The almanac

By United Press International  |  Feb. 3, 2009 at 3:30 AM
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Today is Tuesday, Feb. 3, the 34th day of 2009 with 331 to follow.

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

Those born on this date are under the sign of Aquarius. They include German composer Felix Mendelssohn in 1809; U.S. journalist Horace Greeley in 1811; Elizabeth Blackwell, the first woman doctor of medicine, in 1821; poet and novelist Gertrude Stein in 1874; artist Norman Rockwell in 1894; author James Michener in 1907; comedians Joey Bishop in 1918 and Shelley Berman in 1926 (age 83); Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback Fran Tarkenton in 1940 (age 69); and actors Blythe Danner in 1943 (age 66), Morgan Fairchild in 1950 (age 59), Nathan Lane in 1956 (age 53), Thomas Calabro in 1959 (age 50) and Maura Tierney ("ER") in 1965 (age 44).

On this date in history:

In 1870, the 15th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was ratified, decreeing that the right to vote shall not be denied on account of race, color or previous condition of servitude.

In 1913, the 16th Amendment, allowing establishment of an income tax, became part of the U.S. Constitution after ratification by Wyoming.

In 1917, the United States broke off diplomatic relations with Germany after a German declaration of unrestricted submarine warfare.

In 1924, Woodrow Wilson, the 28th president of the United States, died in Washington at the age of 67.

In 1959, singers Buddy Holly, J.P. "The Big Bopper" Richardson and Ritchie Valens were killed in a plane crash near Mason City, Iowa.

In 1966, the Soviet Union accomplished the first controlled landing on the moon when the unmanned spacecraft Lunik 9 touched down on the Ocean of Storms.

In 1973, U.S. President Richard Nixon signed into law the Endangered Species Act.

In 1984, a Long Beach, Calif., hospital announced the birth of the world's first baby conceived by embryo transplant.

In 1992, angry rhetoric escalated between the United States and Japan when Japanese Prime Minister Miyazawa accused U.S. workers of lacking a "work ethic."

In 1994, the shuttle Discovery blasted off into space with the first Russian astronaut aboard a U.S. spacecraft.

Also in 1994, U.S. President Bill Clinton announced the United States was lifting its trade embargo against Vietnam.

In 1998, Texas executed Karla Faye Tucker the first female inmate to be put to death by the state in 135 years.

Also in 1998, a U.S. Marine jetfighter, flying low over mountains in Italy, accidentally severed a ski lift cable, sending 20 people in a cable car plunging to their deaths.

In 2003, U.S. President George W. Bush sent lawmakers a $2.23 trillion budget for 2004, including major new tax cuts and a big increase in defense spending, projecting a deficit of $307.4 billion.

In 2004, the discovery of the lethal poison ricin in the mailroom of U.S. Sen. Bill Frist, R-Tenn., the Senate majority leader, forced the closing of three Senate office buildings in Washington.

In 2005, investigators looking into the U.N. oil-for-food program reported finding gross mismanagement.

Also in 2005, more than 50 people died when a train rammed a trailer carrying a wedding party at a railroad crossing in India.

In 2006, almost 200 people were reported dead with another 800 listed as missing after an Egyptian ferry sank in the Red Sea off the coast of Egypt. Authorities said the passengers were mostly workers and vacationers returning from Saudi Arabia.

In 2007, a truck bomb exploded in a Baghdad market killing at least 135 and injuring more than 300.

In 2008, strong earthquakes in the Great Lakes region of Africa, centering in Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo, killed at least 30 people and injured more than 300 others.

Also in 2008, Serbian President Boris Tadic, a pro-Western leader who favors closer ties with the United States, won re-election over a hard-line Radical Party candidate.

A thought for the day: Ralph Waldo Emerson said, "What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us."

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