Today is Friday, March 13, the 72nd day of 2009 with 293 to follow.
The moon is waning. The morning stars are Mercury, Mars, Neptune, Uranus and Jupiter. The evening stars are Venus and Saturn.
Those born on this date are under the sign of Pisces. They include English chemist Joseph Priestly, the discoverer of oxygen, in 1733; astronomer Percival Lowell in 1855; publisher Walter Annenberg in 1908; bandleader Sammy Kaye in 1910; L. Ron Hubbard, science fiction writer and founder of the Church of Scientology, in 1911; former CIA Director William Casey in 1913; Helen "Callaghan" Candaele Saint Aubin, known as the "Ted Williams of women's baseball," in 1929; singer/songwriter Neil Sedaka in 1939 (age 70); and actors William H. Macy in 1950 (age 59) and Dana Delany in 1956 (age 53).
On this date in history:
In 1781, the planet Uranus was discovered by British astronomer William Herschel.
In 1868, the Republican-dominated U.S. Senate began impeachment proceedings against U.S. President Andrew Johnson, a Democrat and successor to Abraham Lincoln, climaxing a political feud following the Civil War. He was acquitted by one vote.
In 1881, Czar Alexander II, the ruler of Russia since 1855, was killed in a St. Petersburg street by a bomb thrown by a member of the revolutionary "People's Will" group.
In 1887, Chester Greenwood of Maine received a patent for earmuffs.
In 1933, in the depths of the Great Depression, banks throughout the United States began to reopen after a weeklong bank holiday declared by President Franklin Roosevelt in a successful effort to stop runs on bank assets.
In 1943, a plot by German officers to kill Hitler by blowing up his plane failed.
In 1974, the oil-producing Arab countries agreed to lift their five-month embargo on petroleum sales to the United States. The embargo, during which gasoline prices soared 300 percent, was in retaliation for U.S. support of Israel during the October 1973 Middle East War.
In 1989, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration quarantined all fruit imported from Chile after traces of cyanide were found in two Chilean grapes.
In 1990, the Soviet Congress of People's Deputies formally ended the Communist Party's monopoly rule, establishing a presidential system and giving Mikhail Gorbachev broad new powers.
In 1992, more than 400 people were killed when a powerful earthquake hit northeastern Turkey.
In 1994, the president of the independent black homeland of Bophuthatswana was deposed after repeatedly changing his mind about allowing his nation to participate in the upcoming South African elections. South Africa consequently took direct control of the area.
In 1996, a gun collector opened fire on a kindergarten class in Dunblane, Scotland, killing 16 children, their teacher and himself.
Also in 1996, Liggett, the fifth-biggest tobacco company, broke ranks with its rivals and settled a class-action cancer lawsuit.
And in 1996, world leaders -- including U.S. President Bill Clinton, Russia's Boris Yeltsin, King Hussein of Jordan and Palestinian President Yasser Arafat -- met in Cairo to reaffirm the Middle East peace process.
In 1997, a Jordanian soldier killed seven Israeli schoolgirls at the Israeli-Jordanian border.
In 2000, the Tribune Co. and the Times Mirror Co., media giants featuring two of the nation's oldest and largest newspapers (Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times), announced they would merge.
In 2001, the United States banned all imports of animals or animal products from all 15 EU countries to prevent the spread of foot-and-mouth disease.
In 2004, Iran called an indefinite halt to inspections of its nuclear facilities.
Also in 2004, the California Supreme Court ordered an end to same-sex marriages in San Francisco.
In 2005, Pope John Paul II was released from a Rome hospital where he was undergoing treatment for the flu and respiratory problems.
Also in 2005, the Pentagon was reported questioning some $108.4 million in expenditures Halliburton Co. charged the U.S. government for fuel delivery in Iraq.
In 2006, an autopsy indicated former Yugoslav leader Slobodan Milosevic died of a heart attack while on trial at The Hague for war crimes. His son charged Milosevic, 64, was killed.
In 2007, U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales admitted to making mistakes in the firing of eight federal prosecutors and said he accepted responsibility for the debacle. He said however he wouldn't resign.
Also in 2007, Mexican President Felipe Calderon expressed his opposition to the U.S-Mexican border fence the United States was building in an effort to control illegal immigration.
In 2008, in an effort to ease the U.S. credit crisis, the White House announced a plan to require states to tighten rules for mortgage brokers and calls on lenders to make full disclosure of payment terms to buyers.
Also in 2008, the body of Iraqi Archbishop Paulos Faraj Rahho, who led Mosul's Chaldean Catholic Church, was found in Mosul. He had been kidnapped in February.
A thought for the day: William Casey was quoted as saying, "I pass the test that says a man who isn't a socialist at 20 has no heart and a man who is a socialist at 40 has no head."