Today is Saturday, April 15, the 105th day of 2006 with 260 to follow.
The moon is waning. The morning stars are Mercury, Venus, Jupiter, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto. The evening stars are Mars and Saturn.
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; author Henry James in 1843; painter Thomas Hart Benton in 1889; actress Marian Jordan, who played "Molly" in the long-running "Fibber McGee and Molly" radio show, in 1897; Harold Washington, the first black mayor of Chicago, in 1922; country singer Roy Clark in 1933 (age 73); actresses Elizabeth Montgomery in 1933, Claudia Cardinale in 1939 (age 67), and Amy Wright in 1950 (age 56); newspaper columnist Heloise Cruse Evans ("Hints from Heloise") in 1951 (age 55); and actress Emma Thompson in 1959 (age 47).
On this date in history:
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, 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, 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 1955, the first franchised McDonald's was opened in Des Plaines, Ill., by Ray Kroc, who'd gotten the idea from a hamburger joint 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 1996, Tokyo and Washington agreed on a gradual return of U.S. military bases on Okinawa to Japan.
In 1998, Pol Pot, the Khmer 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 our own.
In 2003, the Bush administration warned Iran not to interfere with efforts to form a government in Iraq.
Also in 2003, more than 100 Iraqis protested in Baghdad against what they called the U.S. military occupation, shouting "Death to America ... Death to Bush."
In 2004, the Pentagon announced it was extending the tours of duty of some 21,000 U.S. troops in Iraq, going back on a promise made last year to keep deployments to 12 months.
Also in 2004, Iraqi insurgents released three Japanese hostages in apparent response to pleas by Sunni Muslim clerics. The abductors had vowed to kill the hostages if the Japanese forces did not withdraw from Iraq.
In 2005, investigators in Paris say the early morning hotel fire that killed 20 people was accidental. At least 50 people were injured.
Also in 2005, the U.S. Senate approved a ban on undisclosed government-sponsored video news releases as part of broader emergency spending package.
And, billions of burgers later, McDonald's celebrated its 50th anniversary by opening a majestic new restaurant in Chicago.
A thought for the day: "The reason that there are so few good books written is that so few people who write know anything." Walter Bagehot said that.