Today is Thursday, Feb. 23, the 54th day of 2012. There are 312 days left in the year.
Today's Highlight in History:
On Feb. 23, 1942, the first shelling of the U.S. mainland during World War II occurred as a Japanese submarine fired on an oil refinery near Santa Barbara, Calif., causing little damage.
On this date:
In 1685, composer George Frideric Handel was born in Germany.
In 1836, the siege of the Alamo began in San Antonio, Texas.
In 1848, the sixth president of the United States, John Quincy Adams, died in Washington, D.C., at age 80.
In 1861, President-elect Abraham Lincoln arrived secretly in Washington to take office, following word of a possible assassination plot in Baltimore.
In 1870, Mississippi was readmitted to the Union.
In 1927, President Calvin Coolidge signed a bill creating the Federal Radio Commission, forerunner of the Federal Communications Commission.
In 1945, during World War II, U.S. Marines on Iwo Jima captured Mount Suribachi.
In 1954, the first mass inoculation of children against polio with the Salk vaccine began in Pittsburgh.
In 1965, film comedian Stan Laurel, 74, died in Santa Monica, Calif.
In 1970, Guyana became a republic within the Commonwealth of Nations.
In 1981, an attempted coup began in Spain as 200 members of the Civil Guard invaded Parliament, taking lawmakers hostage. (However, the attempt collapsed 18 hours later.)
In 1992, the XVI Winter Olympic Games ended in Albertville, France.
Ten years ago: Colombian presidential candidate Ingrid Betancourt was kidnapped by a rebel group, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia. (She was rescued along with 14 other hostages in July 2008.) Penn State pole vaulter Kevin Dare, 19, died after landing on his head during the Big Ten indoor championships in Minneapolis.
Five years ago: A Mississippi grand jury refused to bring any new charges in the 1955 slaying of Emmett Till, a black teenager who was beaten and shot after whistling at a white woman, declining to indict the woman, Carolyn Bryant Donham, for manslaughter. Democrat Tom Vilsack abandoned his bid for the presidency. Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport became the first in the United States to begin testing new X-ray screening technology that could see through people's clothes. Forty-six countries attending a conference in Oslo, Norway, agreed to push for a global treaty banning cluster bombs.
One year ago: In a major policy reversal, the Obama administration said it would no longer defend the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act, a federal law banning recognition of same-sex marriage.
Today's Birthdays: Actor Peter Fonda is 72. Pro and College Football Hall of Famer Fred Biletnikoff is 69. Author John Sandford is 68. Singer-musician Johnny Winter is 68. Country-rock musician Rusty Young is 66. Actress Patricia Richardson is 61. Rock musician Brad Whitford (Aerosmith) is 60. Singer Howard Jones is 57. Rock musician Michael Wilton (Queensryche) is 50. Country singer Dusty Drake is 48. Actress Kristin Davis is 47. Tennis player Helena Sukova is 47. Actor Marc Price is 44. Actress Niecy Nash is 42. Rock musician Jeff Beres (Sister Hazel) is 41. Country singer Steve Holy is 40. Rock musician Lasse (loss) Johansson (The Cardigans) is 39. Actress Kelly Macdonald is 36. Actress Emily Blunt is 29. Actor Aziz Ansari is 29. Actress Dakota Fanning is 18.
Thought for Today: "Men are more often bribed by their loyalties and ambitions than by money." _ Robert H. Jackson, U.S. Supreme Court Justice (1892-1954).
(Above Advance for Use Thursday, Feb. 23)
Copyright 2012, The Associated Press. All rights reserved.