Today is Thursday, June 19, the 171st day of 2008 with 195 to follow.
The moon is waning. The morning stars are Neptune, Mercury, Jupiter and Uranus. The evening stars are Venus, Mars and Saturn.
Those born on this date are under the sign of Gemini. They include James VI of Scotland, later James I of England, in 1566; French philosopher and mathematician Blaise Pascal in 1623; the Duchess of Windsor, born Bessie Wallis Warfield, in 1896; Moe Howard, leader of the "Three Stooges," in 1897; bandleader Guy Lombardo in 1902; baseball legend Lou Gehrig in 1903; former U.S. Sen. Alan Cranston, D-Calif., in 1914; film critic Pauline Kael in 1919; actresses Nancy Marchand in 1928 and Gena Rowlands in 1930 (age 78); author Salman Rushdie in 1947 (age 61); actress Phylicia Rashad in 1948 (age 60); singer Ann Wilson of Heart in 1950 (age 58); actress Kathleen Turner in 1954 (age 54); and singer Paula Abdul in 1962 (age 46).
On this date in history:
In A.D. 325, the early Christian church opened the general council of Nicaea, which settled on rules for computing the date of Easter.
In 1787, the U.S. Constitutional Convention voted to strike down the Articles of Confederation and form a new government.
In 1846, two amateur baseball teams played under new rules at Hoboken, N.J., planting the first seeds of organized baseball. The New York Nine beat the Knickerbockers, 23-1.
In 1856, the first Republican national convention ended in Philadelphia with the nomination of explorer John Charles Fremont of California for president. James Buchanan, a Federalist nominated by the Democrats, was elected.
In 1867, Austrian Archduke Ferdinand Maximilian, installed as emperor of Mexico by French Emperor Napoleon III in 1864, was executed on the orders of Benito Juarez, the president of the Mexican Republic.
Also in 1867, the first running of the Belmont Stakes took place at Jerome Park, N.Y.
In 1905, Pittsburgh showman Harry Davis opened the world's first nickelodeon, showing the silent Western film "The Great Train Robbery." The storefront theater boasted 96 seats and charged 5 cents and prompted the advent of movie houses across the nation.
In 1943, World War II's Battle of the Philippine Sea began, as Japan tried unsuccessfully to prevent further Allied advancement in the South Pacific.
In 1945, one of the most famous -- and funniest -- of all comedy sketches, Abbott and Costello's "Who's on first?" routine, made its movie debut in "The Naughty Nineties."
In 1953, convicted spies Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were executed.
In 1977, Elvis Presley made his final live concert recordings, at a series of appearances in Nebraska. He died two months later.
In 1987, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the 1981 Louisiana law that required schools to teach the creationist theory of human origin espoused by fundamentalist Christians.
In 1991, the U.N. Security Council unanimously approved a plan to prohibit the export of military supplies to Iraq.
In 2000, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that prayers led by students at public high school football games are not permitted under the constitutional separation of church and state.
In 2004, federal prosecutors planned to seek a grand jury indictment of former Enron Chairman Ken Lay on charges stemming from the energy giant's collapse in 2001, largest bankruptcy in U.S. history.
In 2005, a suicide bomber killed at least 23 people, including some Iraqi police officers, in a crowded Baghdad restaurant. The next day saw suicide car bombers kill a reported 26 policemen and security forces in Baghdad and Irbil.
Also in 2005, opponents of Syrian domination won a majority of seats in the final round of Lebanon's parliamentary elections.
In 2006, Japan threatened "severe action" if North Korea launches a long-range missile as it was believed preparing to do.
In 2007, 10,000 U.S. and 3,000 Iraqi troops launched a major offensive targeting the Sunni jihadist terrorist group known as al-Qaida in Iraq in Iraq's Baquba area.
A thought for the day: Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote of cheerfulness, "the more it is spent, the more of it remains."