Today is Thursday, Feb. 19, the 50th day of 2004 with 316 to follow.
The moon is waning. The morning stars are Neptune, Mercury, Jupiter and Pluto. The evening stars are Venus, Mars, Saturn and Uranus.
Those born on this date are under the sign of Pisces. They include British actor David Garrick in 1717; actress Merle Oberon in 1911; bandleader Stan Kenton in 1912; jockey Eddie Arcaro in 1916; novelist Carson McCullers in 1917; actor Lee Marvin in 1924; singers William "Smokey" Robinson in 1940 (age 64) and Lou Christie in 1943 (age 60); author Amy Tan in 1952 (age 51); actors Jeff Daniels in 1955 (age 49), Justine Bateman in 1966 (age 38), and Andrew Shue and Benicio Del Toro, both in 1967 (age 37); singer Seal in 1963 (age 41); and Britain's Prince Andrew in 1960 (age 44).
On this date in history:
In 1473, Nicolaus Copernicus, the father of modern astronomy, was born in Torun, a city in north-central Poland on the Vistula River.
In 1807, Aaron Burr, a former U.S. vice president, was arrested in Alabama on charges of plotting to annex Spanish territory in Louisiana and Mexico to be used toward the establishment of an independent republic.
In 1878, Thomas Edison patented the first gramophone.
In 1922, vaudeville star Ed Wynn became the first big name in show business to sign for a regular radio show.
In 1942, as a security measure during World War II, the U.S. government began relocating Japanese-Americans living in coastal Pacific areas to internment camps located in remote areas of Arizona, Arkansas, inland California, Colorado, Idaho, Utah and Wyoming. They were allowed to return to their homes in January 1945.
In 1945, U.S. Marines landed on the island of Iwo Jima, opening one of the bloodiest battles in the Pacific during World War II.
In 1986, the Senate endorsed the United Nations convention against genocide, 37 years after President Truman first sought approval of the accord.
In 1992, conservative candidates won South African by-election seen as a barometer of white attitudes toward President de Klerk's reforms to scrap apartheid.
In 1993, a Superior Court judge ruled that a gay group has the right to march in South Boston's annual St. Patrick's Day Parade.
In 1997, China's "paramount leader" Deng Xiaoping died at age 92.
In 2000, George W. Bush easily defeated Arizona Sen. John McCain in the South Carolina Republican presidential primary.
In 2002, President Bush, on an Asian tour, told the Japanese parliament that the United States, if necessary, would come to the aid of South Korea, the Philippines and Taiwan.
In 2003, All 289 aboard were killed an Iranian military transport plane were it crashed in a mountainous region of southeastern Iran.
A thought for the day: it was Henry Ward Beecher who said, "Every charitable act is a stepping stone toward heaven."