Today is Thursday, March 2, the 61st day of 2006 with 304 to follow.
The moon is waxing. The morning stars are Neptune, Jupiter, Pluto, Uranus and Venus. The evening stars are Mars, Saturn and Mercury.
Those born on this day are under the sign of Pisces. They include statesman DeWitt Clinton, chief sponsor of the Erie Canal project, in 1769; Sam Houston, first president of the Republic of Texas, in 1793; journalist, politician and reformer Carl Schurz in 1829; Pope Pius XII in 1876; publisher Max Schuster in 1897; German composer Kurt Weill in 1900; children's author "Dr. Seuss," Theodor Giesel, in 1904; entertainer Desi Arnaz in 1917; actors Jennifer Jones in 1919 (age 87) and John Cullum in 1930 (age 76); former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev in 1931 (age 75); authors Tom Wolfe in 1931 (age 75) and John Irving in 1942 (age 64); singers Eddie Money in 1949 (age 57) and Karen Carpenter in 1950; comedian Laraine Newman ("Saturday Night Live") in 1952 (age 54), and rock singer Jon Bon Jovi in 1962 (age 44).
On this date in history:
In 1836, Texas proclaimed its independence from Mexico.
In 1925, the first system of interstate highway numbering was introduced in the United States.
In 1943, in the Battle of Bismarck Sea, U.S. warplanes attacked a Japanese convoy en route to New Guinea in the South Pacific, eventually blocking Japan's attempt to send in reinforcements.
In 1945, toward the close of World War II, units of the U.S. 9th Army reached the Rhine River opposite Dusseldorf, Germany.
In 1949, a U.S. Air Force plane piloted by Capt. James Gallagher completed the first non-stop around-the-world flight in just over 94 hours.
In 1981, the United States announced it was sending 20 military advisers and $25 million in equipment to El Salvador.
In 1990, more than 6,000 drivers and thousands of other employees went on strike against Greyhound, the only nationwide intercity bus line.
In 1991, a four-man CBS News crew captured by Iraq during the Persian Gulf War was released.
Also in 1991, Yugoslavia's Federal Army was sent to Croatia to protect Serbs after violence erupted between Croatian security forces and villagers.
In 1992, President George H.W. Bush vetoed a bill linking improvements in human rights to continued most-favored-nation trade status for China.
In 1993, six youngsters were killed as gunmen opened fire at point-blank range on a truck transporting school children in South Africa's strife-torn Natal province.
Also in 1993, NBC News President Michael Gartner resigned following the furor generated by the network's staged explosions of GM trucks on "Dateline" program.
In 1994, the Mexican government reached a tentative agreement with the Zapatista National Liberation Army, which had launched a rebellion in January in Chiapas.
In 1995, the balanced budget amendment failed in the Senate after passing the House of Representatives.
In 1997, a state of emergency was declared in Albania amid public unrest triggered by the collapse of pyramid funds in which many people had invested.
In 1999, conservative writer and TV commentator Pat Buchanan announced his third bid for the presidency, while Texas Gov. George W. Bush said he was setting up a committee to explore a run for the White House.
In 2000, the British government abruptly dropped extradition proceedings against former Chilean dictator Gen. Augusto Pinochet, who had been held under house arrest in London for 16 months as Spain sought to try him for crimes committed during his regime.
Also in 2000, a longtime political fundraiser for Vice President Al Gore was convicted for arranging more than $100,000 in illegal donations in 1996.
In 2002, Israeli ground forces invaded Palestinian refugee camps, killing 30 people and a suicide bomber killed himself and nine others in Jerusalem.
In 2003, four North Korean fighter planes intercepted a U.S. surveillance plane over the Sea of Japan, in international waters, and followed the plane for 22 minutes before returning home.
In 2004, John Kerry locked up the Democratic presidential nomination with a series of primary victories.
Also in 2004, at least 125 people died in explosions at two Shiite shrines in Iraq.
In 2005, Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan urged Congress to scrutinize spending and taxes to help solve the problem of federal budget deficits which he called "unsustainable."
A thought for the day: Mikhail Gorbachev said, "Sometimes when you stand face to face with someone, you cannot see his face."