The Almanac

July 21, 2007 at 3:30 AM
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Today is Saturday, July 21, the 202nd day of 2007 with 163 to follow.

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

Those born on this date are under the sign of Cancer. They include composer Chauncey Olcott ("When Irish Eyes Are Smiling") in 1860; author Ernest Hemingway and poet Hart Crane, both in 1899; Canadian communications theorist Marshall McLuhan in 1911; violinist Isaac Stern in 1920; singer Kay Starr in 1922 (age 85); producer Norman Jewison in 1926 (age 81); actor/comedians Don Knotts in 1924 and Robin Williams in 1952 (age 55); former U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno in 1938 (age 69); actor Edward Herrmann in 1943 (age 64); former singer Cat Stevens, known as Yusef Islam, in 1948 (age 59); cartoonist Garry Trudeau ("Doonesbury") in 1949 (age 58); and actor Jon Lovitz in 1957 (age 50).

On this date in history:

1861, the first major military engagement of the Civil War occurred at Bull Run Creek, Va.

In 1873, outlaw Jesse James held up the Rock Island express train at Adair, Iowa, and escaped with $3,000.

In 1925, the so-called Monkey Trial in Dayton, Tenn., which pitted Clarence Darrow against William Jennings Bryan in one of the great confrontations in legal history, ended with John Thomas Scopes convicted of teaching evolution in violation of state law. He was fined $100.

In 1969, astronauts Neil Armstrong and Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin lifted off from the surface of the moon.

In 1970, after 11 years of construction, the massive billion-dollar Aswan High Dam across the Nile River in Egypt was completed, ending the cycle of flood and drought in the Nile River region but triggering an environmental controversy.

In 1991, Jordan joined Syria, Lebanon, Egypt and Saudi Arabia in agreeing to regional peace talks.

In 1992, a judge in Pontiac, Mich., dismissed murder charges against euthanasia advocate Jack "Dr. Death" Kevorkian.

In 2000, a report from special counsel John Danforth cleared U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno and the government of wrongdoing in the April 19, 1993, fire that ended the Branch Davidian siege near Waco, Texas.

In 2002, WorldCom displaced Enron as the largest U.S. company to declare bankruptcy.

In 2003, physicians at Vienna General Hospital in Austria say they performed the world's first successful tongue transplant on a human, a 42-year-old man.

Also in 2003, Canadian authorities expanded their search for the remains of 63 Vancouver women missing for 20 years. Pig farmer Robert Pickton was charged with killing 26 women, most of whom were drug-addicted prostitutes.

In 2004, the Sept. 11 commission said it had found that the Clinton and Bush administrations had missed as many as 10 opportunities to thwart terror attacks.

In 2005, a second suicide bombing attack on London within two weeks misfired when the bombs, again in three subway cars and a bus, failed to detonate.

Also in 2005, the Algerian foreign ministry said its top diplomat has been kidnapped in Baghdad.

In 2006, medication errors harm 1.5 million people and kill several thousand annually in the United States, a new study by the Institute of Medicine said. Additionally such errors were said to cost the nation at least $3.5 billion a year.

A thought for the day: Honore de Balzac called bureaucracy "the gigantic power set in motion by fools."

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