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Wednesday, March 31, 2004


Today is Wednesday, March 31st.

The 91st day of 2004.

There are 275 days left in the year.


Today's Highlight in History:

On March 31, 1968, President Johnson stunned the country by announcing he would not seek another term in office.


On this date:

In 1596, French philosopher, scientist, and mathematician, René ("I think, therefore I am") Descartes, sometimes called the father of modern philosophy, was born in La Haye, Touraine (a region and former province of France). He died in 1650.

In 1774, The British Parliament responds to the Boston Tea Party by passing the Boston Port Act, which closes the port of Boston; Americans regard this as the first of the so-called "Intolerable Acts."

In 1831, Quebec and Montreal are incorporated as cities in Canada.

In 1870, Thomas Peterson Mundy of New Jersey becomes the first black man to cast a ballot after the 15th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution gives blacks the right to vote.

In 1880, Wabash, Indiana becomes the first town to have a complete electric street lighting system.

In 1889, French engineer Alexandre Gustave Eiffel unfurled the French tricolor from atop the Eiffel Tower, officially marking its completion.

In 1913, Financier, Industrialist, founder of U.S. Steel Corp., J. P. (John Pierpont) Morgan died at the age of 75.

In 1917, The US purchases Danish West Indies for $25M & renames them Virgin Islands

In 1918, Daylight Saving Time (NOT "Savings" Time) went into effect throughout the United States for the first time. Folks would "spring ahead" an hour allowing for longer early evenings. The time change left enough light for many activities, especially in farming areas. Planting and such could best be done with the sun up an extra hour. Folks would "fall back" an hour to Standard Time in the fall, to save an hour and gain an extra hour of sleep. Supposedly, it was a way to save energy, but many contend that this idea is foolish and that the country should do away with "Standard Time all the time" and keep the sun shining an hour later all year long.

In 1927, American labor leader (United Farm Workers) César Estrada Chávez was born near Yuma, AZ. He died in 1993.

In 1932, The Ford Motor Company publicly unveiled its "V-8" engine.

In 1933, Congress authorized the Civilian Conservation Corps.

In 1940, La Guardia airport in New York officially opened to the public.

In 1943, the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical "Oklahoma!" opened on Broadway.

In 1945, U.S. forces begin landings on the Pacific island of Okinawa.

In 1945, Tennessee Williams' "Glass Menagerie" premieres in New York NY

In 1948, The Soviets in Germany began controlling the Western trains headed toward Berlin.

In 1949, Newfoundland entered confederation as Canada's 10th province.

In 1951, US tanks cross the 38th Parrallel in Korea.

In 1953, Stanley Kubrick's first feature film, a war drama titled "Fear and Desire," premiered in New York.

In 1953, A new federal government department, Health Education and Welfare, is established.

In 1954, The US Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs CO, is established.

In 1959, The Dalai Lama, fleeing Chinese repression of an uprising in Tibet, arrived at the Indian border and was granted political asylum.

In 1963, Los Angeles ends streetcar service after nearly 90 years.

In 1965, the U.S. orders the first commitment of combat troops to Vietnam to protect Danang Air Base.

In 1967, Jimi Hendrix begins his tradition of burning his guitar.

In 1976, The New Jersey Supreme Court sets a precedent, ruling that coma patient Karen Anne Quinlan can be taken off life support so she can "die with dignity."

In 1980, U.S. President Carter deregulated the banking industry.

In 1982, The rock group Doobie Brothers split up.

In 1985, ABC-TV aired the 200th episode of "The Love Boat."

In 1986, 167 people died when a Mexicana Airlines Boeing 727 crashed in a remote mountainous region of Mexico.

In 1987, the State Department ordered home all 28 remaining U.S. Marine guards at the Moscow embassy after two Marines were charged with espionage.

In 1990, Hundreds of people were injured when rioting erupted in London over Britain's so-called "poll tax."

In 1991, the Warsaw Pact spent the last day of its existence as a military alliance.

In 1993, actor Brandon Lee, 28, was accidentally killed during the filming of a movie in Wilmington, N.C., by a prop gun.

In 1995, Mexican-American singer Selena Quintanilla-Perez, 23, was shot to death in Corpus Christi, Texas, by Yolanda Saldivar, the founder of her fan club. (Saldivar was convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison.)

In 1998, For the first time in U.S. history the federal government's detailed financial statement was released. This occurred under the Clinton administration.

Ten years ago (1994):

The PLO and Israel agreed to resume talks on Palestinian autonomy, more than a month after the Hebron mosque massacre.

Five years ago (1999):

Three U.S. Army soldiers were captured by Serb forces near the Yugoslav-Macedonia border. (Staff Sgt. Andrew Ramirez, Staff Sgt. Christopher Stone and Spc. Steven M. Gonzales were released more than a month later.)

Four New York City police officers were charged with murder for killing Amadou Diallo, an unarmed African immigrant, in a hail of bullets (the officers were acquitted in February 2000).

One year ago (2003):

American forces battled Iraqi defenders in fierce street fighting 50 miles south of Baghdad, pointing toward a drive on the capital.

Seven Iraqi women and children were killed at an Army checkpoint when their van refused orders to stop.

U.S. military officials accused Geraldo Rivera of disclosing unauthorized military movements. Rivera had outlined military movements in the dirt while embedded with the 101st Airborne Division in Iraq.

NBC fired Peter Arnett after he gave an unauthorized interview with state-run Iraqi TV. During the interview Arnett said that the American-led war effort had initially failed because of Iraqi resistance.


Today's Birthdays:

Actor William Daniels (Knight Rider's voice of KITT, St. Elsewhere's Dr. Mark Craig) is 77.

Hockey Hall-of-Famer Gordie Howe is 76.

Actor (George) Richard Chamberlain is 70.

Actress Shirley Jones is 70.

Country singer-songwriter John D. Loudermilk is 70.

Musician Herb Alpert is 69.

Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., is 64.

Actor Christopher Walken is 61.

Comedian Gabriel "Gabe" Kaplan is 59.

Former Vice President Al Gore, Jr. is 56.

David Eisenhower is 56.

Actress Rhea Perlman is 56.

Actor, NFL Runningback Ed Marinaro (Hill St. Blues) is 53.

Rock musician Angus Young (AC/DC) is 49.

Actor Marc McClure is 47.

Actor William McNamara is 39.

Actor Ewan McGregor is 33.

Actor Colin Farrell is 28.


Thought for Today:

"It is not enough to have a good mind. The main thing is to use it well." -

- Rene Descartes, French philosopher (1596-1650).


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