The Almanac

By United Press International  |  May 24, 2006 at 3:30 AM
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Today is Wednesday, May 24, the 144th day of 2006 with 221 to follow.

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

Those born on this date are under the sign of Gemini. They include French journalist and revolutionary Jean Paul Marat in 1743; British Queen Victoria in 1819; hostess and party-giver Elsa Maxwell, credited with introducing the "scavenger hunt," in 1883; actress Lilli Palmer in 1914; comedian Tommy Chong of Cheech and Chong in 1938 (age 68); musician Bob Dylan in 1941 (age 65); actor Gary Burghoff in 1943 (age 63); singer Patti LaBelle and director Frank Oz, both in 1944 (age 62); actress Priscilla Presley, former wife of Elvis Presley, in 1946 (age 60); actor Alfred Molina in 1953 (age 53); singer Rosanne Cash in 1955 (age 51); and actress Kristin Scott Thomas in 1960 (age 46).

On this date in history:

In 1626, the Dutch West Indies Trading Co. bought the island of Manhattan from the Indians, paying with goods worth about $24.

In 1844, the first U.S telegraph line was formally opened between Baltimore and Washington.

In 1883, the Brooklyn Bridge was opened to the public, linking Brooklyn and Manhattan Island.

In 1935, the first night baseball game in the major leagues saw the Cincinnati Reds beat the Philadelphia Phillies, 2-1, at Crosley Field in Cincinnati.

In 1962, Mercury astronaut Scott Carpenter became the second American to orbit the Earth, circling it three times.

In 1983, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled private religious schools that practice racial discrimination are not eligible for church-related tax benefits.

In 1987, 250,000 people jammed San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge on its 50th anniversary -- temporarily flattening the arched span.

In 1990, the U.S. Navy reopened the much-criticized probe of the USS Iowa explosion that killed 47 sailors, citing a test that showed the blast could have been an accident.

In 1991, Israel began a mass evacuation of 14,500 Ethiopian Jews from Ethiopia to Israel. The operation took 36 hours.

In 1993, the U.S. Senate approved the appointment of Roberta Achtenberg as assistant secretary for fair housing and equal opportunity in the Department of Housing and Urban Development. She was the first openly homosexual person to be appointed to a position requiring Senate approval

Also in 1993, the archbishop of Guadalajara, Mexico, was shot to death at Guadalajara's airport when his car was caught in a shootout between rival drug cartels.

In 2003, residents of Kirkuk in northern Iraq went to the polls in what the U.S. commander of the region called "the beginning of the process of democratization" for the post-war country.

In 2004, U.S. President George W. Bush, facing an electorate disenchanted with the Iraq war and its prisoner-abuse scandals, began a 5-week campaign to explain his policies to voters.

In 2005, a CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll said. 46 percent of U.S. adults approved of the job U.S. President George Bush was doing, a 4 percent drop in three weeks.

Also in 2005, the U.S. House of Representatives approved by a significant margin a bill to provide more funding for embryonic cell research.

A thought for the day: Oscar Wilde wrote, "Arguments are to be avoided; they are always vulgar and often convincing."

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