The almanac

By United Press International

Today is Saturday, March 28, the 87th day of 2009 with 278 to follow.

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


Those born on this date are under the sign of Aries. They include Russian author Maxim Gorky in 1868; brewers Frederick Pabst in 1836 and August Anheuser Busch Jr. in 1899; famed Hollywood agent Irving "Swifty" Lazar in 1907; Edmund Muskie, the 1968 Democratic Party vice presidential candidate, in 1914; child star Freddie Bartholomew in 1924; Zbigniew Brzezinski, Carter administration national security adviser, in 1928 (age 81); actors Dirk Bogarde in 1921, Conchata Ferrell in 1943 (age 66), Ken Howard in 1944 (age 65) and Dianne Wiest in 1948 (age 61); and country singer Reba McEntire in 1955 (age 54).

On this date in history:

In 1797, Nathaniel Briggs was awarded a patent for the first washing machine.

In 1881, P.T. Barnum and James A. Bailey merged their circuses to form "The Greatest Show on Earth."

In 1939, Madrid surrendered to the nationalist forces of Generalissimo Francisco Franco in the Spanish Civil War.


In 1968, the counterculture musical "Hair" opened on Broadway.

In 1969, Dwight D. Eisenhower, World War II hero and 34th president of the United States, died in Washington at age 78.

In 1979, a failure in the cooling system at the nuclear power plant on Three Mile Island in Pennsylvania caused a near meltdown. It was the worst accident at a U.S. civilian nuclear facility.

In 1991, just days before the 10th anniversary of the attempt on his life, former U.S. President Ronald Reagan endorsed a seven-day waiting period for handgun purchases, reversing his earlier opposition.

In 1993, Russian President Boris Yeltsin survived an impeachment vote by the Congress of People's Deputies.

Also in 1993, French voters rejected the ruling Socialists and gave the conservative alliance a crushing majority in legislative elections.

In 1994, pre-election clashes between Zulu nationalists, the ANC and police claimed 53 lives in Johannesburg, South Africa.

In 1996, the U.S. Congress approved the presidential line-item veto.

In 1997, an Italian warship collided with an Albanian ship crowded with refugees, causing an undetermined number of deaths.

In 2002, the U.S. Justice Department said it would seek the death penalty against Zacarias Moussaoui, the only person charged at the time as a co-conspirator in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.


In 2004, more than 40 people were reported killed in a series of bombings and gun battles in the central Asian nation of Uzbekistan.

In 2005, a massive earthquake jolted the western coast of Sumatra reportedly killing as many as 3,000 people and destroying hundreds of buildings.

In 2006, the U.S. Senate voted to prohibit lobbyists from giving lawmakers gifts and meals.

Also on this date, powerful lobbyist Jack Abramoff, with ties to several members of Congress, drew a six-year prison sentence for fraud in Florida.

Also in 2006, the French Constitutional Council validated a hotly contested youth labor law despite a general strike that ground public life to a near halt and about 100 protests in Paris and across the nation.

In 2007, in a speech to members of the Arab League meeting in Saudi Arabia, Saudi King Abdullah called the U.S. occupation of Iraq illegal.

In 2008, North Korea fired short-range missiles off its western coast, a move the United States said wasn't illegal but a diversion from the work the nation needs to do to finish a complete declaration of its nuclear program.

Also in 2008, several European countries, including Germany, indicated they might boycott the opening ceremonies of the Beijing summer Olympics in August because of the Tibet crackdown.


A thought for the day: Seneca wrote, "What difference does it make how much you have? What you do not have amounts to much more."

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