Today is Friday, Nov. 21, the 325th day of 2003 with 40 to follow.
The moon is waning. The morning stars are Jupiter and Saturn. The evening stars are Mercury, Venus, Mars, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto.
Those born on this date are under the sign of Scorpio. They include French author Francois Voltaire in 1694; William Beaumont, pioneer American army surgeon, in 1785; British steamship company founder Samuel Cunard in 1787; jazz saxophonist Coleman Hawkins in 1904; dancer/actress Eleanor Powell in 1912 ; St. Louis Cardinals batting champion Stan Musial in 1920 (age 83); actor Lawrence Luckinbill in 1934 (age 69); actresses Juliet Mills in 1941 (age 62) and Marlo Thomas in 1943 (age 60); TV producer Marcy Carsey and filmmaker/actor Harold Ramis, both in 1944 (age 59); actresses Goldie Hawn in 1945 (age 58), Lorna Luft in 1952 (age 51), and Nicollette Sheridan in 1963 (age 40); and former Dallas Cowboys quarterback Troy Aikmann in 1966 (age 37).
On this date in history:
In 1783, in Paris, Jean de Rozier and the Marquis d'Arlandes made the first free-flight ascent in a balloon.
In 1800, Congress met for the first time in Washington, D.C.
in 1877, Thomas Edison announced his invention of the phonograph, a way to record and play back sound.
In 1938, Nazi forces occupied western Czechoslovakia and declared its people German citizens.
In 1974, Congress passed the Freedom of Information Act over President Ford's veto.
In 1985, Jonathan Jay Pollard, a civilian U.S. Nany intelligence analyst and Jewish American, was arrested on charges of illegally passing classified U.S. security information about Arab nations to Israel.
Also in 1985, President Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev ended a summit meeting in Switzerland. They promised acceleration of arms-reduction talks.
In 1991, President Bush signed the Civil Rights Act of 1991, making it easier for workers to sue in job discrimination cases.
In 1995, China jailed well-known dissident Wei Jing-sheng and charged him with trying to overthrow the government.
In 2001, a 94-year-old Connecticut woman became the nation's fifth anthrax victim, a death that mystified authorities since she rarely left home. Later it was discovered a family living a mile away had received a letter with anthrax residue on it.
In 2002, a new NATO was born as alliance leaders began the most radical transformation of the military bloc in its 53-year history. In addition to accepting membership applications from seven former communist states, NATO heads of state agreed to set up a 21,000-strong force of elite troops and upgrade military hardware to combat global terrorism.
Also in 2002, authorities questioned a senior leader of the al-Qaida terrorist network, a man believed to be the mastermind of the October 2000 attack on the USS Cole in the Yemen harbor.
And, in 2002, an earthquake with a 5.8 reading struck northern Pakistan, At least 25 people were killed.
A thought for the day: it was Voltaire who said, "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it."