updated 8/2/2006 12:00:57 AM ET 2006-08-02T04:00:57

Today is Wednesday, August second, the 214th day of 2006. There are 151 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History
On August second, 1776, members of the Continental Congress began attaching their signatures to the Declaration of Independence.

On this date
In 1790, the enumeration for the first United States census began; the final total was 3,929,214.

In 1873, inventor Andrew S. Hallidie successfully tested a cable car he had designed for the city of San Francisco. (Various references give the date of this event as August first, but more recent research points to August second.)

In 1876, frontiersman “Wild Bill” Hickok was shot and killed while playing poker at a saloon in Deadwood, Dakota Territory.

In 1923, the 29th president of the United States, Warren G. Harding, died in San Francisco.

In 1934, German President Paul von Hindenburg died, paving the way for Adolf Hitler’s complete takeover.

In 1939, Albert Einstein signed a letter to President Roosevelt urging creation of an atomic weapons research program.

In 1943, during World War Two, Navy boat PT-109, commanded by Lieutenant John F. Kennedy, sank after being rammed by the Japanese destroyer Amagiri off the Solomon Islands.

In 1964, the Pentagon reported the first of two attacks on U-S destroyers by North Vietnamese torpedo boats in the Gulf of Tonkin.

In 1986, attorney Roy M. Cohn died at Bethesda Naval Hospital of cardiac arrest and complications from AIDS.

In 1990, Iraq invaded Kuwait, seizing control of the oil-rich emirate. (The Iraqis were later driven out in Operation Desert Storm.)

Ten years ago: Wall Street investors, worried about possible interest rate increases, roared their approval after the government reported that unemployment was creeping higher, consumer spending had slipped and manufacturing may have stalled.

Five years ago: The Yugoslav war crimes tribunal handed down its first conviction for genocide, finding a Bosnian Serb general (Radislav Krstic) guilty of the deaths of up to eight-thousand Muslims. (He’s serving a 35-year prison term.) Solid Democratic opposition sank President Bush’s nomination of Mary Sheila Gall to be chairwoman of the Consumer Product Safety Commission. Ron Townson, the centerpiece singer for the pop group the 5th Dimension, died in Las Vegas at age 68.

One year ago: An Air France jetliner from Paris skidded off a runway at Toronto’s Pearson International Airport and burst into flames; all 309 people aboard survived. President Bush signed a free trade pact with five Central American nations and the Dominican Republic. American freelance journalist Steven Vincent was found shot to death in Basra, Iraq, after being abducted by armed men. Seattle pitcher Ryan Franklin was suspended ten days for violating baseball’s policy on performance-enhancing drugs.

Today’s Birthdays: Former Senator Paul Laxalt (R-Nevada) is 84. Actor Peter O’Toole is 74. Country singer Hank Cochran is 71. Rock musician Garth Hudson (The Band) is 69. Movie director Wes Craven is 67. Singer Kathy Lennon (The Lennon Sisters) is 63. Actor Max Wright is 63. Actress Joanna Cassidy is 61. Actress Kathryn Harrold is 56. Singer Andrew Gold is 55. Actor Butch Patrick (“The Munsters”) is 53. Singer Mojo Nixon is 49. Actress Victoria Jackson is 47. Actress Apollonia is 47. Actress Cynthia Stevenson is 44. Actress Mary-Louise Parker is 42. Rock musician John Stanier is 38. Writer-actor-director Kevin Smith is 36. Actor Edward Furlong is 29. Rock musician Devon Glenn (Buckcherry) is 26. Actress Hallie Eisenberg is 14.

Thought for Today
“A beautiful soul has no other merit than its own existence.” -- Friedrich von Schiller, German author (1759-1805).

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