Today is Friday, Feb. 27, the 58th day of 2009 with 307 to follow.
The moon is waxing. The morning stars are Mars, Jupiter, Mercury, Neptune and Saturn. The evening stars are Venus and Uranus.
Those born on this day are under the sign of Pisces. They include poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow in 1807; U.S. Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black in 1886; David Sarnoff, RCA board chairman and father of American television, in 1891; soprano Marion Anderson in 1897; novelist John Steinbeck in 1902; actress Joan Bennett in 1910; former Texas Gov. John Connally in 1917; actors Joanne Woodward in 1930 (age 79); Elizabeth Taylor in 1932 (age 77), Howard Hesseman in 1940 (age 69) and Mary Frann in 1943; consumer activist Ralph Nader in 1934 (age 75); actor Adam Baldwin in 1962 (age 47); and former first daughter Chelsea Clinton in 1980 (age 29).
On this date in history:
In 1933, Adolf Hitler's Nazis set fire to the German parliament building in Berlin, blamed it on the communists and made that an excuse to suspend German civil liberties and freedom of the press.
In 1942, opening salvos were fired in the Battle of the Java Sea, during which 13 U.S. warships were sunk by the Japanese, who lost two.
In 1964, the Italian government asked for suggestions on how to save the renowned 180-foot Leaning Tower of Pisa from toppling over.
In 1982, an Atlanta jury convicted Wayne Williams of killing two of 28 young blacks whose deaths over a two-year period had shaken the city. Williams was sentenced to life in prison.
In 1990, the Soviet Parliament approved creation of a U.S.-style presidential system that gave Mikhail Gorbachev broad new powers and established direct popular elections for the post.
Also in 1990, a federal grand jury in Anchorage, Alaska, indicted Exxon Corp. and its shipping subsidiary over the Exxon Valdez oil spill.
In 1991, allied troops liberated Kuwait City.
In 1992, Elizabeth Taylor celebrated her 60th birthday by closing Disneyland for an elaborate private party with her celebrity friends.
In 1994, the 17th Winter Olympic Games ended in Lillehammer, Norway.
In 1998, the Dow Jones industrial average closed at an all-time high of 8,545.72, the first time it closed at more than 8,500.
In 1999, Nigeria's transition to civilian rule was nearly completed with the election of Olusegun Obasanjo, a former military leader, as president.
In 2003, Iraqi President Saddam Hussein denied Baghdad had any connection with al-Qaida or its leader Osama bin Laden and that Iraq would set fire to its oil fields and blow up its dams in response to a U.S.-led invasion.
Also in 2003, Amnesty International reported that the Ivory Coast's main rebel group slaughtered dozens of Ivorian policemen and their children during a horrific October rampage.
In 2004, two studies commissioned by the U.S. Roman Catholic church showed at least 4 percent of priests were involved in child sexual abuse between 1950 and 2002, with the peak year 1970 in which one of every 10 priests eventually was accused of abuse.
In 2005, the United Nations took a first step aimed at curtailing worldwide smoking by announcing its tough tobacco control treaty had gone into effect.
In 2006, more than 1,300 Iraqis were reported killed in sectarian violence since the bombing of a major Shiite shrine in Baghdad.
In 2007, U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney, identified as the target by the Taliban, escaped injury when a suicide bomber blew himself up outside U.S. Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan. Twenty-three people were reported killed in the attack.
In 2008, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said the central bank was considering lowering interest rates despite rising inflation and a record low dollar.
A thought for the day: Marion Anderson, saying she had forgiven the Daughters of the American Revolution for withdrawing its invitation to perform because she was black, said, "You lose a lot of time hating people."