Today is Wednesday, Jan. 24, the 24th day of 2007 with 341 to follow.
The moon is waxing. The morning stars are Mars, Jupiter and Saturn. The evening stars are Venus, Mercury, Uranus and Neptune.
Those born on this date are under the sign of Aquarius. They include the Roman Emperor Hadrian in A.D. 76; English dramatist William Congreve in 1670; Frederick the Great of Prussia in 1712; British social reformer Edwin Chadwick in 1800; author Edith Wharton in 1862; abstract painter Robert Motherwell in 1915; former sportscaster Jack Brickhouse in 1916; actor Ernest Borgnine in 1917 (age 90); evangelist Oral Roberts in 1918 (age 89); ballet dancer Maria Tallchief Paschen in 1925 (age 82); singers Neil Diamond and Aaron Neville, both in 1941 (age 66); comedian John Belushi in 1949; actor Michael Ontkean in 1946 (age 61); comedian Yakov Smirnoff in 1951 (age 56); actress Nastassja Kinski in 1961 (age 46); and Olympic gold medal gymnast Mary Lou Retton in 1968 (age 39).
On this date in history:
In 1848, gold was discovered at John Sutter's mill near Sacramento, Calif. The discovery touched off the great gold rush of 1849.
In 1908, the first Boy Scout troop was organized in England by Robert Baden-Powell, a general in the British army.
In 1916, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that an income tax was unconstitutional.
In 1935, beer was sold in cans for the first time, in Richmond, Va.
In 1965, former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill died at age 91.
In 1990, Soviet forces shelled merchant ships blockading the harbor in the Azerbaijani capital of Baku.
In 1991, Saudi jet fighters shot down the first enemy planes of the Persian Gulf War, while U.S. forces sank an Iraqi minesweeper and forced Iraqi troops off an island near Kuwait.
In 1993, retired U.S. Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, the first black to serve on the nation's highest court, died of cardiac arrest at age 84.
Also in 1993, Thomas A. Dorsey, known as the father of gospel music for adding rhythm to church hymns, died at 93.
In 1996, the fat substitute Olestra was approved for sale by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
In 1999, the International Olympic Committee expelled six IOC members amid charges that money and other compensation had been accepted from officials whose cities were bidding to host the Games.
Also in 1999, Jordan's King Hussein, who was seriously ill, named his son Abdullah as crown prince. Abdullah replaced his father's younger brother as successor to the throne.
In 2002, John Walker Lindh, the 20-year-old American seized with the Taliban in Afghanistan, appeared in an Alexandria, Va., court to hear charges he had conspired to kill Americans and help terrorist groups.
Also in 2002, committees from both houses of the U.S. Congress began public hearings into the bankruptcy of the Enron Corporation.
In 2003, a report said the global economic slowdown that began about two years ago had wiped out some 20 million jobs, bringing total world unemployment to perhaps 180 million people.
Also in 2003, a U.S. government program to vaccinate 500,000 front-line healthcare workers in case of bio-terrorist attack began on this date.
In 2004, after years of denials, Pakistan admitted scientists may have sold nuclear designs to other nations probably "for personal financial gain."
In 2005, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected an attempt by Florida Gov. Jeb Bush to prevent the husband of Terri Schiavo from removing her life support system. Lower court rulings said the severely brain-damaged woman was in a "persistent vegetative state."
In 2006, a published report said that hours before Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans, the White House received detailed warnings about the danger it posed. Washington's response to the disaster had caused considerable criticism.
Also in 2006, the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee voted 10-8 along party lines to recommend that Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito be confirmed by the full Senate.
A thought for the day: "When I tell the truth, it is not for the sake of convincing those who do not know it, but for the sake of defending those that do." William Blake said that.