The almanac

By United Press International   |   May 21, 2009 at 3:30 AM

Today is Thursday, May 21, the 141st day of 2009 with 224 to follow.

The moon is waning. The morning stars are Mars, Mercury, Venus, Neptune, Uranus and Jupiter. The evening star is Saturn.

Those born on this date are under the sign of Gemini. They include German painter Albrecht Durer in 1471; King Philip II of Spain, who launched the Spanish Armada, in 1527; English poet and satirist Alexander Pope in 1688; French painter Henri Rousseau in 1844; industrialist Armand Hammer in 1898; architect Marcel Breuer in 1902; composer and barrelhouse piano player Thomas "Fats" Waller in 1904; author Harold Robbins in 1916; singer Dennis Day in 1916; actor Raymond Burr in 1917; Soviet physicist-turned-humanitarian Andrei Sakharov in 1921; actress Peggy Cass in 1924; romance novelist Janet Dailey in 1944 (age 65); comedian Al Franken in 1951 (age 58); and actors Mr. T, born Lawrence Tureaud, in 1952 (age 57) and Judge Reinhold in 1957 (age 52).

On this date in history:

In 1832, the first Democratic Party national convention met in Baltimore.

In 1881, Clara Barton founded the American Red Cross.

In 1927, Charles Lindbergh landed the "Spirit of St. Louis" in Paris, completing the first non-stop solo flight across the Atlantic in 33 1/2 hours.

In 1932, five years to the day after Charles Lindbergh's historic flight, Amelia Earhart became the first pilot to repeat the feat, flying solo across the Atlantic from Newfoundland, Canada, to Ireland. She completed her flight in 13 1/2 hours.

In 1941, U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt proclaimed "an unlimited state of national emergency," seven months before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.

In 1972, a Hungarian man, Lazlo Tooth, attacked Michelangelo's sculpture "The Pieta" while screaming "I am Jesus Christ!" The statue was badly damaged.

In 1985, after taking fertility drugs, Patti Frustaci of Orange, Calif., gave birth to the first recorded American septuplets. Six of the seven infants were born alive. Three survived.

In 1991, former Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated while campaigning.

Also in 1991, Ethiopian President Mengistu Haile Mariam resigned and fled to Zimbabwe after 14 years in power.

And in 1991, South Korean Prime Minister Ro Jai-bong quit after four weeks of student protests demanding his resignation.

In 1992, royal intervention ended four days of the bloodiest urban unrest in Thailand's history.

In 1993, the Venezuelan Senate authorized the country's Supreme Court to try President Carlos Andres Perez on corruption charges. Perez was suspended from office.

In 1998, two students were killed and 22 others wounded when a classmate opened fire in a high school cafeteria in Eugene, Ore. A 15-year-old boy was arrested in connection with the shootings; police found his parents shot to death at home.

Also in 1998, weeks of demonstrations led to the resignation of Indonesian President Suharto.

In 2003, an earthquake, which measured 6.8 on the Richter scale, struck near Algiers, killing more than 2,200 people and injuring another 10,000.

Also in 2003, a three-judge panel in Florida threw out a $145 billion punitive damage award against cigarette manufacturers.

In 2004, explorers in the former Soviet republic of Georgia reported finding rich gold deposit linked to the legend of the Golden Fleece near Supsa on the shore of the Black Sea.

In 2006, the FBI accused U.S. Rep. William Jefferson, D-La., of taking hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes and claimed to have found $90,000 of the money in a freezer at his home.

Also in 2006, in its first full day in office, Iraq's new government was greeted by a series of Baghdad bombings that killed four and wounded 37 others.

In 2007, former U.S. President Jimmy Carter called the George W. Bush presidency "the worst in history." A Bush spokesman said Carter had become increasingly irrelevant with such "reckless" remarks.

In 2008, U.S. President George W. Bush vetoed a $307 billion farm bill as promised but the House of Representatives overrode it and the Senate followed suit the next day, paving the way for it to become law.

Also in 2008, Hezbollah, the Shiite militant group, reached an agreement with the Lebanese government on a power-sharing formula, ending an 18-month political stalemate and clearing the way for the election of Gen. Michel Suleiman president.

A thought for the day: Arthur Koestler said, "If the Creator had a purpose in equipping us with a neck, he surely meant us to stick it out."

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