Today is Wednesday, April 15, the 105th day of 2009 with 260 to follow.
The moon is waning. The morning stars are Mars, Venus, Jupiter, Uranus and Neptune. The evening stars are Mercury and Saturn.
Those born on this date are under the sign of Aries. They include Italian painter and inventor Leonardo da Vinci in 1452; British polar explorer James Clark Ross in 1800; author Henry James in 1843; painter Thomas Hart Benton in 1889; actress Marian Jordan, who played "Molly" in the long-running "Fibber McGee and Molly" radio show, in 1897; Harold Washington, the first black mayor of Chicago, in 1922; country singer Roy Clark in 1933 (age 76); actresses Elizabeth Montgomery in 1933, Claudia Cardinale in 1938 (age 71) and Amy Wright in 1950 (age 59); newspaper columnist Heloise Cruse Evans ("Hints from Heloise") in 1951 (age 58); and actress Emma Thompson in 1959 (age 50).
On this date in history:
In 1817, the first U.S. public school for the deaf, Connecticut Asylum for the Education and Instruction of Deaf and Dumb Persons (now the American School for the Deaf), was founded at Hartford, Conn.
In 1861, U.S. President Abraham Lincoln sent Congress a message recognizing a state of war with the Southern states and calling for 75,000 volunteer soldiers.
In 1865, U.S. President Abraham Lincoln died of an assassin's bullet. Vice President Andrew Johnson was sworn in as chief executive.
In 1912, the luxury liner "Titanic" sank in the northern Atlantic Ocean off Newfoundland after striking an iceberg the night before. Some 1,500 lives were lost.
In 1955, the first franchised McDonald's was opened in Des Plaines, Ill., by Ray Kroc, who got the idea from a hamburger restaurant in San Bernardino, Calif., run by the McDonald brothers.
In 1985, U.S. officials in Seattle indicted 23 members of a neo-Nazi group for robbery and murder. Ten gang members were convicted and sentenced to 40 to 100 years in prison.
In 1991, the European Community lifted its remaining economic sanctions against South Africa, allowing the import of gold coins, iron and steel -- despite pleas by the African National Congress to continue the sanctions.
In 1998, Pol Pot, the Khmer Rouge leader who presided over a reign of terror in Cambodia in the late 1970s, died at a jungle outpost near the Cambodian-Thailand border.
In 1999, astronomers announced they had discovered evidence of a planetary system in the constellation Andromeda. At the time it was the only known such system other than the one around the sun.
In 2003, more than 100 Iraqis protested in Baghdad against what they called the U.S. military occupation, shouting "Death to America ... Death to Bush."
In 2004, the U.S. Department of Defense announced it was extending the tours of duty of some 21,000 U.S. troops in Iraq, going back on a promise made last year to keep deployments to 12 months.
In 2007, Iran announced it was accepting bids for a contract to build two nuclear power plants in the southern city of Bushehr.
Also in 2007, a group of retired U.S. military generals warned that global warming could destabilize vulnerable states in Africa and Asia.
In 2008, on his first papal visit to the United States, Pope Benedict XVI met with U.S. President George Bush, addressed the U.N., conducted masses at the new Washington Nationals baseball park and Yankee Stadium and celebrated his 81st birthday among a heavy schedule and apologized for the scandal that grew from alleged child abuse by priests.
Also in 2008, 63 people died in two suicide bombings in Baqubas and Ramadi, two former Sunni strongholds in Iraq.
A thought for the day: "The reason that there are so few good books written is that so few people who write know anything." Walter Bagehot said that.