Today is Saturday, Feb. 21, the 52nd day of 2004 with 314 to follow.
The moon is waxing. The morning stars are Neptune, Mercury, Jupiter and Pluto. The evening stars are Venus, Mars, Saturn and Uranus.
Those born on this day are under the sign of Pisces. They include Mexican revolutionary and military commander Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna in 1794; Roman Catholic Cardinal John Henry Newman in 1801; German bacteriologist August von Wasserman, who developed the blood test for syphilis, in 1866; Romanian sculptor Constantin Brancusi in 1876; poet and author W.H. Auden in 1907; filmmaker Sam Peckinpah in 1925; humorist Erma Bombeck in 1927; actors Rue McClanahan in 1936 (age 68), Gary Lockwood in 1937 (age 67), and Tyne Daly in 1947 (age 57); record company executive David Geffen in 1944 (age 60); Tricia Nixon Cox, daughter of former President Nixon, in 1946 (age 58); actors Kelsey Grammer in 1955 (age 49), Christopher Atkins in 1961 (age 43), William Baldwin in 1963 (age 41), and Jennifer Love Hewitt in 1979 (age 25); and singer Charlotte Church in 1986 (age 18).
On this date in history:
In 1828, a printing press later used to print the first newspaper for American Indians arrived at the Cherokee Council in Echota, Ga.
In 1878, the New Haven, Conn., Telephone Company published the first phone directory. It listed 50 subscribers.
In 1885, the Washington Monument, a 555-foot-high marble obelisk built in honor of America's revolutionary hero and first president, was dedicated in Washington, D.C.
In 1916, the Germans launched the Battle of Verdun, World War I's single longest battle. It lasted until Dec. 15, 1916, and left more than one million soldiers on both sides dead.
In 1934, Nicaraguan guerrilla leader Cesar Augusto Sandino was murdered by members of the Nicaraguan National Guard and became a martyr.
In 1965, Black Muslim leader Malcolm X was assassinated at a rally in New York City.
In 1989, opening arguments began in the Iran-Contra criminal trial of former national security aide Oliver North.
In 1992, CIA Director Gates said his agency would "cooperate fully and willingly" with any government effort to declassify documents relating to the Kennedy assassination.
Also in 1992, actor Paul Reubens, a.k.a. Pee-wee Herman, produced an anti-drug video, fulfilling his sentence on a 1991 indecent exposure charge.
In 1993, two 10-year-old boys were charged with abducting and killing a two-year-old boy in a crime that shocked Britain and the world.
In 1994, longtime CIA counterintelligence officer Aldrich Ames and his wife were arrested and charged with selling information to the Soviet Union and Russia.
In 1995, a Russian commission estimated as many as 24,400 civilians had died in the two-month uprising in the separatist republic of Chechnya.
In 2001, the investigation into the last-minute presidential pardons granted by President Clinton widened with word that his brother-in-law and Clinton's half-brother had lobbied for several pardons.
In 2002, a former Roman Catholic priest was sentenced to prison for child molestation as a widening scandal involving alleged sexual abuse of children by priests brought anguish to the church worldwide.
In 2003, Israel sent troops supported by tanks, armored personnel carriers, jeeps and bulldozers into the Gaza Strip, setting up security checks and closing off roads to Palestinians.
A thought for the day: David Russell said, "The hardest thing in life is to know which bridge to cross and which to burn."