— Today is Thursday, March 21, the 80th day of 2013. There are 285 days left in the year.
Today's Highlight in History:
On March 21, 1963, the Alcatraz federal prison island in San Francisco Bay was emptied of its last inmates and closed at the order of Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy.
On this date:
Ten years ago: The United States launched a ferocious, around-the-clock aerial assault on military targets in Baghdad and other cities. The House approved a $2.2 trillion budget embracing President George W. Bush's tax-cutting plan.
Five years ago: Officials admitted that at least four State Department workers had pried into the supposedly secure passport files of Hillary Rodham Clinton, Barack Obama and John McCain, prompting Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to personally apologize to the presidential contenders.
One year ago: A previously divided U.N. Security Council sent a strong and united message to the Syrian government and opposition to immediately implement proposals by international envoy Kofi Annan to end Syria's yearlong bloodshed. Meting out unprecedented punishment for a bounty system that targeted key opposing players, the NFL suspended New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton without pay for the coming season and indefinitely banned the team's former defensive coordinator; in addition to other sanctions, Commissioner Roger Goodell fined the Saints $500,000 and took away their second-round draft picks for the current year and the next.
Today's Birthdays: Violinist-conductor Joseph Silverstein is 81. Actress Kathleen Widdoes is 74. Actress Marie-Christine Barrault is 69. Singer-musician Rose Stone (Sly and the Family Stone) is 68. Actor Timothy Dalton is 67. Singer Eddie Money is 64. Rock singer-musician Roger Hodgson (Supertramp) is 63. Rock musician Conrad Lozano (Los Lobos) is 62. Rhythm-and-blues singer Russell Thompkins Jr. (The Stylistics) is 62. Comedy writer-performer Brad Hall is 55. Actress Sabrina LeBeauf is 55. Actor Gary Oldman is 55. Actor Matthew Broderick is 51. Comedian-talk show host Rosie O'Donnell is 51. Rock musician Jonas "Joker" Berggren (Ace of Base) is 46. Rock MC Maxim (Prodigy) is 46. Rock musician Andrew Copeland (Sister Hazel) is 45. Hip-hop DJ Premier (Gang Starr) is 44. Actress Laura Allen is 39. Rapper-TV personality Kevin Federline is 35.
Thought for Today: "History is principally the inaccurate narration of events which ought not to have happened." — Ernest Albert Hooten, American anthropologist (1887-1954).