Today is Wednesday, Oct. 22, the 296th day of 2008 with 70 to follow.
The moon is waning. The morning stars are Saturn and Mercury. The evening stars are Mars, Venus, Neptune, Jupiter and Uranus.
Those born on this date are under the sign of Libra. They include Hungarian composer Franz Liszt in 1811; actresses Sarah Bernhardt in 1844 and Joan Fontaine in 1917 (age 91); comic actor Curly Howard of "The Three Stooges" in 1903; English author Doris Lessing, winner of the 2007 Nobel Prize for literature, in 1919 (age 88); psychologist and LSD advocate Timothy Leary in 1920; artist Robert Rauschenberg in 1925; actors Derek Jacobi and Christopher Lloyd, both in 1938 (age 70), Annette Funicello in 1942 (age 66), Catherine Deneuve in 1943 (age 65) and Jeff Goldblum in 1952 (age 56); and champion skater Brian Boitano in 1963 (age 45).
On this date in history:
In 1797, the first parachute jump was made by Andre-Jacques Garnerin, who dropped from a height of about 6,500 feet over a Paris park.
In 1836, Gen. Sam Houston was sworn in as the first president of the Republic of Texas.
In 1938, inventor Charles Carlson produced the first dry, or xerographic, copy, but had trouble attracting investors.
In 1962, U.S. President John Kennedy announced that Soviet missiles had been deployed in Cuba and ordered a blockade of the island.
In 1966, The Supremes became the first all-female group to score a No. 1 album, with "Supremes a Go-Go."
In 1978, Pope John Paul II was installed as pontiff of the Roman Catholic Church.
In 1990, U.S. President George H.W. Bush vetoed the Civil Rights Act of 1990, saying it would lead to a quota system.
In 1991, Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir warned that Israel would refuse to negotiate with any Palestinians who claimed alliance to the PLO.
In 1992, pioneer sportscaster Red Barber died at age 84.
In 2001, anthrax spores were found in a mail-opening machine serving the White House. Preliminary tests on 120 workers who sort mail for the executive mansion were negative.
Also in 2001, the Pentagon announced nearly 200 U.S. jets struck Taliban and al-Qaida communications facilities, barracks and training camps and disputed Taliban claims that 100 civilians died when a bomb hit a hospital in western Afghanistan.
And in 2001, an estimated 500 people were killed when the Nigerian army attacked villages throughout the eastern state of Benue.
In 2003, a poll showed 59 percent of Palestinians wanted attacks against Israel to continue even if Israel leaves the West Bank and Gaza.
Also in 2004, rescuers confirmed 64 dead following an explosion in a central China coal mine. Eighty-four miners were missing in the toxic gas-filled shaft.
In 2005, Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai ordered an investigation into the reported desecration of bodies by U.S. troops said to be captured on tape by a TV crew.
In 2006, despite stepping up operations, the U.S. military admitted that insurgency attacks in Baghdad continued to rise.
In 2007, thousands of people around San Diego and Los Angeles fled their homes as wind-fanned wildfires turned deadly and frustrated firefighters.
Also in 2007, U.S. President George Bush formally asked Congress for $46 billion in emergency funding for the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. That's in addition to the nearly $145 billion in his original budget for next year.
A thought for the day: of the existence of God, Clarence Darrow said, "I do not consider it an insult, but rather a compliment to be called an agnostic. I do not pretend to know where many ignorant men are sure -- that is all that agnosticism means."