Today is Tuesday, Feb. 7, the 38th day of 2012. There are 328 days left in the year.
Today's Highlight in History:
On Feb. 7, 1812, author Charles Dickens, widely regarded as the greatest novelist of the Victorian era, was born in Landport, Portsmouth, England.
On this date:
In 1795, the Eleventh Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, dealing with states' sovereign immunity, was ratified.
In 1812, the last of three major New Madrid Earthquakes, with an estimated magnitude of 7.7 (according to the USGS), shook the central Mississippi River Valley.
In 1857, a French court acquitted author Gustave Flaubert of obscenity for his serialized novel "Madame Bovary."
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 1943, the government announced the start of shoe rationing, limiting consumers to buying three pairs per person for the remainder of the year.
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 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 1992, European Community members signed the Maastricht Treaty, which led to creation of the euro.
In 1999, Jordan's King Hussein died of cancer at age 63; he was succeeded by his eldest son, Abdullah.
Ten years ago: Former Enron chief executive Jeffrey Skilling insisted to skeptical members of Congress that he knew of nothing improper about the complex web of partnerships that had brought down the company. Authorities in Oklahoma captured the last two of four escaped prison inmates from Texas who'd been on the run for more than a week.
Five years ago: A Marine CH-46 Sea Knight helicopter was shot down by insurgents northwest of Baghdad, killing all seven people on board. The Food and Drug Administration approved alli ,a diet pill that can be bought without a prescription.
One year ago: Speaking to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, President Barack Obama echoed John F. Kennedy as he prodded business leaders to "ask yourselves what you can do for America," not just for company bottom lines. AOL Inc. announced the $315 million purchase of The Huffington Post website.
Today's Birthdays: Author Gay Talese is 80. Sen. Herb Kohl, D-Wis., is 77. Actor Miguel Ferrer is 57. Reggae musician Brian Travers (UB40) is 53. Comedy writer Robert Smigel is 52. Actor James Spader is 52. Country singer Garth Brooks is 50. Rock musician David Bryan (Bon Jovi) is 50. Actor-comedian Eddie Izzard is 50. Actor-comedian Chris Rock is 47. Actor Jason Gedrick is 45. Actress Essence Atkins is 40. Rock singer-musician Wes Borland is 37. Rock musician Tom Blankenship (My Morning Jacket) is 34. Actor Ashton Kutcher is 34. Actress Tina Majorino is 27.
Thought for Today: "A day wasted on others is not wasted on one's self." -- Charles Dickens (1812-1870).