The almanac

By United Press International

Today is Thursday, Aug. 30, the 243rd day of 2012 with 123 to follow.

The moon is waxing. Morning stars are Mercury, Venus, Jupiter and Uranus. Evening stars are Neptune, Saturn and Mars.


Those born on this date are under the sign of Virgo. They include English author Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley ("Frankenstein") in 1797; Louisiana Gov. Huey Long in 1893; journalist/author John Gunther and civil rights leader Roy Wilkins, both in 1901; actors Raymond Massey in 1896, Shirley Booth in 1898, Joan Blondell in 1906 and Fred MacMurray in 1908; baseball Hall of Fame member Ted Williams in 1918; country music singer Kitty Wells in 1919; businessman Warren Buffett in 1930 (age 82); singer John Phillips of the Mamas and the Papas in 1935; actor Elizabeth Ashley in 1939 (age 73); French Olympic champion skier Jean-Claude Killy in 1943 (age 69); cartoonist Robert Crumb in 1943; newspaper columnist Molly Ivins in 1944; comedian Lewis Black in 1948 (age 64); basketball Hall of Fame member Robert Parish in 1953 (age 49); actors Peggy Lipton in 1946 (age 66), Timothy Bottoms in 1951 (age 61), Michael Chiklis in 1963 (age 49), Michael Michele in 1966 (age 46) and Cameron Diaz in 1972 (age 40); and tennis player Andy Roddick in 1982 (age 30).


On this date in history:

In 30 B.C., Cleopatra, queen of Egypt and lover of Julius Caesar and Mark Antony, committed suicide following the defeat of her forces by Octavian, the future first emperor of Rome.

In 1780, Gen. Benedict Arnold betrayed the United States when he promised secretly to surrender the fort at West Point to the British army. He fled to England and died in poverty.

In 1941, German forces began the 900-day siege of Leningrad. When it ended, the Russian city lay in ruins and hundreds of thousands of people had died.

In 1967, the nomination of Thurgood Marshall to the U.S. Supreme Court was confirmed. Marshall was the first African-American to sit on the court.

In 1983, Guion Bluford became the first black astronaut in space.

In 1992, at least 15 people were killed and 31 wounded when an artillery shell exploded in a crowded Sarajevo market.

In 1994, the Lockheed and Martin Marietta corporations agreed to a merger that would create the largest U.S. defense contractor.

In 2003, more than 120 people, including prominent Shiite cleric Ayatollah Mohammad Baqir al-Hakim, were killed in a bombing attack on Iraq's Imam Ali Mosque.

In 2004, at least 240 people were arrested during a New York anti-Bush demonstration two days before the National Republican convention.


In 2005, on the day after Hurricane Katrina struck, 80 percent of New Orleans was under water. Electric, water, sewage, communication and transportation systems were out. Three-fourths of all houses were reported damaged or destroyed. Thousands were rescued, many plucked from rooftops and some sought shelter in the Superdome.

In other areas along the Gulf of Mexico, meanwhile, Katrina flattened much of Gulfport and Biloxi, Miss., flooded Mobile, Ala., and heavily damaged smaller towns in between. The death toll report eventually would top 1,800, most of the deaths in New Orleans, with more than $100 billion in damage.

In 2008, an estimated 2 million people from Texas to Alabama fled the Gulf Coast as Hurricane Gustav bore down on the area. The mass evacuation included many residents of New Orleans who had just observed the third anniversary of the Hurricane Katrina onslaught.

Also in 2008, thousands of residents of Mexico City, Tijuana and other cities in Mexico took to the streets to protest an epidemic of drug-related killings and kidnappings and the Mexican government's apparent inability to stop them.

In 2009, the federal government's "cash for clunkers" program, which offered rebates for those who traded in gas-guzzling cars and trucks for newer, more gas-efficient models, convinced American consumers to buy more than 690,000 vehicles.


Also in 2009, with the economy dropping and unemployment rising, Japan's ruling political party for about half a century, the Liberal Democrats, was routed in parliamentary elections by the Democratic Party of Japan.

In 2011, two senior U.S. Justice Department officials charged with overseeing the failed government gun smuggling "sting" operation dubbed "Fast and Furious" were replaced amid bitter congressional criticism of the mission. The plan was to pass thousands of weapons to suspected Mexican gun smugglers and trace them to drug leaders. But hundreds of firearms were lost, some showing up at crime scenes, including the 2010 slaying of a U.S. Border Patrol agent.

A thought for the day: it was Francis Bacon who said, "Revenge is a kind of wild justice, which the more man's nature runs to, the more ought law to weed it out."

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