Today is Thursday, Feb. 7, the 38th day of 2013. There are 327 days left in the year.
Today's Highlight in History:
On Feb. 7, 1943, during World War II, the government abruptly announced that rationing of shoes made with leather would go into effect in two days, limiting consumers to buying three pairs per person per year. (Rationing was lifted in October 1945.)
On this date:
In 1795, the 11th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, dealing with states' sovereign immunity, was ratified.
In 1812, author Charles Dickens was born in Landport, Portsmouth, England.
In 1857, a French court acquitted author Gustave Flaubert of obscenity for his serialized novel "Madame Bovary."
In 1863, the British Royal Navy corvette HMS Orpheus struck a sandbar and sank off the coast of New Zealand, killing 189 out of the 259 men on board.
In 1904, a fire began in Baltimore that raged for about 30 hours and destroyed more than 1,500 buildings.
In 1936, President Franklin D. Roosevelt authorized a flag for the office of the vice president.
In 1948, Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower resigned as Army chief of staff; he was succeeded by Gen. Omar Bradley.
In 1962, President John F. Kennedy imposed a full trade embargo on Cuba.
In 1971, women in Switzerland gained the right to vote through a national referendum, 12 years after a previous attempt failed.
In 1983, Elizabeth H. Dole was sworn in as the first female secretary of transportation by the first woman to sit on the Supreme Court, Justice Sandra Day O'Connor.
In 1984, space shuttle Challenger astronauts Bruce McCandless II and Robert L. Stewart went on the first untethered space walk, which lasted nearly six hours.
In 1999, Jordan's King Hussein died of cancer at age 63; he was succeeded by his eldest son, Abdullah.
Ten years ago: The government raised its terror threat level from yellow to "high risk" orange, warning of a growing possibility that al-Qaida would launch an attack against the United States to coincide with Muslim holy days. President George W. Bush courted the leaders of France and China in an uphill struggle to win U.N. backing for war with Iraq. Unidentified attackers bombed the exclusive El Nogal social club in Bogota, Colombia, killing 36 people and injuring 160 others. Tom Christerson, the longest-living recipient of a fully self-contained artificial heart, died at Jewish Hospital in Louisville, Ky., after 512 days on the AbioCor; he was 71.
Five years ago: John McCain effectively sealed the Republican presidential nomination as chief rival Mitt Romney suspended his campaign. Fourteen refinery workers were killed in a sugar dust explosion in Port Wentworth, Ga. A gunman opened fire at a Kirkwood, Mo., council meeting, killing three city officials and two police officers before being fatally shot by law enforcement. In Los Angeles, a man who claimed responsibility for the deaths of three relatives opened fire on a SWAT unit, killing one officer; the gunman was killed by a police sniper. After two months of delay, shuttle Atlantis blasted into orbit with Europe's gift to the international space station, a $2 billion science lab named Columbus.
One year ago: In a setback for Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum swept GOP caucuses in Minnesota and Colorado and a non-binding primary in Missouri. A federal appeals court ruled California's ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional, but gave gay marriage opponents time to appeal the decision before ordering the state to allow such weddings to resume.
Today's Birthdays: Author Gay Talese is 81. Former Sen. Herb Kohl, D-Wis., is 78. Actor Miguel Ferrer is 58. Reggae musician Brian Travers (UB40) is 54. Comedy writer Robert Smigel (SMY'-guhl) is 53. Actor James Spader is 53. Country singer Garth Brooks is 51. Rock musician David Bryan (Bon Jovi) is 51. Actor-comedian Eddie Izzard is 51. Actor-comedian Chris Rock is 48. Actor Jason Gedrick is 46. Actress Essence Atkins is 41. Rock singer-musician Wes Borland is 38. Rock musician Tom Blankenship (My Morning Jacket) is 35. Actor Ashton Kutcher is 35. Actress Tina Majorino is 28.
Thought for Today: "A cruel story runs on wheels, and every hand oils the wheels as they run." -- Ouida (Marie Louise de la Ramee), English writer (1839-1908).