Today is Thursday, March 30, the 89th day of 2006 with 276 to follow.
The moon is waxing. The morning stars are Mercury, Venus, Jupiter, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto. The evening stars are Mars and Saturn.
Those born on this date are under the sign of Aries. They include Spanish painter Francisco Jose de Goya in 1746; English author Anna Sewell ("Black Beauty") in 1820; English social reformer Charles Booth in 1840; Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh in 1853; Irish dramatist Sean O'Casey in 1880; former CIA Director Richard Helms in 1913; singer Frankie Laine also in 1913 (age 93); TV host Peter Marshall in 1927 (age 79); actors Richard Dysart in 1929 (age 77), John Astin in 1930 (age 76) and Warren Beatty in 1937 (age 69); British blues/rock guitarist Eric Clapton in 1945 (age 61); actor Paul Reiser in 1957 (age 49); and singers Hammer in 1963 (age 43), Tracy Chapman in 1964 (age 42) and Celine Dion in 1968 (age 38).
On this date in history:
In 1842, Dr. Crawford Long became the first physician to use anesthetic (ether) in surgery.
In 1867, U.S. Secretary of State William Seward reached an agreement with Russia for the purchase of Alaska for $7.2 million in gold.
In 1870, following its ratification by the requisite three-fourths of the states, the 15th Amendment, granting African-American men the right to vote was formally adopted into the U.S. Constitution.
In 1923, the Cunard liner "Laconia" arrived in New York City, becoming the first passenger ship to circumnavigate the world, a cruise of 130 days.
In 1975, the South Vietnamese city of Da Nang fell to North Vietnamese forces.
In 1981, President Ronald Reagan was shot and wounded by John Hinckley Jr. White House news secretary James Brady, a Secret Service agent and a Washington police officer also were wounded in the incident outside a Washington hotel. Hinckley was later found not guilty by reason of insanity.
In 1990, Idaho Gov. Cecil Andrus vetoed a restrictive abortion bill, ending the anti-abortion forces' goal at that time of giving Supreme Court a chance to reconsider Roe vs. Wade.
In 1993, a two-state custody battle over a 2-year-old girl took a dramatic turn when the Michigan Court of Appeals ordered the child who'd been living with her custodial parents in Michigan since shortly after birth returned to her biological parents in Iowa.
In 1995, the compromise "don't ask, don't tell, don't pursue" policy allowing homosexuals to serve in the military under certain conditions was struck down by a federal judge in New York as unconstitutional.
In 1997, U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich said he warned Chinese leaders that the United States would intervene militarily if China attacked Taiwan.
In 1998, Armenian Premier Robert Kocharian was elected president in a run-off election in the former Soviet republic.
In 1999, a jury in Oregon awarded $81 million dollars in damages to the family of a smoker who had died from lung cancer. The plaintiff in the case, tobacco manufacturer Philip Morris, promised to appeal. A state judge later reduced the punitive portion of the judgment to $32 million.
In 2003, an Iraqi spokesman said that 4,000 volunteers from 23 countries were ready to carry out suicide attacks against the U.S.-led coalition.
In 2004, President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney offered to appear jointly before the congressional 9/11 commission hearings on the 2001 terror attacks.
In 2005, Vatican officials said the ailing Pope John Paul II had a nasal feeding tube inserted after reportedly having trouble swallowing. The next day the 84-year-old pontiff was given the last rites of the Roman Catholic church.
A thought for the day: it was Mark Twain who said, "Principles have no real force except when one is well-fed."