The Almanac

By United Press International  |  Feb. 17, 2004 at 3:30 AM
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Today is Tuesday, Feb. 17, the 48th day of 2004 with 318 to follow.

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

Those born on this date are under the sign of Aquarius. They include mail order retailer Aaron Montgomery Ward in 1843; engraver Frederick Ives in 1856; Texas oil millionaire H.L. Hunt in 1889; contralto singer Marian Anderson in 1902; sportscaster Red Barber in 1908; author Margaret Truman Daniel, daughter of President Truman, in 1924 (age 80); actors Hal Holbrook in 1925 (age 79) and Alan Bates in 1934 (age 70); pro football star-turned-actor Jim Brown in 1936 (age 68); actors Brenda Fricker in 1945 (age 59), Renee Russo in 1954 (age 50), Richard Karn ("Home Improvement") in 1959 (age 45), Lou Diamond Phillips in 1962 (age 42), and Michelle Forbes ("Homicide: Life in the Street") in 1967 (age 37); basketball superstar Michael Jordan in 1963 (age 41); and actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt ("3rd Rock from the Sun") in 1981 (age 23).

On this date in history:

In 1801, the House of Representatives chose Thomas Jefferson as third president of the United States after he and Aaron Burr tied in the Electoral College. It took 35 indecisive House ballots before Jefferson finally won and Burr became vice president.

In 1817, Baltimore became the first U.S. city with gas-burning street lights.

In 1909, Apache leader Geronimo died while under military confinement at Fort Sill, Okla.

In 1979, "A Prairie Home Companion," hosted by Garrison Keillor, made its national debut on National Public Radio.

In 1979, in response to the Vietnamese invasion of Cambodia, China launched an invasion of Vietnam.

In 1986, Johnson and Johnson halted production of all non-prescription drugs in capsules following the death of a Peekskill, N.Y., woman from cyanide-laced Extra-Strength Tylenol.

In 1991, Iraq's foreign minister headed to Moscow to discuss a diplomatic end to the Persian Gulf War.

In 1993, in an address to a joint session of Congress, President Clinton called on Americans to "summon the courage to seize the day" and implored the nation to adopt deep government cuts and tax hikes to renew the troubled economy.

In 1994, a former U.S. Treasurer, Catalina Vasques Villalpando, pleaded guilty to obstructing the investigation of influence pedding at the Department of Housing and Urban Development in the 1980s.

In 1995, Jamaican immigrant Colin Ferguson was convicted of killing six passengers on a New York commuter train in December 1993.

In 1997, Pepperdine University announced that Whitewater prosecutor Kenneth Starr would resign to become dean of its law and public policy schools. Four days later, Starr reversed his decision and said he'd stay on as special counsel.

In 1998, President Clinton's lawyers asked a Little Rock, Ark., judge to dismiss Paula Jones' sexual harassment lawsuit against the president. Their request would later be granted.

In 1999, Israeli guards killed four Kurdish protesters when they stormed the Israeli consulate in Berlin. The Kurds suspected Israel had helped Turkey capture Kurdish rebel leader Abdullah Ocalan two days earlier in Kenya.

In 2002, a series of raids by communist rebels left 137 dead in Nepal.

In 2003, when security guards used pepper spray to break up a fight at a packed Chicago social club the ensuing panic by patrons resulted in 21 deaths as the crowd stampeded for the exits.

A thought for the day: Aldous Huxley wrote, "Experience is not what happens to you; it's what you do with what happens to you."

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