Today is Sunday, April 15, the 106th day of 2012 with 260 to follow.
The moon is waning. 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 Italian painter and inventor Leonardo da Vinci in 1452; British polar explorer James Clark Ross in 1800; distiller Joseph E. Seagram in 1841; author Henry James in 1843; painter Thomas Hart Benton in 1889; former Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev and singer Bessie Smith, both in 1894; actor Marian Jordan, "Molly" in the long-running "Fibber McGee and Molly" radio show, in 1898; North Korean leader Kim Il Sung in 1912; businessman Alfred S. Bloomingdale in 1916; Harold Washington, the first black mayor of Chicago, in 1922; country singer Roy Clark in 1933 (age 79); actors Elizabeth Montgomery in 1933, Claudia Cardinale in 1939 (age 73) and Amy Wright in 1950 (age 62); musician Dave Edmunds in 1944 (age 68); newspaper columnist Heloise Cruse Evans ("Hints from Heloise") in 1951 (age 61); and actors Emma Thompson in 1959 (age 53), Seth Rogen in 1982 (age 30) and Emma Watson in 1990 (age 22).
On this date in history:
In 1755, Samuel Johnson published "A Dictionary of the English Language."
In 1817, the first U.S. public school for the deaf, Connecticut Asylum for the Education and Instruction of Deaf and Dumb Persons (now the American School for the Deaf), was founded at Hartford, Conn.
In 1861, U.S. President Abraham Lincoln sent Congress a message recognizing a state of war with the Southern states and calling for 75,000 volunteer soldiers.
In 1865, U.S. President Abraham Lincoln died of an assassin's bullet. Vice President Andrew Johnson was sworn in as chief executive.
In 1912, the luxury liner "Titanic" sank in the northern Atlantic Ocean off Newfoundland after striking an iceberg the night before. Some 1,500 lives were lost.
In 1924, the first Rand McNally road atlas was published.
In 1947, major league baseball's color line was broken with debut of Jackie Robinson for the Brooklyn Dodgers.
In 1955, the first franchised McDonald's was opened in Des Plaines, Ill., by Ray Kroc, who got the idea from a hamburger restaurant in San Bernardino, Calif., run by the McDonald brothers.
In 1985, U.S. officials in Seattle indicted 23 members of a neo-Nazi group for robbery and murder. Ten gang members were convicted and sentenced to 40 to 100 years in prison.
In 1991, the European Community lifted its remaining economic sanctions against South Africa, allowing the import of gold coins, iron and steel -- despite pleas by the African National Congress to continue the sanctions.
In 1998, Pol Pot, the Khymer Rouge leader who presided over a reign of terror in Cambodia in the late 1970s, died at a jungle outpost near the Cambodian-Thailand border.
In 1999, astronomers announced they had discovered evidence of a planetary system in the constellation Andromeda. At the time it was the only known such system other than the one around the sun.
In 2007, Iran announced it was accepting bids for a contract to build two nuclear power plants in the southern city of Bushehr.
In 2008, on his first papal visit to the United States, Pope Benedict XVI met with U.S. President George W. Bush, addressed the United Nations, conducted masses at stadiums in Washington and New York, celebrated his 81st birthday among a heavy schedule and apologized for the scandal that grew from alleged child abuse by priests.
Also in 2008, 63 people died in suicide bombings in Baqubas and Ramadi, two former Sunni strongholds in Iraq.
In 2009, organized conservative Tea Party protest sessions across the nation, largely critical of U.S. President Barack Obama and his policies, had their biggest turnout to date on April 15, tax day, with demonstrations in a reported in 750 cities.
Also in 2009, Daniel Rendon Herrera, reportedly Colombia's No. 1 cocaine trafficker and possibly responsible for thousands of killings, was arrested.
In 2010, in a speech at the Kennedy Space Center, U.S. President Barack Obama outlined long-range space goals, including a manned flight to Mars by the mid-2030s.
Also in 2010, the U.S. Commerce Department reported that American retail sales, bolstered by auto sales, rose 1.6 percent in March, better than economists had expected.
In 2011, two days after U.S. President Barack Obama outlined plans for a fiscal 2012 budget, designed to cut $4 trillion from projected deficits over a 12-year period, the House of Representatives introduced its own version that, among other things, promised to balance the budget by 2040, reduce taxes, cut spending and privatize Medicare.
Also in 2011, Tunisia sought to extradite former President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali from Saudi Arabia to face 18 criminal charges including manslaughter and drug trafficking.
A thought for the day: "The reason why so few good books are written is that so few people who can write know anything." Walter Bagehot said that.