Today is Thursday, Dec. 9, the 344th day of 2004 with 22 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 English poet John Milton in 1608; journalist Joel Chandler Harris, author of the "Uncle Remus" stories, in 1848; industrialist/inventor Clarence Birdseye in 1886; circus clown Emmett Kelly in 1898; bandleader Freddie Martin in 1906; actor Douglas Fairbanks Jr. in 1909; actor Broderick Crawford in 1911; former Speaker of the House Thomas "Tip" O'Neill in 1912; actor Kirk Douglas in 1918 (age 89); comedian Redd Foxx in 1922; actors Dina Merrill in 1925 (age 79), Dick Van Patten in 1928 (age 76), John Cassavetes in 1929, Judi Dench in 1934 (age 70), and Beau Bridges in 1941 (age 63); Pro Football Hall of Fame linebacker, sportscaster and actor Dick Butkus in 1942 (age 62); actors Michael Nouri in 1945 (age 59) and John Malkovich in 1953 (age 51); singer Donny Osmond in 1957 (age 47); and actor Joe Lando in 1961 (age 43).
On this date in history:
In 1907, the first Christmas Seals to raise money to fight tuberculosis went on sale in the post office in Wilmington, Del.
In 1920, the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to President Woodrow Wilson.
In 1958, in Indianapolis, retired Boston candy manufacturer Robert H. W. Welch, Jr., established the John Birch Society, a right-wing organization dedicated to fighting what it perceived to be the extensive infiltration of communism into American society.
In 1974, White House aide John Ehrlichman testified at the Watergate trial that President Nixon was responsible for the cover-up.
In 1985, OPEC oil ministers abandoned the struggle to control production and prices, setting the stage for a global oil price war.
In 1987, in the Israeli-occupied Gaza Strip, the first riots of the Palestinian intifada, or "shaking off" in Arabic, began one day after an Israeli truck crashed into a station wagon carrying Palestinian workers in the Jabalya refugee district of Gaza, killing four and wounding 10.
In 1990, Lech Walesa won Poland's first direct presidential vote.
In 1992, the U.S. Marines landed in famine-wracked Somalia to ensure the delivery of food and medicine.
In 1994, President Clinton fired U.S. Surgeon General Joycelyn Elders for reportedly suggesting that masturbation be taught in the schools.
In 1995, the board of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, known as NAACP, unanimously elected Kweisi Mfume its top executive officer.
In 2002, United Airlines, which said it was losing $22 million a day, filed for bankruptcy.
Also in 2002, President W. Bush chose Paul Snow to replace the resigned Paul O'Neill as treasury secretary,
In 2003, the U.S. Defense Department indicated that only nations that supported the United States in the war in Iraq would be allowed to bid on the $18.6 billion in contracts for reconstruction projects there.
A thought for the day: English poet John Milton wrote, "No man who know aught can be so stupid to deny that all men naturally were born free."