Today is Sunday, Aug. 24, the 236th day of 2003 with 129 to follow.
The moon is waning. The morning stars are Mars, Jupiter and Saturn. The evening stars are Mercury, Venus, Uranus, Pluto, and Neptune.
Those born on this date are under the sign of Leo. They include pioneer British abolitionist William Wilberforce in 1759; Joshua Lionel Cowen, inventor of the electric toy train, in 1880; English author and parodist Sir Max Beerbohm in 1872; country music publisher Fred Rose in 1897; Argentine poet and author Jorge Luis Borges in 1899; actor Michael Richards in 1950 (age 53); former Ohio State football running back Archie Griffin, the only two-time Heisman Trophy winner, in 1954 (age 49); actor Steve Guttenberg in 1958 (age 45); former baseball star Cal Ripken Jr. in 1960 (age 43); and actress Marlee Matlin in 1965 (age 38).
On this date in history:
In 79, thousands died and the Roman cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum were buried by the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in Italy.
In 1814, the British captured Washington, D.C., and burned the Capitol building and the White House.
In 1932, Amelia Earhart became the first woman to fly non-stop across the United States.
In 1987, a federal appeals court in Cincinnati ruled public schools could require students to study textbooks not accepted by religious fundamentalists.
In 1990, Irish-British hostage Brian Keenan, held by pro-Iranian Moslem extremists in Lebanon for more than four years, was freed.
In 1991, Soviet President Gorbachev quit as general secretary of the Communist Party central committee. He also ordered his cabinet to resign.
In 1992, Hurricane Andrew smashed into Florida south of Miami with sustained winds of up to 145 mph, carving path of destruction. President Bush declared southern Florida a federal disaster area.
In 1994, a Washington, D.C., superior court denied Benjamin Chavis's request to block his ouster as executive director of the NAACP.
In 1995, Beijing convicted and then expelled Chinese-American human rights activist Harry Wu, who'd been arrested in June while trying to enter China from Kazakhstan.
In 1996, four women became students at The Citadel, a school in South Carolina that had fought in court to remain all-male.
A thought for the day: it was Hartford (Conn.) Courant Editor Charles Dudley Warner -- and not his friend and colleague Mark Twain -- who said, "Everybody talks about the weather, but nobody does anything about it."