Today is Sunday, Sept. 21, the 264th day of 2003 with 101 to follow.
The moon is waning. The morning stars are Mercury, Jupiter and Saturn. The evening stars are Mars, Pluto, Venus, Uranus and Neptune.
Those born on this date are under the sign of Virgo. They include Louis Joliet, French-Canadian explorer of the Mississippi River, in 1645; author and historian H.G. Wells in 1866; composer Gustav Holst in 1874; British publisher Sir Allen Lane, who first introduced the low-priced paperback book, in 1902; Animator Chuck Jones (Bugs Bunny, Wile E. Coyote and the Roadrunner) in 1912; actors Larry Hagman in 1931 (age 72) and Henry Gibson in 1935 (age 67); comedian Fanny Flagg in 1944 (age 59); author Stephen King in 1947 (age 56); comedian Bill Murray in 1950 (age 53); Ethan Coen, one of the filmmaking Coen brothers, in 1957 (age 46); actors Nancy Travis in 1961 (age 42) and Rob Morrow in 1962 (age 41); and actress-turned-talk show host Ricki Lake in 1968 (age 35).
On this date in history:
In 1792, the Legislative Assembly of revolutionary France voted to abolish the monarchy and establish the First Republic, stripping King Louis XVI of most of his power.
In 1893, the first successful American-made, gasoline-operated motorcar appeared on the streets of Springfield, Mass. It was designed and built by Charles and Frank Duryea.
In 1921, following the sex scandal caused by the arrest of comedian Fatty Arbuckle, Universal announced it would require its actors to sign a "morality clause" in their contracts.
In 1938, an estimated 600 people were killed by a hurricane that battered the coast of New England.
In 1977, President Carter defended budget director Bert Lance as he announced Lance's resignation. Lance had been accused of a series of illegal acts in banking.
In 1985, Western intelligence estimates said the Iran-Iraq war in five years had cost nearly one million lives.
In 1991, Armenia became the 12th Soviet republic to declare independence.
In 1993, Russian President Boris Yeltsin suspended the parliament and announced parliamentary elections would be held in December.
In 1996, President Clinton signed into law the Defense of Marriage Act, which allows states to disregard "same sex marriages" that might be official in other places.
In 1998, President Clinton's videotaped grand jury testimony, during which he admitted to an inappropriate relationship with former White House intern Monica Lewinsky, was shown on television. It ran more than four hours.
Also in 1998, Hurricane Georges began its deadly rampage through the Caribbean, killing more than 600 people.
In 1999, at least 2,300 people were killed when an earthquake measuring 7.6 on the Richter scale struck Taiwan.
In 2001, a telecast by top movie stars and musicians raised more than $500 million for survivors of the victims of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
In 2002, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon reportedly told the Bush administration Israel would strike back if attacked by Iraq. Israel made no response to Iraqi Scud missile attacks during the Persian Gulf War.
A thought for the day: Greek philosopher Epicurus said, "Freedom is the greatest fruit of self-sufficiency."