The Almanac, Celebrity Birthdays, Today in History, May 14 –

Today is Monday, May 14, the 135th day of 2012 with 231 to follow.

The moon is waning. Morning stars are Jupiter, Neptune, Mercury and Uranus. Evening stars are Saturn, Mars and Venus.

Those born on this date are under the sign of Taurus. They include English portrait painter Thomas Gainsborough in 1727; Scottish reformer Robert Owen in 1771; Hall of Fame baseball players Ed Walsh in 1881 and Earle Combs in 1899; German composer Otto Klemperer in 1885; actor Richard Deacon in 1921; opera coloratura soprano Patrice Munsel in 1925 (age 87); Hall of Fame hockey player Gump Worsley in 1929; singer Bobby Darin in 1936; Hall of Fame baseball player Tony Perez in 1942 (age 70); filmmakers George Lucas in 1944 (age 68) and Robert Zemeckis in 1952 (age 60); musician David Byrne in 1952 (age 60); Irish writer Eoin Colfer in 1965 (age 47); and actors Tim Roth in 1961 (age 51) and Cate Blanchett in 1969 (age 43).

On this date in history:

In 1643, King Louis XIV, who would be known as “The Sun King,” became ruler of France at the age of 4.

In 1796, Dr. Edward Jenner, a rural England physician, tested his smallpox vaccine on a healthy 8-year-old boy.

In 1804, one year after the United States doubled its territory with the Louisiana Purchase, the Lewis and Clark expedition left St. Louis on a mission to explore the Northwest from the Mississippi River to the Pacific Ocean.

In 1904, the Olympic Games were conducted in the United States for the first time, in St. Louis.

In 1942, the U.S. Congress established the Women’s Auxiliary Army Corps for World War II duty.

In 1948, Jewish Agency Chairman David Ben-Gurion proclaimed the State of Israel, establishing the first Jewish state in 2,000 years.

In 1973, the United States launched Skylab, its first manned orbiting laboratory.

In 1988, a church bus was hit by a pickup truck going the wrong way on a road near Carrollton, Ky., killing 27 bus passengers, mostly teenagers.

In 1991, U.S. President George H.W. Bush nominated Robert M. Gates for director of the CIA, a position he was denied four years earlier due to the Iran-Contra investigation.

In 1992, Lyle Alzado, NFL lineman-turned-actor/businessman, died of brain cancer, which he had blamed on steroid abuse. He was 43.

In 1998, entertainment legend Frank Sinatra died after suffering a heart attack. He was 82.

In 2000, hundreds of thousands of mothers and other gun-control advocates took part in the “Million Mom March” in Washington and several other cities, demanding “sensible” gun laws and mourning the loss of children to gun violence.

In 2002, three gunmen killed 34 people in Jammu, capital of India’s disputed state of Kashmir.

In 2003, sheriff’s deputies in Victoria, Texas, found as many as 100 people stuffed into a truck operated by smugglers of illegal aliens. Nineteen had died of the heat.

Also in 2003, the second bombing in two days in Chechnya killed 16 people.

In 2004, U.S. authorities released 315 Iraqi prisoners from Baghdad’s Abu Ghraib prison amid the investigation into alleged prisoner abuse by U.S. soldiers.

Also in 2004, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to block same-sex marriages in Massachusetts, making it the only state at the time to allow the practice.

In 2007, plans were announced to return the Chrysler auto maker to U.S. ownership. The German company DaimlerChrysler said it would sell 80.1 percent of its Chrysler division to a U.S. private equity firm for $7.4 billion.

In 2008, the U.S. House of Representatives approved a five-year, $307 billion farm bill increasing subsidies to farmers and expanding nutrition programs such as food stamps despite a threatened presidential veto.

Also in 2008, the polar bear was chosen for the endangered species list by the U.S. Commerce Department because of shrinkage in its sea ice habitat blamed on global climate change.

In 2009, a Gallup poll indicated that, for the first time since the survey initially asked the abortion question in 1995, a majority of Americans (51 percent) described themselves as “pro-life” rather than “pro-choice” (42 percent).

In 2010, two suicide bombers, one in a car and the other on foot, blew themselves up at an Iraqi soccer stadium as a match was beginning. Officials said at least 25 people were killed and 100 others were hurt.

In 2011, the managing director of the International Monetary Fund, French politician Dominique Strauss-Kahn, 62, was arrested for an alleged sexual attack on a New York hotel housekeeper. He resigned four days later.

A thought for the day: William Hazlitt said, “Spleen can subsist on any kind of food.”

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