Wednesday, February 17, 2010

This day in history

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[February 17, 2010]  (AP)  Today is Ash Wednesday, Feb. 17, the 48th day of 2010. There are 317 days left in the year.

HardwareToday's highlight in history:

On Feb. 17, 1897, the forerunner of the National PTA, the National Congress of Mothers, convened its first meeting, in Washington.

On this date:

In 1801, the U.S. House of Representatives broke an electoral tie between Thomas Jefferson and Aaron Burr, electing Jefferson president; Burr became vice president.

In 1809, the Ohio legislature voted to establish Miami University in present-day Oxford. (The school opened in 1824.)

In 1864, during the Civil War, the Union ship USS Housatonic was rammed and sunk in Charleston Harbor, S.C., by the Confederate hand-cranked submarine HL Hunley, which also sank.

In 1865, Columbia, S.C., burned as the Confederates evacuated and Union forces moved in. (It's not clear which side set the blaze.)

In 1904, the original two-act version of Giacomo Puccini's opera "Madama Butterfly" was poorly received at its premiere at La Scala in Milan, Italy.

In 1909, Chiricahua (chi-rih-KAH'-wuh) Apache leader Geronimo (also known as Goyathlay, "One Who Yawns") died at Fort Sill, Okla., at age 79.

In 1947, the Voice of America began broadcasting to the Soviet Union.

In 1959, the United States launched Vanguard 2, a satellite which carried meteorological equipment on board.

In 1964, the Supreme Court, in Wesberry v. Sanders, ruled that congressional districts within each state had to be roughly equal in population.

In 1972, President Richard M. Nixon departed on his historic trip to China.

Ten years ago: A House panel said in a report that the program to inoculate all 2.4 million American military personnel against anthrax was based on "a paucity of science" and should be suspended; the Pentagon defended the program and vowed to continue the inoculations.

Five years ago: President George W. Bush named John Negroponte (neh-groh-PAHN'-tee), the U.S. ambassador to Iraq, as the government's first national intelligence director. Iraq's electoral commission certified the results of the Jan. 30 elections and allocated 140 of 275 National Assembly seats to the United Iraqi Alliance, giving the Shiite-dominated party a majority in the new parliament. Actor Dan O'Herlihy died in Malibu, Calif., at age 85.

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One year ago: President Barack Obama signed a mammoth, $787 billion economic stimulus package into law in Denver; he also approved adding some 17,000 U.S. troops for the war in Afghanistan.

Today's birthdays: Bandleader Orrin Tucker is 99. Actor Hal Holbrook is 85. Mystery writer Ruth Rendell is 80. Singer Bobby Lewis is 77. Comedian Dame Edna (AKA Barry Humphries) is 76. Country singer-songwriter Johnny Bush is 75. Football Hall-of-Famer Jim Brown is 74. Actress Mary Ann Mobley is 71. Actress Brenda Fricker is 65. Actress Rene Russo is 56. Actor Richard Karn is 54. Actor Lou Diamond Phillips is 48. Basketball Hall of Famer Michael Jordan is 47. Actor-comedian Larry, the Cable Guy is 47. TV personality Rene Syler is 47. Movie director Michael Bay is 45. Singer Chante Moore is 43. Rock musician Timothy J. Mahoney (311) is 40. Actor Dominic Purcell is 40. Olympic gold medal skier Tommy Moe is 40. Actress Denise Richards is 39. Rock singer-musician Billie Joe Armstrong (Green Day) is 38. Actor Jerry O'Connell is 36. Country singer Bryan White is 36. Actress Kelly Carlson is 34. Actor Jason Ritter is 30. TV personality Paris Hilton is 29. Actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt is 29. Actress Meaghan Jette Martin is 18.

Thought for today: "Life resembles a novel more often than novels resemble life." -- George Sand, French author (1804-1876)

[Associated Press]

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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