Today is Saturday, Sept. 18, the 262nd day of 2004 with 104 to follow.
The moon is waxing. The morning stars are Mercury, Mars, Venus and Saturn. The evening stars are Jupiter, Pluto, Uranus and Neptune.
Those born on this date are under the sign of Virgo. They include English poet and lexicographer Samuel Johnson, writer of the first English dictionary, in 1709; U.S. Supreme Court Justice Joseph Story in 1779; French physicist Jean Foucault, inventor of the gyroscope, in 1819; actress Greta Garbo in 1905; actors Jack Warden in 1920 (age 84) and Robert Blake in 1934 (age 70); singer/actor Frankie Avalon in 1940 (age 64); former baseball player Ryne Sandberg in 1959 (age 46); actress Jada Pinkett Smith and champion cyclist Lance Armstrong in 1971 (age 33).
On this date in history:
In 1850, Congress passed the Fugitive Slave Act, allowing slave owners to reclaim slaves who escaped into another state.
In 1927, the Columbia Broadcasting System was born. Originally known as the Tiffany Network, its first program was an opera, "The King's Henchman."
In 1928, a hurricane that lashed Florida and the West Indies for five days left an estimated 4,000 people dead and $30 million in damage.
In 1961, United Nations Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjöld died when his plane crashed under mysterious circumstances near Ndola in Northern Rhodesia (now Zambia).
In 1970, rock star Jimi Hendrix died at the age of 28 following a drug overdose in London.
In 1983, British adventurer George Meegan finished a 19,021-mile, six-year walk from the tip of South America to the Arctic Ocean at Prudhoe Bay, Alaska.
In 1990, the International Olympic Committee awarded the 1996 Summer Olympics to Atlanta.
Also in 1990, S&L scandal figure Charles Keating was arrested.
In 1991, President Bush authorized U.S. warplanes to fly into Iraq to protect U.N. inspectors.
In 1992, Congress approved a bill providing aid to hurricane-stricken areas of Florida, Louisiana, Hawaii and Guam.
In 1994, a U.S. delegation headed by former President Carter persuaded Haiti's military leaders to step aside in favor of the democratically elected president after learning U.S. troops were en route to the Caribbean nation.
In 1996, the shuttle Atlantis docked with the Mir space station to pick up U.S. astronaut Dr. Shannon Lucid, who had set an American record for time spent in space.
Also in 1996, the doctors of Russian President Boris Yeltsin revealed he had a heart attack during his re-election campaign.
In 1998, the House Judiciary Committee voted along party lines to release the videotape of President Clinton's grand-jury testimony, during which he denied lying about his relationship with former White House intern Monica Lewinsky in a January deposition.
Also in 1998, the Senate failed to overturn President Clinton's veto of a bill prohibiting a late-term abortion procedure sometimes called a partial-birth abortion.
In 2001, Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat and Prime Minister Arial Sharon of Israel both ordered a halt of offensive actions and Israeli troops and tanks began pulling out of the areas around Jericho and Jenin.
In 2003, Hurricane Isabel, called by some experts "probably the worst storm in a generation," slammed into the North Carolina coast and plowed inland, eventually causing a reported 40 deaths and inflicting property damage estimated at $5 billion.
A thought for the day: American reformer Elizabeth Cady Stanton said, "The Bible and the Church have been the greatest stumbling blocks in the way of women's emancipation."