Leavitt to head the Environmental Protection Agency. NATO took command of the 5,000-strong peacekeeping force in Afghanistan. Charles Taylor resigned as Liberia's president and went into exile in Nigeria. Herb Brooks, who coached the U.S. Olympic hockey team to the "Miracle on Ice" victory over the Soviet Union in 1980, died in a car wreck near Minneapolis at age 66.

One year ago: President Bush welcomed French President Nicolas Sarkozy to his family's estate in Kennebunkport, Maine. Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney won an easy and expected victory in a high-profile Iowa Republican straw poll. Funeral services were held in Newark, N.J., for three college students shot to death in a schoolyard during an apparent robbery attempt. Big Ben's bongs fell silent as workers began a month of maintenance work on the iconic London clock and its world-famous bell.

Today's Birthdays: Actress Arlene Dahl is 80. Actress Anna Massey is 71. Songwriter-producer Kenny Gamble is 65. Rock musician Jim Kale (Guess Who) is 65. Country singer John Conlee is 62. Singer Eric Carmen is 59. Wrestler-actor Hulk Hogan is 55. Singer Joe Jackson is 54. Playwright David Henry Hwang is 51. Actor Miguel A. Nunez Jr. is 44. Actress Viola Davis is 43. Actor Duane Martin is 43. Actor-host Joe Rogan is 41. Rhythm-and-blues musician Chris Dave is 40. Actress Anna Gunn is 40. Rock guitarist Charlie Sexton is 40. Hip-hop artist Ali Shaheed Muhammad is 38. Actor Will Friedle is 32. Rapper Chris Kelly (Kris Kross) is 30. Singer J-Boog is 23.

Thought for Today: "Some people think that doctors and nurses can put scrambled eggs back into the shell." _ Dorothy Canfield Fisher, American author (1879-1958).