The almanac

By United Press International
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Today is Sunday, May 15, the 135th day of 2011 with 230 to follow.

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


Those born on this date are under the sign of Taurus. They include author L. Frank Baum ("The Wizard of Oz") in 1856; French chemist Pierre Curie in 1859; author Katherine Anne Porter in 1890; former Chicago Mayor Richard J. Daley in 1902; actors Joseph Cotten in 1905 and James Mason in 1909; country singer Eddy Arnold in 1918; photographer Richard Avedon in 1923; actor Anna Maria Alberghetti in 1936 (age 75); former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright in 1937 (age 74); singers Trini Lopez in 1937 (age 74) and Lainie Kazan in 1940 (age72); musician Brian Eno in 1948 (age 63); Hall of Fame baseball player George Brett and composer Mike Oldfield, both in 1953 (age 58); sports broadcaster Dan Patrick in 1956 (age 55); Hall of Fame football player Emmitt Smith in 1969 (age 42); and actor Chazz Palminteri in 1952 (age 59).


On this date in history:

In 1918, the first regular U.S. air mail service was established between Washington and New York City.

In 1930, Ellen Church became the first airline stewardess, flying on a United Airlines flight from San Francisco to Cheyenne, Wyo.

In 1940, nylon stockings went on sale in U.S. stores for the first time.

In 1941, the jet-propelled Gloster-Whittle E 28/39 aircraft flew over Cranwell, England, in the first successful test of an Allied aircraft using jet propulsion.

In 1962, Mercury astronaut Gordon Cooper was launched into space atop an Atlas rocket and completed 22 orbits.

In 1969, Justice Abe Fortas, under fire for a money deal with jailed financier Louis Wolfson, resigned from the U.S. Supreme Court.

In 1972, Alabama Gov. George Wallace was seriously wounded at a presidential campaign rally in Laurel, Md. Partially paralyzed but still a Southern political power for years, he died in 1998.

In 1988, Soviet forces began their withdrawal from Afghanistan in compliance with the Geneva accords.

In 1990, at an auction, Japanese millionaire Ryoei Saito bid a record $82.5 million for Van Gogh's 1890 "Portrait of Dr. Gachet." Two days later, he spent $78.1 million for Renoir's 1876 "Au Moulin De La Galette," also a record.


In 1991, Edith Cresson, a Socialist and former trade minister, became the first woman prime minister of France.

In 1992, the United States warned Saddam Hussein that allied military forces may "respond" if his troops attempted to repress Kurdish elections in northern Iraq.

In 2002, the White House said that President George W. Bush had received a CIA briefing in August 2001, the month before the terrorist attack on New York and Washington, warning that Osama bin Laden planned to hijack airplanes but nothing was said about possibly crashing them into buildings.

In 2005, Uzbek security forces were reported to have sealed off the center of Andijan where as many as 450 people were killed during anti-government protests.

In 2006, the U.S. State Department said it would restore diplomatic relations with Libya for the first time since 1980 and remove the country from its terrorism sponsors list.

In 2008, California joined Massachusetts as the only states in the union to legalize same-sex marriage. The California Supreme Court said the state constitution guaranteed marriage as a "basic civil right."

In 2009, two of the "Big 3" U.S. automakers, bankrupt Chrysler and almost-bankrupt General Motors, sent notices terminating relationships with nearly 2,000 car dealers.


Also in 2009, U.S. President Barack Obama chose Dr. Thomas Frieden, the New York City health commissioner, to be director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In 2010, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency gave British oil giant BP the go-ahead to use chemicals in an effort to break up the massive 26-day off-shore crude oil leak spewing an estimated 70,000 barrels a day into the Gulf of Mexico.

A thought for the day: Samuel Butler said, "The great pleasure of a dog is that you may make a fool of yourself with him and not only will he not scold you but he will make a fool of himself, too."

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