Today is Sunday, Feb. 29, the 60th day of 2004 with 306 to follow.
This is Leap Year Day, which occurs only once every four years.
The moon is waxing. The morning stars are Neptune, Mercury, Jupiter, Uranus and Pluto. The evening stars are Venus, Mars and Saturn.
Those born on this date are under the sign of Pisces. They include English religious leader Ann Lee, founder of the American Shaker sect, in 1736; operatic composer Gioacchino Antonio Rossini in 1792; American inventor John Howard, who pioneered the modern submarine, in 1840; film director William Wellman ("The Ox Bow Incident") in 1896; big band leader Jimmy Dorsey in 1904; astronaut Jack Lousma in 1936 (age 68); and actors Dennis Farina in 1944 (age 60) and Antonio Sabato Jr. in 1972 (age 32).
On this date in history:
In 1704, in the bloodiest event of the so-called Queen Anne's War, Deerfield, a frontier settlement in western Massachusetts, was attacked by a French and Indian force. Some 100 men, women, and children were massacred as the town was burned to the ground.
On this day in 1940, the legendary Southern epic "Gone With The Wind" won eight Academy Awards, including best picture. But, the most momentous award that night went to the movie's Best Supporting Actress winner Hattie McDaniel, first African-American actor ever honored with an Oscar.
In 1868, British statesman Benjamin Disraeli became prime minister for the first time.
In 1916, during World War I, German U-boat commanders were ordered to attack merchant shipping in the Atlantic without warning, a policy that killed thousands and helped draw the United States into the war.
In 1956, almost nine years after becoming an independent nation, Pakistan declared itself an Islamic republic.
In 1948, the President's National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders condemned racism as the primary cause of the recent surge of riots. The commission said in its report that "our nation is moving toward two societies, one black, one white--separate and unequal."
Also in 1968, British astronomer Jocelyn Burnell announced the discovery of a pulsating radio source, or "pulsar," in the depths of outer space. Astrophysicists believe pulsars to be rapidly rotating neutron stars.
In 2000, George W. Bush, after losing to John McCain in Arizona and Michigan, won the important Virginia Republican primary and declared he had "taken a step" toward the White House.
A thought for the day: in "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland," Lewis Carroll, whose real name was Charles Dodgson, wrote, "Curtsy while you're thinking of something to say. It saves time."