The almanac

By United Press International  |  May 17, 2008 at 3:30 AM
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Today is Saturday, May 17, the 138th day of 2008 with 228 to follow.

This is Armed Forces Day.

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

Those born on this date are under the sign of Taurus. They include English physician Edward Jenner, developer of the smallpox vaccine, in 1749; English writer Robert Surtees in 1805; Schuyler Wheeler, inventor of the electric fan, in 1860; French composer Erik Satie in 1866; Negro League baseball player James "Cool Papa" Bell in 1903; actress Maureen O'Sullivan in 1911; actor/director Dennis Hopper in 1936 (age 72); actors Bill Paxton in 1955 (age 53) and Bob Saget in 1956 (age 52); and boxer Sugar Ray Leonard in 1956 (age 52).

On this date in history:

In 1792, 24 brokers met in New York City and formed the New York Stock Exchange.

In 1875, Aristides was the winner of the first Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky.

In 1954, in a major civil rights victory, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled unanimously that racial segregation in public schools was unconstitutional.

In 1973, the U.S. Senate Watergate Committee opened hearings into the break-in at Democratic National headquarters in Washington.

In 1987, two Iraqi Exocet missiles hit the frigate USS Stark in the Persian Gulf, killing 37 seamen. Iraq apologized for mistaking the ship's identity and the Stark's top officers were reprimanded and retired.

In 1989, 1 million people demonstrated for democratic reforms in Beijing. The number of students fasting to support the drive reached 3,000.

In 1994, the U.N. Security Council approved sending troops to secure the airport in the civil war-torn African nation of Rwanda.

Also in 1994, a 30-year dictatorship ended in Malawi with the election of a new president in the African nation.

In 1995, a preliminary report by the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Ethics found "substantial credible evidence" that Sen. Bob Packwood, R-Ore., made unwanted sexual advances toward a number of women.

In 1999, Israel's hawkish prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, lost his bid for re-election when Israeli voters elected Ehud Barak, head of the center-left Israel One coalition, to succeed him.

In 2000, prosecutors in Birmingham, Ala., charged two longtime suspects in the deaths of four girls in a church bombing in 1963 that became a watershed event in the civil rights movement. The suspects would be convicted in May 2001.

In 2004, the president of the Iraqi Governing Council, Ezzedine Salim, was assassinated in Baghdad by a suicide bomber.

Also in 2004, Massachusetts became the first state to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

In 2005, Los Angeles voters elected Antonio Villaraigosa as the city's first Hispanic mayor since 1872.

Also in 2005, the White House challenged a leaked high-level British memo that said intelligence was being skewed to support invading Iraq.

In 2006, a $200 billion class action lawsuit accused U.S. telephone companies Verizon, BellSouth and AT&T of allegedly sharing customer calling patterns with the government.

In 2007, Paul Wolfowitz announced his resignation as president of the World Bank. His decision reportedly came after the bank concluded he had violated his contract by arranging a promotion for his girl friend.

Also in 2007, the United States "minority" citizenship topped the 100 million mark, about one-third of the total American population, the U.S. Census Bureau said. Hispanics made up the largest group, edging African Americans 44.3 million to 40.2 million.

A thought for the day: Frank Lloyd Wright said, "The physician can bury his mistakes but the architect can only advise his clients to plant vines."

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