Today is Sunday, Sept. 24, the 267th day of 2006 with 98 to follow.
The moon is waxing. The morning stars are Venus and Saturn. The evening stars are Mercury, Jupiter, Uranus, Neptune, Mars and Pluto.
Those born on this date are under the sign of Libra. They include novelist Horace Walpole in 1717; John Marshall, fourth chief justice of the United States, in 1755; French chemist Georges Claude, inventor of the neon lamp, in 1870; novelist F. Scott Fitzgerald in 1896; sports announcer Jim McKay in 1921 (age 85); actors/singers Sheila MacRae in 1924 (age 82) and Anthony Newley in 1931; Muppet creator Jim Henson in 1936; singer/photographer Linda Eastman McCartney, wife of former Beatle Paul McCartney, in 1941; actor Gordon Clapp ("NYPD Blue") in 1948 (age 58); comedian Phil Hartman in 1948; and actor Kevin Sorbo in 1958 (age 48).
On this date in history:
The Judiciary Act of 1789 was passed by Congress and signed by President George Washington, establishing the Supreme Court of the United States as a tribunal made up of six justices who were to serve on the court until death or retirement. The number of justices became nine in 1869.
In 1929, aviator James Doolittle demonstrated the first "blind" takeoff and landing, using only instruments to guide his aircraft.
In 1942, as World War II raged, popular bandleader Glenn Miller ended his long-running radio show and announced he was going into the U.S. Army.
In 1955, U.S. President Dwight Eisenhower suffered a heart attack while vacationing in Colorado.
In 1986, the U.S. Congress adopted the rose as the national flower.
In 1993, in an address at the United Nations, South African black leader Nelson Mandela called for the lifting of remaining international economic sanctions against South Africa.
In 1994, it was reported that CIA turncoat Aldrich Ames had exposed 55 secret U.S. and allied operations to the Soviet Union.
In 1996, Israel opened a second entrance to a tunnel used by archeologists at the Temple Mount, sacred to Muslims as well as Jews. The action sparked deadly rioting.
In 1997, following the slayings of hundreds of civilians in a series of incidents believed linked to upcoming elections and the long though sporadically fought civil war, the military wing of Algeria's principle Islamic opposition group called for a truce and ordered its guerrillas to "stop combat operations."
In 1998, Iran's foreign minister announced that Iran had dropped its 1989 call for the death of Salman Rushdie, author of "The Satanic Verses" which many Muslims found blasphemous.
In 2002, the Dow Jones industrial average fell 189.02 points and closed at 7,683.13, its lowest standing since October 1998.
Also in 2002, armed assailants killed 29 people and wounded 75 in an attack on a Hindu temple in Gandhinagar, India.
In 2003, a Gallup poll indicated that 67 percent of Baghdad residents polled said the removal of Saddam Hussein was worth the hardships they have endured.
In 2005, less than a month after Hurricane Katrina devastated wide areas of the Gulf Coast, Hurricane Rita came ashore near the Texas-Louisiana state line with another destructive but somewhat softer blow. Much of the area had been evacuated but immense rains and high winds created more problems and parts of New Orleans that had dried out were re-flooded.
A thought for the day: Muppet creator Jim Henson said: "The most sophisticated people I know -- inside they are all children."