Today is Saturday, March 17, the 77th day of 2012 with 289 to follow.
This is St. Patrick's Day.
The moon is waning. The morning stars are Neptune and Saturn. The evening stars are Mars, Mercury, Jupiter, Uranus and Venus.
Those born on this date are under the sign of Pisces. They include the fifth Chief Justice of the United States Roger Brooke Taney in 1777; German engineer Gottlieb Daimler, inventor of the gasoline-burning internal combustion engine, in 1834; children's author and illustrator Kate Greenaway in 1846; composer Alfred Newman in 1900; golf legend Bobby Jones in 1902; football Hall of Fame member Sammy Baugh in 1914; singer/pianist Nat "King" Cole in 1919; ballet dancer Rudolf Nureyev in 1938; rock musician Paul Kantner in 1941 (age 71); writer William Gibson in 1948 (age 64); actors Patrick Duffy in 1949 (age 63), Kurt Russell in 1951 (age 61), Lesley-Anne Down in 1954 (age 58), Gary Sinise in 1955 (age 57), Vicki Lewis in 1960 (age 52) and Rob Lowe in 1964 (age 48); soccer star Mia Hamm in 1972 (age 40); and Caroline Corr, of the Irish pop band The Corrs, in 1973 (age 39).
On this date in history:
In 1762, New York City staged the first parade honoring the Roman Catholic feast day of St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland. It was led by Irish soldiers serving in the British army.
In 1776, the Continental Army under Gen. George Washington forced British troops to evacuate Boston.
In 1901, 71 paintings by the late Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh were shown at the Bernheim-Jeune gallery in Paris and caused a sensation across the art world.
In 1945, the bloody World War II battle against Japanese forces for the Pacific island of Iwo Jima ended in victory for the United States.
In 1958, the U.S. Navy launched the satellite Vanguard 1 into orbit around the Earth.
In 1978, the tanker Amoco Cadiz ran aground on the coast of Brittany in France, spilling 220,000 tons of crude oil.
In 1992, South African whites voted to end minority rule.
Also in 1992, 10 people were killed and at least 126 injured in a bomb blast that destroyed the Israeli Embassy in Buenos Aires.
In 1999, the International Olympic Committee voted to expel six members in connection with the bribery scandal related to the effort by Salt Lake City to win the 2002 Winter Olympic Games. Five other IOC members had earlier resigned.
In 2000, Smith and Wesson, the nation's oldest and largest maker of handguns, agreed to a wide array of restrictions in exchange for ending some lawsuits that threatened to bankrupt the company.
In 2003, as war with Iraq seemed a certainty, U.S. President George W. Bush gave Iraqi President Saddam Hussein and his sons 48 hours to leave the country but the ultimatum was rejected. U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan ordered U.N. personal out of Iraq.
In 2004, more than 25 people were killed and 41 injured in a car-bomb blast at the Mount Lebanon Hotel in Baghdad.
In 2005, several major league baseball players told the U.S. Congress that steroids were a problem in the sport.
In 2006, a U.S. appeals court ruled that the Environmental Protection Administration cannot exempt older power plants and refineries from the Clean Air Act, voting unanimously against the Bush administration's interpretation of the law.
Also in 2006, General Motors said its actual losses the year before were $10 billion, some $2 billion more than previously reported.
In 2007, the Palestinian legislature approved the Hamas-dominated unity government though leaders of the Hamas and Fatah factions remained divided on Israeli issues.
In 2008, Iraqi officials reported a female suicide bomber, apparently targeting Shiite worshipers, killed at least 42 people and wounded 58 others in Karbala. The blast overshadowed a visit by U.S. Vice President Dick Chaney who spoke on an improvement in security.
Also in 2008, three dozen bodies were found buried in a residential backyard in Juarez, Mexico, near the U.S. border, believed enemies of the Juarez drug cartel and second mass grave found in a week.
In 2009, U.S. President Barack Obama signed the $787 billion stimulus package into law, hoping to create 3.5 million jobs for Americans in two years. Most Republican lawmakers argued it contained too much "pork-barrel" spending and not enough tax cuts.
Also in 2009, General Motors and Chrysler asked for an additional $14 billion from the government to keep from going bankrupt. That made their total request $39 billion.
In 2010, in a show of bipartisanship, the U.S. Senate gave final congressional approval to a jobs bill that included incentives for small businesses to hire new employees who have been out of work for at least 60 days.
In 2011, the U.N. Security Council approved airstrikes to impose a no-fly zone over Libya, by a vote of 10-0 with five abstentions, including China and Russia. U.S., British and French military aircraft began bombing Libyan air and ground defenses two days later to protect Benghazi, a rebel stronghold.
A thought for the day: George Washington wrote, "Few men have virtue to withstand the highest bidder."