The moon is waxing, in its first quarter.
The morning stars are Mercury, Neptune, Uranus and Saturn.
The evening star is Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Pluto.
Those born on this date are under the sign of Cancer. They include Dutch painter Rembrandt van Rijn, in 1606; poet Clement Clark Moore, author of "A Visit from St. Nicholas" ("'Twas the Night Before Christmas,") in 1779; Roman Catholic nun Frances Xavier Cabrini, the first U.S. citizen to be made a saint, in 1850; lyricist Dorothy Fields in 1905; Irish author Iris Murdoch in 1915; actors Alex Karras and Ken Kercheval, both in 1935 (age 67), and Jan-Michael Vincent in 1944 (age 58); singer Linda Ronstadt in 1946 (age 56); former pro wrestler and current Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura, in 1951 (age 51); and actors Forest Whitaker in 1961 (age 41) and Brian Austin Green ("Beverly Hills 90210") in 1973 (age 29).
On this date in history:
In 1806, Zebulon Pike began an expedition to explore the American Southwest.
In 1912, led by all-round athlete Jim Thorpe, the United States team took more medals than any other nation at the Olympic Games in Stockholm, Sweden. Thorpe, however, had to give back his two gold medals when it was learned he had played semi-pro baseball. The medals were restored years after his death following a long campaign on his behalf.
In 1945, Italy declared war on its former Axis partner, Japan.
In 1965, the unmanned spacecraft Mariner 4 passed over Mars at an altitude of 6,000 feet and sent back to Earth the first close-up images of the red planet.
In 1968, a Soviet Aeroflot jetliner landed at New York's JFK Airport, marking the beginning of direct commercial flights between the United States and Soviet Union.
In 1971, President Nixon disclosed plans to make an unprecedented visit to the People's Republic of China. He made the historic trip in February 1972.
In 1986, Britain and the Soviet Union settled accounts on $75 million in bonds that were issued under Russia's czars and defaulted on after the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution. The settlement ended a 60-year financial dispute.
In 1987, former National Security Adviser John Poindexter told the Iran-Contra congressional panels he personally authorized the transfer of Iran arms sale profits to the Nicaraguan rebels.
In 1991, a former POW released a photograph showing three U.S. servicemen, missing in Southeast Asia since the Vietnam War, holding a sign dated May 25, 1990.
In 1992, the Democratic National Convention nominated Arkansas Gov. Bill Clinton as its presidential candidate.
Also in 1992, Pope John Paul II underwent surgery to remove what doctors said was benign tumor the "size of orange" in his colon.
In 1996, Russian President Boris Yeltsin missed an appointment with Vice President Gore. They met the next day, but Yeltsin was ill and rumors began circulating that he was dying.
In 1997, Italian fashion designer Gianni Versace was shot to death in front of his Miami mansion. The prime suspect was Andrew Cunanan, already wanted in four other murders committed in the Midwest and East since April. Cunanan was found dead a week later, apparently by his own hand.
In 1999, Texas Gov. George W. Bush announced he would not accept matching federal funds for his Republican presidential bid, thus freeing him from spending caps under the law. Bush had already raised more money than any previous candidate for a presidential nomination.
A thought for the day: Remy de Gourmont wrote, "Art is the accomplice of love. Take love away and there is no longer art."
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