Today is Saturday, July 31, the 213rd day of 2004 with 153 to follow.
The moon is full. The morning stars are Venus, Uranus, Saturn and Neptune. The evening stars are Mercury, Jupiter, Mars and Pluto.
Those born on this date are under the sign of Leo. They include author and jurist James Kent in 1763; Confederate Army guerrilla leader William Quantrill, whose wartime raid on Lawrence, Kan., left some 150 people dead, in 1837; pollster Elmo Burns Roper Jr., in 1900; economist Milton Friedman and former TV talk-show host and columnist Irv Kupcinet, both in 1912 (age 92); actor Don Murray in 1929 (age 75); actress France Nuyen in 1939 (age 65) and Geraldine Chaplin in 1944 (age 60); singer Gary Lewis in 1946 (age 58); Australian tennis player Evonne Goolagong in 1951 (age 53); Bill Berry, guitarist for the rock band R.E.M., in 1958 (age 46); and actors Wesley Snipes in 1962 (age 42) and Dean Cain ("Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman") in 1966 (age 38).
On this date in history:
In 1498, on his third voyage to the New World, Christopher Columbus discovered the island of Trinidad.
In 1556 Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Jesuit order of Roman Catholic missionaries and educators, died in Rome.
In 1792, director David Rittenhouse laid the cornerstone in Philadelphia for the United States Mint, the first building of the federal government.
In 1964, Ranger 7, an unmanned U.S. lunar probe, took the first close-up images of the moon.
In 1972, Sen. Thomas Eagleton, D-Mo., withdrew as the Democratic vice-presidential nominee, six days after disclosing previous hospitalization and psychiatric treatment.
In 1974, Watergate figure John Ehrlichman was sentenced to 20 months in prison for his role in the break-in at the office of Daniel Ellsberg's psychiatrist. Ellsburg was the Pentagon consultant who leaked the "Pentagon Papers," documents about the war in Vietnam.
In 1991, the Senate overturned a 43-year-old law and voted to allow women to fly military warplanes in combat.
In 1992, all aboard were killed when a Thai Airways jetliner carrying more than 100 people, including 11 Americans, crashed in bad weather in Nepal.
In 1995, the Walt Disney Co. announced it was buying Capital Cities/ABC for $19 billion.
In 1997, Congress gave final approval to legislation that would balance the federal budget by 2002.
In 2001, despite talks of a peace framework between Israel and the Palestinians, July had been a month of death on both sides, winding up with a July 31 Israeli helicopter missile attack on offices of the militant Hamas group in Nablus on the West Bank in which eight people, including two small boys, were killed.
In 2002, the Commerce Department estimated economic growth in the second quarter at a meager 1.1 percent, indicating the recession of 2001 was worse than originally estimated.
Also in 2002, Alimzan Tokhtakhounov, a reputed Russian crime figure, was arrested at his resort in Italy on charges he tried to fix two ice skating events at the St. Lake City Olympic Games.
In 2003, North Korea reversed its long-standing opposition to multilateral talks on its nuclear weapons program. President George W. Bush said he is optimistic that such talks will lead to a peaceful end to North Korea's nuclear program.
A thought for the day: Alexander Dumas the Younger said, "Business? It's quite simple. It's other people's money."