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Today in history: March 17

Celebrity birthdays, highlights in history, plus more facts about this day
/ Source: The Associated Press

Today is Friday, March 17, the 76th day of 2006. There are 289 days left in the year. This is St. Patrick’s Day.

Today’s Highlight in History:
One hundred years ago, on March 17, 1906, President Theodore Roosevelt first used the term “muck-rake” as he criticized what he saw as the excesses of investigative journalism in a speech to the Gridiron Club in Washington.

On this date:
In A.D. 461, according to tradition, St. Patrick — the patron saint of Ireland — died in Saul.

In 1776, British forces evacuated Boston during the Revolutionary War.

In 1910, the Camp Fire Girls organization was formed. (It was formally presented to the public on this date two years later.)

In 1941, the National Gallery of Art opened in Washington, D.C.

In 1950, scientists at the University of California at Berkeley announced they had created a new radioactive element, “californium.”

In 1956, 50 years ago, comedian Fred Allen died in New York City at age 61.

In 1958, the U.S. Navy launched the Vanguard One satellite.

In 1966, a U.S. midget submarine located a missing hydrogen bomb which had fallen from an American bomber into the Mediterranean off Spain.

In 1969, Golda Meir became prime minister of Israel.

In 1992, 28 people were killed in the truck bombing of the Israeli embassy in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Ten years ago: In Dunblane, Scotland, Queen Elizabeth II came with flowers and sympathy, as residents paused in silence to mourn 16 murdered children and their teacher.

Five years ago: OPEC decided to curtail its official output by four percent, or 1 million barrels of oil a day, in an effort to halt a recent slide in oil prices, a decision the Bush administration called “disappointing.”

One year ago: Baseball players told Congress that steroids were a problem in the sport; stars Rafael Palmeiro and Sammy Sosa testified they hadn’t used them, while Mark McGwire refused to say whether he had. Rapper Lil’ Kim was convicted of lying to a grand jury about a shootout outside a New York radio station. (Lil’ Kim started serving her 366-day sentence just before her fourth album was released in September 2005.) Stephane Lambiel of Switzerland won the men’s title at the World Figure Skating Championships in Moscow. Diplomat and Pulitzer Prize-winning historian George F. Kennan died in Princeton, New Jersey, at age 101.

Today’s Birthdays: The former national chairwoman of the NAACP, Myrlie Evers-Williams, is 73. Rock musician Paul Kantner is 65. Singer-songwriter Jim Weatherly is 63. Singer-songwriter John Sebastian (The Lovin’ Spoonful) is 62. Rock musician Harold Brown (War) is 60. Actor Patrick Duffy is 57. Actor Kurt Russell is 55. Country singer Susie Allanson is 54. Actress Lesley-Anne Down is 52. Country singer Paul Overstreet is 51. Actor Gary Sinise is 51. Actress Vicki Lewis is 46. Actor Casey Siemaszko (sheh-MA’-zshko) is 45. Writer-director Rob Sitch is 44. Actor Rob Lowe is 42. Rock singer Billy Corgan is 39. Rock musician Van Conner (Screaming Trees) is 39. Actor Mathew St. Patrick (“Six Feet Under”) is 38. Actor Yanic Truesdale is 37. Rock musician Melissa Auf der Maur is 34. Rock musician Caroline Corr (The Corrs) is 33. Actress Marisa Coughlan is 32. Singer Stephen Gately is 30. Rapper Swifty (D12) is 29.

Thought for Today: “Television is a device that permits people who haven’t anything to do to watch people who can’t do anything.” — Fred Allen, American comedian (1894-1956).