Today is Thursday, Aug. 5, the 218th day of 2004. There are 148 days left in the year.

Today's Highlight in History:

On Aug. 5, 1864, during the Civil War, Union Adm. David G. Farragut is said to have ordered, "Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!" as he led his fleet against Mobile Bay, Ala.

On this date:

In 1884, the cornerstone for the Statue of Liberty was laid on Bedloe's Island in New York Harbor.

In 1914, the first electric traffic lights were installed, in Cleveland, Ohio.

In 1924, the comic strip "Little Orphan Annie," by Harold Gray, made its debut.

In 1953, Operation Big Switch was under way as prisoners taken during the Korean conflict were exchanged at Panmunjom.

In 1957, "American Bandstand," hosted by Dick Clark, made its network debut on ABC.

In 1962, actress Marilyn Monroe, 36, was found dead in her Los Angeles home; her death was ruled a probable suicide from an overdose of sleeping pills.

In 1963, the United States, Britain and the Soviet Union signed a treaty in Moscow banning nuclear tests in the atmosphere, in space and underwater.

In 1981, the federal government began firing air traffic controllers who had gone out on strike.

In 1984, actor Richard Burton died at a hospital in Geneva, Switzerland, at the age of 58.

In 2000, actor Sir Alec Guinness died at a southern England hospital at age 86.

Ten years ago: A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington chose Kenneth W. Starr to take over the Whitewater investigation from Robert Fiske.

Five years ago: Republicans overcame solid Democratic opposition to narrowly win passage of a 10-year, $792 billion dollar tax cut, first in the House, then in the Senate; President Clinton denounced the bill and promised a veto. Richard Holbrooke won Senate confirmation as U.N. ambassador after a grueling 14-month battle. Mark McGwire became the 16th member of the 500-home run club, hitting two homers - numbers 500 and 501 - in the St. Louis Cardinals' loss to San Diego.

One year ago: Episcopal leaders in Minneapolis voted to approve the election of the Rev. V. Gene Robinson, an openly gay clergyman, as bishop of the Diocese of New Hampshire. A car bombing at the Marriott hotel in Jakarta, Indonesia, killed 12 people.

Today's Birthdays: Former astronaut Neil A. Armstrong is 74. Country singer Vern Gosdin is 70. Actress Cammie King ("Gone with the Wind") is 70. Actor John Saxon is 69. Actor Zakes Mokae is 69. Country songwriter Bobby Braddock is 64. Country singer Sammi Smith is 61. Actress Loni Anderson is 58. Actress Erika Slezak is 58. Rock singer Rick Derringer is 57. Actress Holly Palance is 54. Singer Samantha Sang is 51. Actress-singer Maureen McCormick is 48. Rock musician Pat Smear is 45. Actress Tawney Kitaen is 43. Country musician Mark O'Connor is 43. Rapper MCA (The Beastie Boys) is 40. Actor Jonathan Silverman is 38. Country singer Terri Clark is 36. Actor Brendon Ryan Barrett is 18.

Thought for Today: "I slept, and dreamed that life was Beauty; I woke, and found that life was Duty." - Ellen Sturgis Hooper, American poet (1816-1841).

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