Today is Friday, May 1, the 121st day of 2009 with 244 to follow.
The moon is waxing. The morning stars are Mars, Venus, Jupiter, Uranus and Neptune. The evening stars are Mercury and Saturn.
Those born on this date are under the sign of Taurus. They include Arthur Wellesley, the first duke of Wellington, in 1769; American labor leader Mary Harris "Mother" Jones in 1830; U.S. Army Gen. Mark Clark in 1896; singer Kate Smith in 1907; actor Glenn Ford in 1916; television personality Jack Paar in 1918; author Joseph Heller in 1923; Mercury astronaut Scott Carpenter in 1925 (age 84); and singers Sonny James in 1929 (age 80); Judy Collins in 1939 (age 70), Rita Coolidge in 1945 (age 64) and Tim McGraw in 1967 (age 42).
On this date in history:
In 1884, construction began on the world's first skyscraper -- the 10-story Home Insurance Company building in Chicago.
In 1893, U.S. President Grover Cleveland opened the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago.
In 1898, during the Spanish-American war, U.S. Navy Adm. George Dewey routed the Spanish fleet in the Philippines.
In 1931, the Empire State Building was dedicated in New York City. It remained the world's tallest building for 40 years.
In 1960, the Soviet Union shot down an American U-2 spy plane flown by Francis Gary Powers, who was captured.
In 1971, Amtrak, the national passenger rail service that combined the operations of 18 passenger railroads, went into service.
In 1992, U.S. President George H.W. Bush ordered 4,000 military troops into the riot-ravaged streets of Los Angeles.
In 1993, Sri Lankan President Ranasinghe Premadasa and others in his entourage were killed in a suicide bomb blast.
In 1997, 18 years of Conservative Party rule in Great Britain ended with a Labor Party victory in elections, which allowed party leader Tony Blair to succeed John Majors as prime minister.
In 1999, Charismatic, a 31-1 long shot, won the 125th Kentucky Derby in Louisville. It was the third highest payoff in Derby history.
In 2001, a former member of the Ku Klux Klan was convicted in Birmingham, Ala., in the 1963 church bombing that killed four black girls. He was given four life-in-prison sentences.
In 2003, U.S. President George Bush, speaking from the aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln, declared that major combat in Iraq was over.
And, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld announced the end of major U.S. combat operations in Afghanistan.
Also in 2003, an earthquake killed 176 in Turkey, including scores of children in a school dormitory.
In 2004, the European Union added 10 member countries, including Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic, running the total to 25.
In 2005, at least 35 Iraqis were killed by insurgents with car bombs at a Kurdish funeral near Mosul.
Also in 2005, five men in Madain, Iraq, confessed to the kidnapping and slaying of British aid worker Margaret Hassan, who was abducted in October.
In 2006, hundreds of thousands of immigrants and their supporters marched and rallied throughout the United States to focus attention on the importance of immigration.
In 2007, the U.S. government announced plans to open millions of acres off the coasts of Alaska and Virginia to oil and gas drilling, some as early as 2008.
In 2008, the U.S. Congress gave final approval to a bill making it illegal for employers and insurance companies to discriminate on the basis of genetic history. It became law on May 24.
Also in 2008, the U.N. secretary-general said a comprehensive plan to address the world food crisis should be in place by the beginning of June.
A thought for the day: "Spoon feeding in the long run teaches us nothing but the shape of the spoon." E.M. Forster said that.