Today is Wednesday, April 4, the 95th day of 2012 with 271 to follow.
The moon is waxing. The morning stars are Neptune, Mercury, Uranus and Saturn. The evening stars are Mars, Jupiter and Venus.
Those born on this date are under the sign of Aries. They include social reformer Dorothea Dix in 1802; inventor Linus Yale, developer of the cylinder lock, in 1821; dance school founder Arthur Murray in 1895; baseball Hall of Fame member Tris Speaker in 1888; author/playwright Robert E. Sherwood in 1896; broadcast news commentator John Cameron Swayze and actor Bea Benaderet, both in 1906; blues musician Muddy Waters, born McKinley Morganfield, in 1913; author Maya Angelou in 1928 (age 84); actor Anthony Perkins in 1932; former baseball Commissioner A. Bartlett Giamatti in 1938; South African musician Hugh Masekela and golf Hall of Fame member JoAnne Carner, both in 1939 (age 73); author Kitty Kelley in 1942 (age 70); Irish television talk show host Graham Norton in 1963 (age 49); and actors Craig T. Nelson in 1944 (age 68), Christine Lahti in 1950 (age 62), Hugo Weaving in 1960 (age 52), Robert Downey Jr. in 1965 (age 47), James Roday in 1976 (age 36) and Heath Ledger in 1979.
On this date in history:
In 1818, the U.S. Congress approved the first flag of the United States.
In 1841, U.S. President William Henry Harrison died of pneumonia after serving for one month. He was the ninth U.S. president and the first to die in office. He was succeeded by Vice President John Tyler, first person to occupy the office without being elected to it.
In 1850, the city of Los Angeles, Calif., was incorporated.
In 1887, Susanna Medora Salter was elected as the first woman mayor in the United States, serving for one year as head of the municipal government of Argonia, Kan.
In 1896, the Yukon gold rush began with the announcement of a strike in the Northwest Territory of Canada.
In 1949, representatives of 12 nations gathered in Washington to sign the North Atlantic Treaty, creating the NATO alliance.
In 1968, civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated as he stood on the balcony of a Memphis hotel. He was 39.
In 1983, the space shuttle Challenger lifted off on its inaugural mission.
In 1991, U.S. Sen. John Heinz, R-Pa., and four others were killed when their chartered airplane collided with a helicopter near Philadelphia.
In 1992, Sam Moore Walton, founder of Wal-Mart, died of cancer at 74. His retail store chain helped make him one of the world's richest men.
In 2000, the Nasdaq composite index plunged 574 points (more than 13 percent) but then rose 500 points in one of the wildest days ever on Wall Street.
In 2003, coalition forces encircled Baghdad and secured Saddam International Airport in overnight fighting.
In 2005, the body of Pope John Paul II lay in state in St. Peter's Basilica in Rome. Cause of death for the 84-year-old pontiff was said officially to be septic shock and cardio-circulatory failure.
Also in 2005, the president of Kyrgyzstan, Askar Akayev, officially resigned after being driven out by a coup a month earlier.
In 2007, radio talk show host Don Imus was fired for making what was termed a sexually and racially offensive remark about the predominantly black Rutgers University women's basketball team.
In 2008, police raided a West Texas polygamist ranch owned by the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and removed 400 minors after reports of sexual abuse of children.
Also in 2008, Chinese paramilitary police are reported to have killed eight people after opening fire on several hundred protesting Tibetan monks and villagers at a monastery in the Sichuan province.
In 2009, North Korea launched a long-range test missile despite warnings from the United States, the United Nations and others. North Korean officials said they sought to determine how to put a satellite into space.
In 2010, a 7.2-magnitude earthquake hit a remote area of northern Mexico, shaking also part of Southern California. Two people died in Mexico and homes and businesses were damaged in nearby towns.
Also in 2010, car bombers detonated three explosions in Baghdad, killing at least 32 people and wounding several dozen more.
2011, U.S. President Barack Obama launched his bid for re-election with a message to supporters, coming at a time his approval ratings had hit a low of 41 percent.
Also in 2011, a United Nations plane crashed as it was landing in Kinshasa, Congo, killing 32 of the 33 people aboard.
A thought for the day: Plato said, "At the touch of love everyone becomes a poet."