Today is Friday, March 4, the 63rd day of 2011. There are 302 days left in the year.
Today's Highlights in History:
On March 4, 1861, Abraham Lincoln was inaugurated as the 16th president of the United States. The U.S. Government Printing Office began operation. The Confederate States of America adopted as its flag the original version of the Stars and Bars (not to be confused with the more familiar Confederate Battle Flag).
On this date:
In 1789, the Constitution of the United States went into effect as the first Federal Congress met in New York. (The lawmakers then adjourned for lack of a quorum.)
In 1791, Vermont became the 14th state.
In 1811, the first Bank of the United States ceased operations as its charter expired.
In 1858, Sen. James Henry Hammond of South Carolina declared "Cotton is king" in a speech to the U.S. Senate.
In 1908, a fire at Lake View School in Collinwood, Ohio, claimed the lives of 172 children and three adults.
In 1930, Coolidge Dam in Arizona was dedicated by its namesake, former President Calvin Coolidge.
In 1940, Kings Canyon National Park in California was established.
In 1960, an explosives-laden French freighter, La Coubre, exploded in Havana's harbor, killing at least 75 people.
In 1977, some 1,500 people were killed in an earthquake that shook southern and eastern Europe.
In 1981, a jury in Salt Lake City convicted Joseph Paul Franklin, an avowed racist, of violating the civil rights of two black men who'd been shot to death.
Ten years ago: President George W. Bush dedicated a $4 billion aircraft carrier in honor of former President Ronald Reagan. An oceanside memorial was held in Hawaii for 35 people who died in the accidental sinking of a Japanese fishing boat by a U.S. submarine. Perennial presidential candidate Harold E. Stassen died in Bloomington, Minn., at age 93. Singer Glenn Hughes, the "biker" character in the disco band the Village People, died in New York at age 50.
Five years ago: President George W. Bush, visiting Islamabad, praised Pakistan's fight against terrorism as unfaltering, but turned down an appeal for the same civilian nuclear help the United States intended to give India.
One year ago: A Hollister, Calif., man with a history of severe psychiatric problems opened fire at a Pentagon security checkpoint; John Patrick Bedell, 36, wounded two police officers before being killed by police. Two Germans and two Turkish men were convicted in Duesseldorf over a foiled 2007 plot to attack U.S. targets in Germany and given prison sentences ranging up to 12 years. Turkey, a key Muslim ally of the United States, angrily withdrew its ambassador after a congressional committee approved a resolution branding the World War I killing of Armenians a genocide. (The measure, however, was never taken up by the 111th Congress.)
Today's Birthdays: Actress Paula Prentiss is 73. Movie director Adrian Lyne is 70. Singer Bobby Womack is 67. Rock musician Chris Squire (Yes) is 63. Singer Shakin' Stevens is 63. Author James Ellroy is 63. Texas Gov. Rick Perry is 61. Singer Chris Rea is 60. Actor Ronn Moss is 59. Actress Kay Lenz is 58. Musician Emilio Estefan is 58. Movie director Scott Hicks is 58. Actress Catherine O'Hara is 57. Actor Mykelti (MY'-kul-tee) Williamson is 54. Actress Patricia Heaton is 53. Actor Steven Weber is 50. Rock musician Jason Newsted is 48. Actress Stacy Edwards is 46. Rapper Grand Puba is 45. Rock musician Patrick Hannan (The Sundays) is 45. Rock singer Evan Dando (Lemonheads) is 44. Actress Patsy Kensit is 43. Gay rights activist Chaz Bono is 42. Actor Nick Stabile (stah-BEEL') is 41. Rock musician Fergal Lawler (The Cranberries) is 40. Country singer Jason Sellers is 40. Jazz musician Jason Marsalis is 34. TV personality Whitney Port is 26. Actress Andrea Bowen ("Desperate Housewives") is 21. Actress Jenna Boyd is 18.
Thought for Today: "I do not understand the world, but I watch its progress." _ Katherine Anne Porter, American author (1894-1980).
(Above Advance for Use Friday, March 4)
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