The Almanac, Celebrity Birthdays, Today in History, March 28 –

Today is Wednesday, March 28, the 88th day of 2012 with 278 to follow.

The moon is waxing. The morning stars are Neptune, Mercury, Uranus and Saturn. The evening stars are Mars, Jupiter and Venus.

Those born on this date are under the sign of Aries. They include Roman Catholic St. Teresa of Avila in 1515; Nobel Peace Prize laureate Aristide Briand; Russian author Maxim Gorky in 1868; brewers Frederick Pabst in 1836 and August Anheuser Busch Jr. in 1899; naturalist Marlin Perkins in 1905; famed Hollywood agent Irving “Swifty” Lazar in 1907; Edmund Muskie, the 1968 Democratic Party vice presidential candidate, in 1914; child star Freddie Bartholomew in 1924; Zbigniew Brzezinski, Carter administration national security adviser, in 1928 (age 84); basketball Hall of Fame member Rick Barry in 1944 (age 68); actors Dirk Bogarde in 1921, Conchata Ferrell in 1943 (age 69), Ken Howard in 1944 (age 68), Dianne Wiest in 1948 (age 64), Vince Vaughn in 1970 (age 42) and Julia Stiles in 1981 (age 31); country singer/actor Reba McEntire in 1955 (age 57); television personality Kate Gosselin in 1975 (age 37); and singer Lady Gaga in 1986 (age 26).

On this date in history:

In 1797, Nathaniel Briggs was awarded a patent for the washing machine.

In 1881, P.T. Barnum and James A. Bailey merged their circuses to form “The Greatest Show on Earth.”

In 1939, Madrid surrendered to the nationalist forces of Generalissimo Francisco Franco in the Spanish Civil War.

In 1968, the counterculture musical “Hair” opened on Broadway.

In 1969, Dwight D. Eisenhower, World War II hero and 34th president of the United States, died in Washington at age 78.

In 1979, a failure in the cooling system at the nuclear power plant on Three Mile Island in Pennsylvania caused a near meltdown. It was the worst accident at a U.S. civilian nuclear facility.

In 1991, just days before the 10th anniversary of the attempt on his life, former U.S. President Ronald Reagan endorsed a seven-day waiting period for handgun purchases, reversing his earlier opposition.

In 1993, Russian President Boris Yeltsin survived an impeachment vote by the Congress of People’s Deputies.

Also in 1993, French voters rejected the ruling Socialists and gave the conservative alliance a crushing majority in legislative elections.

In 1994, pre-election clashes between Zulu nationalists, the ANC and police claimed 53 lives in Johannesburg, South Africa.

In 1996, the U.S. Congress approved the presidential line-item veto.

In 2004, more than 40 people were reported killed in a series of bombings and gun battles in Uzbekistan.

In 2005, a massive earthquake jolted the western coast of Sumatra reportedly killing as many as 3,000 people and destroying hundreds of buildings.

In 2006, the U.S. Senate voted to prohibit lobbyists from giving lawmakers gifts and meals.

Also on this date, lobbyist Jack Abramoff, with ties to several members of Congress, was given a six-year prison sentence for fraud in Florida.

And, the French Constitutional Council validated a hotly contested youth labor law despite a general strike that ground public life to a near halt and led to protests in Paris and across the nation.

In 2007, in a speech to members of the Arab League meeting in Saudi Arabia, Saudi King Abdallah called the U.S. occupation of Iraq illegal.

In 2008, North Korea fired short-range missiles off its western coast, a move the United States said wasn’t illegal but a diversion from the work the nation needs to do to finish a complete declaration of its nuclear program.

In 2009, the space shuttle Discovery landed at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida after a 13-day mission to the International Space Station during which the ISS was brought up to full power with the installation of its fourth set of solar wings.

In 2010, U.S. President Barack Obama visited Afghanistan for the first time since taking office, a six-hour, unannounced trip to meet with Afghan President Hamid Karzai and address American troops.

In 2011, U.S. President Barack Obama said the United States and its allies had intervened to halt Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi‘s “brutal repression” but wouldn’t attempt to overthrow him by force.

Also in 2011, at least 110 people were killed in an explosion at a southern Yemen weapons factory reportedly while area residents were stealing ammunition. The plant had been attacked and looted the day before by al-Qaida.

A thought for the day: Seneca wrote: “What difference does it make how much you have? What you do not have amounts to much more.”

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