Today is Thursday, Aug. 17, the 229th day of 2006 with 136 to follow.
The moon is waning. The morning stars are Saturn, Mercury, Venus and Uranus. The evening stars are Neptune, Mars, Jupiter and Pluto.
Those born on this date are under the sign of Leo. They include frontiersman Davy Crockett in 1786; movie producer Samuel Goldwyn in 1882; black nationalist leader Marcus Garvey in 1887; actors Monty Woolley in 1888 and Mae West in 1893; publisher/diplomat John Hay Whitney in 1904; actors Maureen O'Hara in 1920 (age 86) and Robert De Niro in 1943 (age 63); U.S. spy plane aviator Francis Gary Powers in 1929; British poet laureate Ted Hughes in 1930; pop singer Belinda Carlisle in 1958 (age 48); and actor Sean Penn in 1960 (age 46).
On this date in history:
In 1807, Robert Fulton began the first American steamboat trip between Albany, N.Y., and New York City.
In 1915, a hurricane struck Galveston, Texas, killing 275 people.
In 1961, the East German government began building the Berlin Wall.
In 1978, three Americans completed the first crossing of the Atlantic Ocean by balloon, landing their helium-filled Double Eagle II near Paris.
In 1987, kidnapped U.S. journalist Charles Glass escaped and was rescued after being held hostage for 62 days in Lebanon.
Also in 1987, Rudolf Hess, Hitler's former deputy, was found strangled in Berlin's Spandau Prison. He was 93.
In 1991, the Lebanese government granted amnesty to former Christian army commander Gen. Michel Aoun and allowed him to leave the French Embassy.
In 1996, the Reform Party nominated Texas businessman Ross Perot for president.
In 1998, addressing the American people, U.S. President Bill Clinton admitted he had a relationship with former White House intern Monica Lewinsky that was "not appropriate."
In 1999, at least 16,000 people were killed and 20,000 more injured when a strong earthquake rocked Turkey.
In 2001, Ford Motor Co. announced it would dismiss up to 5,000 of its salaried employees, or 10 percent of its managers and engineers.
In 2003, a U.S. soldier killed a Reuters photographer at a prison near Baghdad after mistaking his camera for a rocket-propelled grenade launcher.
Also in 2003, loss of revenue from a fire-damaged Iraqi oil pipeline was estimated at $7 million a day with repairs expected to take a month.
In 2004, eight British men arrested with reconnaissance plans for the New York Stock Exchange and other targets have been charged with conspiracy to murder and conspiracy to use radioactive material, toxic gas, chemicals or explosives.
n 2005, reports say three suicide car bombings in the center of Baghdad killed at least 43 people and injured 80 others. Meanwhile, a series of bombs exploded simultaneously across Bangladesh killing at least 115 people.
Also in 2005, Israeli soldiers and police began moving Jewish settlers from the Gaza Strip.
A thought for the day: it was Alexander Woollcott who said, "All the things I really like to do are either immoral, illegal or fattening."