Today is Thursday, Aug. 11, the 223rd day of 2011 with 142 to follow.
The moon is waxing. The morning stars are Mercury and Saturn. The evening stars are Neptune, Jupiter, Uranus, Venus and Mars.
Those born on this day are under the sign of Leo. They include author Robert Ingersoll in 1833; songwriter Carrie Jacobs Bond ("I Love You Truly") in 1862; art collector Joseph Hirshhorn in 1899; actor Lloyd Nolan in 1902; author Alex Haley in 1921; singer June Hutton in 1920; TV host Mike Douglas in 1925; European socialite Claus von Bulow in 1926 (age 85); actor Arlene Dahl in 1925 (age 86); evangelist Jerry Falwell in 1933; columnist Marilyn vos Savant, listed in the Guinness Book of Records as having the world's highest IQ (reported at 228), in 1946 (age 65); pop singer Eric Carmen, formerly of the Raspberries, in 1949 (age 62); Apple computer co-founder Steve Wozniak in 1950 (age 61); singer/songwriter Joe Jackson in 1954 (age 57); and professional wrestler/actor Hulk Hogan, born Terry Gene Bollea, in 1953 (age 58).
On this date in history:
In 1877, Thomas Edison described the fundamentals of the phonograph to an assistant and instructed him to build the first one.
Also in 1877, American astronomer Asaph Hall discovered the two moons of Mars, which he named Phobos and Deimos.
In 1934, the first group of federal prisoners classified as "most dangerous" arrived at Alcatraz Island, a 22-acre rocky outcrop 1.5 miles offshore in San Francisco Bay.
In 1954, a formal announcement ended the 7-year war in Indochina between France and forces of the communist Viet Minh.
In 1965, riots began in the Watts section of Los Angeles. In six days of violence, 34 people were killed.
In 1984, in an off-air radio voice check picked up by TV cameras, U.S. President Ronald Reagan joked, "My fellow Americans, I'm pleased to tell you today that I've signed legislation that will outlaw Russia forever. We begin bombing in 5 minutes." The Kremlin wasn't amused.
In 1991, a Lebanese militant group the Revolutionary Justice Organization released U.S. hostage Edward Tracy, held captive since October 1986.
In 1993, U.S. President Bill Clinton endorsed the "Brady Bill" handgun control measure and signed an executive order banning the import of semiautomatic assault-style handguns.
Also in 1993, U.S. President Bill Clinton named U.S. Army Gen. John Shalikashvili to be the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, succeeding the retiring Gen. Colin Powell.
In 1994, major league baseball players went on strike following the conclusion of the day's games.
In 1997, U.S. President Bill Clinton became the first president to use the line-item veto, a power granted by Congress the year before.
In 1998, two boys were found to be "delinquent," or guilty, of murder in the fatal March shootings of four students and a teacher at their middle school in Jonesboro, Ark.
Also in 1998, British Petroleum announced it would merge with Amoco Corp. in what would be the largest takeover of an American company by a foreign company.
In 1999, the Kansas State Board of Education voted to drop the theory of evolution from the public school curriculum.
In 2003, as peacekeepers entered Monrovia, the capital of Liberia, to stop fighting between government and rebel troops, President Charles Taylor stepped down and flew into exile in Nigeria.
In 2004, fighting in the holy Iraqi city of Najaf raged for the sixth straight day between forces loyal to radical Shiite cleric Moqtada Sadr and U.S.-backed Iraqi troops.
In 2005, right-wing activists staged one of the biggest demonstrations in Israel's history at Tel Aviv. An estimated 350,000 people protested the impending withdrawal from the Gaza Strip and the evacuation of four settlements in the northern West Bank.
Also in 2005, Salva Kit Mayandit was sworn in as Sudan's vice president succeeding John Garang, whose death in a helicopter crash touched off violent rioting in which 130 people were killed.
In 2007, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America voted to refrain from disciplining members of the clergy involved in same-sex relationships.
In 2008, German doctors in Munich said they performed the world's first successful double-arm transplant. A 54-year-old German farmer, who had lost both of his arms six years previously, underwent a 15-hour procedure to attach two donor arms to his body.
In 2009, Eunice Kennedy Shriver, younger sister of President John Kennedy, mother of former California first lady Maria Shriver and founder of the Special Olympics, died in a Cape Cod, Mass., hospital. She was 88. She devoted much of her life to raising funds for and awareness of people with mental disabilities.
Also in 2009, a military court in Myanmar, formerly Burma, tacked another 18 months onto the house-arrest detention of Nobel Peace Prize laureate and opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyik for allowing John Yettaw, an American, into her home after he swam across a lake to reach her.
In 2010, the sagging U.S. economy and immigration were reported dragging President Barack Obama's approval ratings below 50 percent, two Gallup polls indicated. Meanwhile, a third survey said only 19 percent of the American public approved of the overall job the U.S. Congress was doing.
Also in 2010, Former U.S. Rep Dan Rostenkowski, D-Ill., who rose to be chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee and went to prison in disgrace, died after a long battle with cancer. He was 82.
A thought for the day: comic Robin Williams said: "You're best when you're not in charge. The ego locks the muse."