Today is Friday, Dec. 12, the 346th day of 2003 with 19 to follow.
The moon is waning. The morning stars are Jupiter, Saturn and Pluto. The evening stars are Venus, Mars, Mercury, Neptune and Uranus.
Those born on this date are under the sign of Sagittarius. They include John Jay, first chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, in 1745; abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison in 1805; French novelist Gustave Flaubert in 1821; Norwegian painter Edvard Munch in 1863; actor Edward G. Robinson in 1893; singer/actor Frank Sinatra in 1915; TV game show host Bob Barker in 1923 (age 80); former New York Mayor Edward Koch in 1924 (age 79); singers Connie Francis in 1938 (age 65) and Dionne Warwick in 1941 (age 62); talk show host Rush Limbaugh in 1951 (age 52); former Olympic gymnast Cathy Rigby in 1952 (age 51); musician Sheila E in 1959 (age 44); former tennis player Tracy Austin in 1962 (age 43); and actress Mayim Bialik in 1975 (age 28).
On this date in history:
In 1870, Joseph Hayne Rainey of South Carolina was sworn in as the first black to serve in the U.S. House.
In 1901, Italian physicist and radio pioneer Guglielmo Marconi sent the first radio transmission across the Atlantic Ocean.
In 1913, two years after it was stolen from the Louvre Museum in Paris, Leonardo da Vinci's masterpiece "The Mona Lisa" was recovered in a Florence, Italy, hotel room.
In 1917, Father Edward J. Flanagan, a 31-year-old Irish priest, opened the doors to Boys Town, a home for troubled and neglected children in Omaha, Neb. He lived by the adage, "There is no such thing as a bad boy."
In 1937, Japanese planes bombed and sank the U.S. gunboat Panay in the Yangtze River north of Nanking, China. Japan later said it was a mistake.
In 1968, stage and screen actress Tallulah Bankhead died at the age of 65.
In 1975, Sara Jane Moore said she willfully tried to kill President Ford. She is serving a life prison sentence.
In 1981, martial law was imposed in Poland.
In 1985, the crash of an Arrow Air DC-8 military charter on takeoff from Gander, Newfoundland, killed all 256 aboard, including 248 U.S. soldiers.
In 1989, five Central American presidents, including Nicaragua's Daniel Ortega, called for an end to the rebel offensive against El Salvador's U.S.-backed government.
In 1990, 15 people were killed and more than 260 injured in a pileup on a foggy Tennessee highway.
In 1991, the Russian parliament ratified a commonwealth treaty linking the three strongest Soviet republics in the nation's most profound change since the 1917 revolution.
Also in 1991, North and South Korea concluded an historic agreement to reunify peacefully after 46 years of division and animosity.
In 1993, Russian voters approved a new Constitution.
In 1996, a French gunman took 35 hostages in a Paris office. The standoff ended without injuries.
In 1998, President Clinton began a trip to the Middle East that included a visit to the new Gaza International Airport in Palestinian territory.
In 2002, North Korea announced it would reactivate a nuclear reactor idle since 1994.
Also in 2002, the European Union invited 10 nations, including Poland and Hungary, to join its ranks in 2004.
A thought for the day: Leon Blum wrote, "I have often thought morality may perhaps consist solely in the courage of making a choice."