The almanac

By United Press International
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Today is Saturday, Aug. 23, the 236th day of 2008 with 130 to follow.

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


Those born on this date are under the sign of Virgo. They include poet and novelist Edgar Lee Masters in 1869; Gen. Jonathan Wainwright, hero of Bataan, in World War II, in 1883; humorist Will Cuppy in 1884; cartoonist Ernie Bushmiller (creator of "Nancy") in 1905; dancer/actor/director Gene Kelly in 1912; actresses Vera Miles in 1930 (age 78) and Barbara Eden in 1934 (age 74); political comedian Mark Russell in 1932 (age 76); rock drummer Keith Moon of "The Who" in 1946; actress Shelley Long and singer/actor Rick Springfield both in 1949 (age 59); and pro basketball star Kobe Bryant in 1978 (age 30).

On this date in history:

In 1926, silent screen idol Rudolph Valentino died, sending his fans into hysterical mourning.

In 1927, despite worldwide demonstrations in support of their innocence, Italian-born anarchists Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti were executed for murder.


In 1939, Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union signed a non-aggression pact. Less than two years later, Germany launched a blitzkrieg attack on Russia.

In 1982, Beirut Christian leader Beshir Gemayel was elected president of Lebanon. He was assassinated less than one month later and was succeeded by his brother, Amin.

In 1991, Russian Republic President Boris Yeltsin pressured Soviet President Gorbachev into replacing his Cabinet in the wake of a failed coup.

In 1996, tobacco regulation, recommended by the FDA, was approved by U.S. President Bill Clinton.

In 1999, Berlin once again became the capital of Germany.

In 2003, a former priest who had been in the forefront of the sexual abuse scandal in the Roman Catholic Church was strangled, apparently by a fellow inmate, at a Massachusetts prison.

In 2005, the U.S. Defense Department said it planned to review its investigation into the friendly fire death of soldier and former pro football star Pat Tillman in Afghanistan.

Also in 2005, Venezuela's vice president reacted angrily to comments by U.S. evangelist Pat Robertson who suggested President Hugo Chavez be assassinated.

In 2006, Amnesty International accused Israel of war crimes for allegedly targeting civilians in its fight with Hezbollah forces in Lebanon.


In 2007, flooding in the upper U.S. Midwest drove thousands of people from their homes. Hardest hit were Minnesota, Wisconsin and Ohio. Wildfires meanwhile raged out of control in California, Idaho and Montana.

Also in 2007, military authorities investigated the crash of a U.S. helicopter that apparently malfunctioned and crashed in the northern Iraqi city of Tikrit, killing 14 soldiers aboard.

A thought for the day: Ogden Nash said, "Don't try to rewrite what the moving finger has writ, and don't ever look over your shoulder."

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