Today is Wednesday, March 9, the 69th day of 2016 with 297 to follow.
The moon is waxing. Morning stars are Mercury and Venus. Evening stars are Jupiter, Mars, Neptune, Saturn and Uranus.
Those born on this date are under the sign of Pisces. They include explorer Amerigo Vespucci in 1454; Leland Stanford, railroad builder and founder of California's Stanford University, in 1824; English novelist/poet Victoria Sackville-West in 1892; actor Will Geer in 1902; composer Samuel Barber in 1910; detective novelist Mickey Spillane in 1918; actor Joyce Van Patten in 1934 (age 81); Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin, the first man in space, in 1934; actor Marty Ingels in 1936; country singer Mickey Gilley in 1936 (age 80); actor Raul Julia in 1940; rock 'n' roll singer Mark Lindsay in 1942 (age 74); actor Trish Van Devere in 1943 (age 73); former world chess champion Bobby Fischer in 1943; rock musician Robin Trower in 1945 (age 71); actor Linda Fiorentino in 1958 (age 58); actor Juliette Binoche in 1964 (age 52); actor Emmanuel Lewis in 1971 (age 45); Olympic gold medal skier Julia Mancuso in 1984 (age 32); rapper/actor Bow Wow (born Shad Gregory Moss) in 1987 (age 29).
On this date in history:
In 1841, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled, with one dissent, that the African slaves who seized control of the Amistad slave ship had been illegally forced into slavery and thus were free under U.S. law.
In 1862, a battle between ironclad ships -- the Union's Monitor and the Confederate's Merrimac (renamed the Virginia) -- ended indecisively off Hampton Roads, Va.
In 1864, Gen. Ulysses S. Grant was appointed commander in chief of Union forces in the U.S. Civil War.
In 1917, several hundred Mexican guerrillas under the command of Francisco "Pancho" Villa crossed the U.S.-Mexican border and attacked the small border town of Columbus, N.M., killing 17 Americans.
In 1945, more than 300 American B-29 bombers attacked Tokyo with incendiary bombs, killing about 100,000 people and destroying an estimated 250,000 buildings over 16 square miles.
In 1965, "at least 1,000 Negroes led by six Roman Catholic nuns tried to march to the Dallas County courthouse but were halted by a force of city, council and state officers."
In 1992, a federal judge in New York announced a final $1.3 billion agreement to settle civil suits growing out of the 1989 collapse of Drexel Burham Lambert, once the most powerful firm on Wall Street.
In 2005, Dan Rather stepped down as anchor and managing editor of CBS Evening News. His departure followed acknowledgment of major flaws in a broadcast about U.S. President George W. Bush's National Guard service.
In 2011, the archbishop of Philadelphia placed 21 Roman Catholic priests, accused of sexually abusing children, on administrative leave and apologized to his fellow Catholics.
Also in 2011, after 39 flights over 27 years of service, the space shuttle Discovery made its final landing at Kennedy Space Center.
In 2014, William Clay Ford Sr., grandson of Ford Motor Co founder Henry Ford and owner of the Detroit Lions NFL team, died at his suburban Detroit home at the age of 88.
A thought for the day: " Leave the matter of religion to the family ... the church and the private school, supported entirely by private contributions. Keep the church and state forever separate." -- Ulysses S. Grant