The Almanac

By United Press International  |  Aug. 11, 2004 at 3:30 AM
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This is Wednseday, Aug.11, the 224th day of 2004 with 142 to follow.

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

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 1921; TV host Mike Douglas in 1925 (age 79); actress Arlene Dahl in 1927 (age 77); TV preacher Jerry Falwell in 1933 (age 71); actress Virna Lisi in 1937 (age 67); columnist Marilyn vos Savant, who claims to have the world's highest IQ, in 1946 (age 58); pop singer Eric Carmen, formerly of the Raspberries, in 1949 (age 55); Apple computer co-founder Stephen Wozniak in 1950 (age 54); and professional wrestler Hulk Hogan, born Terry Gene Bollea, in 1953 (age 51).

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, a group of federal prisoners classified as "most dangerous" arrived at Alcatraz Island, a 22-acre rocky outcrop situated 1.5 miles offshore in San Francisco Bay. The convicts were the first civilian prisoners to be housed in the new high-security facility.

In 1954, a formal announcement ended the seven-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, President 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 five minutes." The Kremlin was not amused.

In 1991, a Lebanese terrorist group, the Revolutionary Justice Organization, released U.S hostage Edward Tracy, who'd been held captive since October 1986.

In 1992, Ross Perot told a Senate committee that North Vietnam plotted to kill him in the 1970s because of his work on behalf of POWs in Indochina.

Also in 1992, an electrical fire in the 62-story John Hancock office tower forced more than 3,000 workers in Boston's tallest building to flee down smoky, darkened stairwells.

In 1993, President Clinton endorsed the "Brady Bill" handgun control bill and signed an executive order banning the import of semiautomatic assault-style handguns.

Also in 1993, President Clinton named Army Gen. John Shalikashvili to be the next 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 1995, the U.S. Supreme Court turned down a request by The Citadel to overturn a federal appeals court ruling that ordered the all-male military college to admit female students.

Also in 1995, President Clinton vetoed a bill passed by Congress that would've ended U.S. participation in the arms embargo against the Bosnian government.

And in 1995, 10 declared candidates for the 1996 Republican presidential nomination attended a Dallas conference sponsored by Texas billionaire Ross Perot's grassroots political organization, United We Stand America.

In 1997, President 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 ever of an American company by a foreign company.

In 1999, President Clinton offered the commute the prison sentences of 16 Puerto Rican terrorists if they agreed to renounce violence and comply with other parole requirements.

Also in 1999, the Kansas State Board of Education voted to drop the theory of evolution from the public school curriculum.

In 2002, US Airways, the nation's 6th largest airline, filed for bankruptcy.

In 2003, as peacekeeprs entered the capital to try to stop fighting between government and rebel troops, Liberian President Charles Taylor stepped down and flew into exile in Nigeria, ending a bloody chapter of African history. He vowed he would return.

A thought for the day: Comic Robin Williams said, "You're best when you're not in charge. The ego locks the muse."

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