This is Tuesday, July 4, the 185th day of 2006 with 180 to follow.
This is Independence Day in the United States.
The moon is waxing. The morning stars are Venus, Uranus and Neptune. The evening stars are Mercury, Jupiter, Mars, Saturn and Pluto.
Those born on this date are under the sign of Cancer. They include author Nathaniel Hawthorne in 1804; songwriter Stephen Foster ("Oh! Susannah," "Beautiful Dreamer") in 1826; circus operator James Bailey in 1847; Calvin Coolidge, 30th president of the United States, in 1872; innovative cartoonist Rube Goldberg in 1883; Louis B. Mayer, film mogul and co-founder of MGM, in 1885; actor/politician George Murphy in 1902; conductor Mitch Miller in 1911 (age 95); Ann Landers, advice columnist, in 1918; her twin, also an advice columnist, Abigail Van Buren in 1918 (age 88); former hotel executive Leona Helmsley in 1920 (age 86); actress Eva Marie Saint in 1924 (age 82); playwright Neil Simon in 1927 (age 79); actress Gina Lollobrigida in 1928 (age 78); Al Davis, Oakland Raiders owner, in 1929 (age 77); New York Yankees owner George Steinbrenner in 1930 (age 76); TV reporter Geraldo Rivera in 1943 (age 63); and former tennis player Pam Shriver in 1962 (age 44).
On this date in history:
In 1776, the Continental Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence, proclaiming U.S. independence from Britain.
In 1863, Union troops defeated Confederate forces in a battle at Vicksburg, Miss.
In 1895, the poem "America the Beautiful," by Wellesley College Professor Katherine Lee Bates, was first published.
In 1914, director D.W. Griffith began filming his controversial film "Birth of a Nation," which introduced important new filmmaking techniques and influenced many later directors.
In 1986, more than 250 sailing ships and the United States' biggest fireworks display honored the Statue of Liberty in its 100th birthday year.
In 1994, French forces in Rwanda established a security zone for refugees.
In 1995, the British Parliament reconfirmed John Majors as prime minister.
In 1997, NASA's Pathfinder landed on Mars to become the first U.S. spacecraft to land on the red planet in more than two decades.
Also in 1997, Mexico's top drug lord died in a Mexico City hospital following plastic surgery to change his appearance.
In 1999, top-seeded Pete Sampras won his sixth Wimbledon men's singles title, defeating fellow American Andre Agassi.
In 2002, with the nation on alert for a possible terrorist attack, a gunman killed two people at the Los Angeles International Airport near a ticket counter of El Al, the Israeli airliner, before he was killed by a guard.
In 2003, with the lack of international markets after a lone case of mad cow disease, Canadian beef prices in grocery stores fell to as low as 75 cents a pound.
Also in 2003, three attackers killed 50 people and injured dozens of others when they opened fire at a Shiite mosque in Quetta, Pakistan.
In 2004, the U.S. government said the total of new non-farm jobs in the past year had reached 1.5 million and the unemployment rate had dropped from 6.1 percent to 5.6 percent.
In 2005, NASA's "Deep Impact" spacecraft wound up an 85-million-mile journey by intentionally slamming into the Tempel 1 comet to learn more about comets and other aspects of the solar system.
A thought for the day: U.S. President Calvin Coolidge reportedly said, "If you don't say anything, you won't be called upon to repeat it."