The almanac

By United Press International
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This is Saturday, Feb. 7, the 38th day of 2009 with 327 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 English statesman and writer Sir Thomas More in 1478; farm equipment manufacturer John Deere in 1804; English novelist Charles Dickens in 1812; "Little House" books author Laura Ingalls Wilder in 1867; ragtime composer and pianist Eubie Blake in 1883; novelist Sinclair Lewis in 1885; actor and Olympic swimming gold medalist Buster Crabbe ("Flash Gordon") in 1908; actors Miguel Ferrer in 1955 (age 54) and James Spader in 1960 (age 49); country singer Garth Brooks in 1962 (age 47); and comedian Chris Rock in 1966 (age 43).

On this date in history:

In 1904, a massive fire, possibly started by a discarded cigarette, struck Baltimore, burning for 31 hours and destroying an 80-block downtown area. Miraculously no lives or homes were lost.


In 1915, D.W. Griffith's "Birth Of A Nation," a landmark in the history of cinema and the first American full-length motion picture, opened in Los Angeles and was immediately a smash hit though many found its treatment of race offensive.

In 1940, British railroads were nationalized.

In 1956, Autherine Lucy, the first black person admitted to the University of Alabama, was expelled after she accused school officials of conspiring in the riots that accompanied her court-ordered enrollment.

In 1964, the Beatles arrived in the United States for the first time and immediately set off a frantic wave of "Beatlemania."

In 1973, the U.S. Senate voted to set up a committee to investigate the break-in at the Democratic National Headquarters in Washington's Watergate complex.

In 1984, two U.S. shuttle astronauts made the first untethered space walk.

In 1986, both Ferdinand Marcos and challenger Corazon Aquino claimed victory in the Philippine presidential election.

Also in 1986, Haiti's President for Life Jean-Claude Duvalier fled to France.

In 1989, a U.S. State Department report on international human rights accused Israel of mishandling the Palestinian uprising in the occupied territories.

In 1991, Jean-Bertrand Aristide was inaugurated as Haiti's first democratically elected president in 186 years.


In 1993, another 13 women accused U.S. Sen. Bob Packwood of improper advances, bringing the total to 23 women who have said the Oregon Republican harassed them with unwelcome sexual overtures.

In 1995, the alleged "mastermind" in the 1993 bombing of New York's World Trade Center, Ramzi Ahmed Yousef, was arrested in Pakistan. He was extradited the next day.

In 1998, the Winter Olympics opened in Nagano, Japan.

In 1999, King Hussein of Jordan died following a battle with cancer. He was 63. Hussein had ruled Jordan for 46 years.

In 2003, Colombian rebels were blamed for a bomb explosion at a Bogota social club that killed more than 30 people and injured many others.

In 2005, rescuers reported no survivors among the 104 people aboard an Afghan airliner that crashed in the mountains near Kabul. It was Afghanistan's worst air disaster.

In 2006, some 2,000 California residents were forced to flee a major brush fire raging through an area near Anaheim.

In 2007, the U.S. military confirmed a twin-rotor Sea Knight transport helicopter crashed northwest of Baghdad, the fifth in 18 days. Seven died in the latest crash.

In 2008, the U.S. Congress gave final approval to a $168 billion stimulus package for taxpayers in an effort to rekindle the flickering American economy. Rebates of $300-$600 went to individuals earning up to $75,000 and to couples with incomes up to $150,000, plus extra money for children.


Also in 2008, Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton said she lent her campaign $5 million before Super Tuesday "to be competitive." Further, some senior members of Clinton's campaign staff reportedly agreed to go without pay for a month.

A thought for the day: Victor Hugo wrote, "An invasion of armies can be resisted, but not an idea whose time has come."

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