Today is Wednesday, Aug. 18, the 231st day of 2004 with 135 to follow.
The moon is waxing. The morning stars are Venus, Uranus and Saturn. The evening stars are Mercury, Jupiter, Neptune, Mars and Pluto.
Those born on this date are under the sign of Leo. They include American explorer Meriwether Lewis in 1774; Chicago department store founder Marshall Field in 1834; songwriter Otto Harbach ("Smoke Gets In Your Eyes") in 1873; former Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger in 1917 (age 87); actress Shelley Winters in 1922 (age 82); former First Lady Rosalynn Carter in 1927 (age 77); film director Roman Polanski in 1933 (age 71); baseball player Roberto Clemente in 1934; and actors Robert Redford in 1937 (age 67); Martin Mull in 1943 (age 61); Patrick Swayze in 1954 (age 50); Madeleine Stowe in 1958 (age 46); Christian Slater in 1969 (age 35), and Malcolm-Jamal Warner in 1970 (age 34).
On this date in history:
In 1227, Genghis Khan, the Mongol leader who forged an empire stretching from the east coast of China west to the Aral Sea, died in camp during a campaign against the Chinese kingdom of Xi Xia.
In 1587, Virginia Dare, the first child of English parents to be born in the New World, was born at Roanoke Island, N.C.
In 1916, Abraham Lincoln's birthplace in Kentucky was given to the U.S. government as a national shrine to the 16th president.
In 1920, the 19th Amendment to the Constitution, guaranteeing women the right to vote, was ratified by Tennessee, giving it the two-thirds majority of state ratification necessary to make it the law of the land.
In 1940, the United States and Canada established a World War II plan of joint defense against possible enemy attacks.
In 1960, the first commercially produced oral contraceptives went on the market.
In 1963, James Meredith graduated from the University of Mississippi. He was the first African-American to attend the school and his enrollment touched off deadly riots and necessitated the use of armed guards.
.In 1976, President Ford was nominated in Kansas City, Mo., to head the Republican presidential ticket. He lost to Democrat Jimmy Carter in November.
In 1977, comedian Groucho Marx, ring leader of the wacky Marx Brothers, died at the age of 87.
In 1982, Lebanon and the Palestine Liberation Organization approved a plan for withdrawal of PLO fighters from besieged West Beirut. Israel approved it the following day.
In 1990, U.S. warships fired warning shots over the bows of two Iraqi tankers, the first salvos of the U.S. embargo. The ships did not stop.
Also in 1990, three teenagers were convicted of rape, assault and other charges in New York City in the April 19, 1989, attack on a female jogger in Central Park.
In 1992, a convoy of 17 buses carrying 1,000 women and children left war-torn Sarajevo in the second such evacuation from Bosnia in a week.
In 1998, in the wake of his admission of an affair with former White House intern Monica Lewinsky, President Clinton was urged to resign by several members of Congress and more than 100 daily newspapers.
in 2002, Abu Nidal, one of the most feared of the Palestinian terrorists, was found shot to death. Nidal, blamed for several deadly attacks including the bombing of a TWA jet and the hijacking of an Egyptian airliner, was later reported to have committed suicide.
In 2003, Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham warned that consumers would have to pay $50 billion to upgrade the U.S. power transmission system.
Also in 2003, authorities estimated as many as 10,000 people had died in heat-related deaths in France during the ongoing, brutal European heat wave.
And, Liberia's government and leaders of rebel groups signed a peace agreement, ending that nation's civil war.
A thought for the day: Georges Bernanos wrote, "The most dangerous of our calculations are those we call illusions."