Today is Thursday, Feb. 23, the 54th day of 2006 with 311 to follow.
The moon is waning. The morning stars are Neptune, Jupiter, Pluto and Venus. The evening stars are Mars, Saturn, Uranus and Mercury.
Those born on this day are under the sign of Pisces. They include German composer George Frederick Handel in 1685; Meyer Amschel Rothschild, European banker and founder of the Rothschild financial dynasty, in 1743; black writer and philosopher W.E.B. DuBois in 1868; film director Victor Fleming ("Gone With The Wind," "Wizard of Oz") in 1883; journalist-author William Shirer in 1904; journalist Sylvia Chase in 1938 (age 68); actor Peter Fonda in 1939 (age 67); rock musician Johnny Winter, brother of Edgar Winter, in 1944 (age 62); and actress Patricia Richardson ("Home Improvement") in 1951 (age 55).
On this date in history:
In 1942, a Japanese submarine surfaced off the coast of California and fired 25 shells at an oil refinery near Santa Barbara.
In 1945, six members of the 5th Division of the U.S. Marines planted a U.S. flag atop Mount Suribachi on the strategically important Pacific island of Iwo Jima at the end of one of World War II's bloodiest battles.
In 1982, Canada, Japan and the Common Market nations of Europe joined the United States in economic and diplomatic sanctions against Poland and the Soviet Union, to protest imposition of martial law in Poland.
In 1989, the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee voted 11-9 to reject John Tower's nomination as secretary of Defense.
In 1991, military forces in Thailand overthrew the elected government and imposed martial law.
In 1994, Bosnia's warring Croats and Muslims signed a cease-fire agreement. The Croats agreed to pull back from the Muslim city of Mostar, which had been under siege.
In 1995, the Dow Jones industrial average closed above 4,000 for the first time -- at 4,003.33.
In 1996, two sons-in-law of Saddam Hussein, who had fled Iraq to exile in Jordan, returned after being pardoned and told they'd be safe back home. The next day, they were killed -- within hours of an Iraqi government announcement that their wives, Saddam's daughters, were granted divorces.
In 1997, Scottish scientists introduced Dolly the cloned sheep to the world. She was the first mammal successfully cloned from a cell from an adult animal.
Also in 1997, a gunman identified as a Palestinian teacher killed a tourist from Denmark and wounded six other people on the observation deck of the Empire State Building before turning the gun on himself.
In 1998, a series of tornadoes raked central Florida, killing 42 people and injuring more than 200 others.
In 1999, a jury in Jasper, Texas, convicted self-described white supremacist John King in the June 1998 murder of a black man who'd been dragged to his death behind a pickup truck. King was sentenced to death two days later.
In 2003, Israeli attacks on Hamas-related facilities in Gaza and the West Bank over the past week left at least 40 Palestinians dead.
In 2004, President George W. Bush officially kicked off his campaign for re-election.
In 2005, official efforts to identify victims from the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attack in New York ended on this date, leaving a reported more than 1,000 bodies unidentified.
Also in 2005, the death toll from the heavy snowfall and avalanches in Kashmir reached 300.
A thought for the day: Ben Sweetland said, "We cannot hold a torch to light another's path without brightening our own."