Today is Saturday, Dec. 4, the 339th day of 2004 with 27 to follow.
The moon is waning. The morning stars are Jupiter, Saturn, Venus and Mars. The evening stars are Mercury, Pluto, Uranus and Neptune.
Those born on this date are under the sign of Sagittarius. They include Scottish historian Thomas Carlyle in 1795; English novelist Samuel Butler in 1835; actress/singer Lillian Russell in 1861; Spanish dictator Francisco Franco in 1892; Gregory "Pappy" Boyington in 1912; actress Deanna Durbin in 1921 (age 83); actors Max Baer Jr. in 1937 (age 67) and Jeff Bridges in 1949 (age 55); actresses Patricia Wettig in 1951 (age 53) and Marisa Tomei in 1964 (age 40); and model Tyra Banks in 1973 (age 31).
On this date in history:
In 1942, President Franklin D. Roosevelt ordered liquidation of the Works Progress Administration, created during the Depression to provide work for the unemployed.
In 1971, India joined East Pakistan in its war for independence from West Pakistan. East Pakistan became the republic of Bangladesh.
In 1991, former Lincoln Savings & Loan Association Dhairman Charles Keating was convicted on 17 counts of securities fraud.
Also in 1991, American Terry Anderson was freed by his pro-Iranian captors after 6 years. He was the last U.S. hostage held in the Middle East.
In 1992, President George H. Bush ordered U.S. troops into Somalia.
In 1995, officials of the United Auto Workers union called an end to a largely unsuccessful 17-month-long strike against Caterpiller in Peoria, Ill.
In 1996, Jonathan Schmitz was sentenced in the slaying of Scott Amedure, who had confessed to having a crush on Schmitz during the taping of "The Jenny Jones Show." The segment never aired.
In 1997, top health officials in Europe voted to ban most forms of advertising of tobacco beginning in four to five years.
In 1998, the space shuttle Endeavor blasted off, carrying into orbit a U.S. component of the International Space Station.
In 2002, a Roman Catholic priest was indicted on seven counts in a seven-month investigation of sex abuse allegations in the Catholic Diocese of Cleveland. Nine others faced charges in the case.
In 2003, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld flew to Afghanistan to meet with President Karzai and others amid reports of a growing number af attacks on U.S. forces.
A thought for the day: Scottish historian Thomas Carlyle said, "A well-written Life is almost as rare as a well-spent one."