Today is Thursday, Nov. 20, the 325th day of 2008 with 41 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 Scorpio. They include botanist John Merle Coulter in 1851; Norman Thomas, six times the Socialist Party candidate for U.S. president, in 1884; "Dick Tracy" creator Chester Gould in 1900; TV commentator Alistair Cooke, in 1908; singer/actress Judy Canova in 1916; actress Gene Tierney in 1920; U.S. Sen. Robert F. Kennedy in 1925; actresses Kaye Ballard in 1926 (age 82) and Estelle Parsons in 1927 (age 81); actor/TV game show host Richard Dawson in 1932 (age 76); comedian Dick Smothers in 1939 (age 69) and actors Veronica Hamel in 1943 (age 65); Richard Masur in 1948 (age 60), Bo Derek in 1956 (age 52), Sean Young in 1959 (age 49) and Ming-Na ("ER") in 1963 (age 45).
On this date in history:
In 1272, Edward I was proclaimed King of England.
In 1780, Britain declared war on Holland.
In 1789, New Jersey became the first state to ratify the Bill of Rights.
In 1943, the Battle of Tarawa-Makin, marking the beginning of the U.S. World War II offensive against Japan in the Central Pacific, began.
In 1945, 24 German leaders went on trial at Nuremberg before the International War Crimes Tribunal.
In 1947, Princess Elizabeth, the future Queen Elizabeth II of England, married Philip Mountbatten.
In 1975, Generalissimo Francisco Franco of Spain died.
In 1982, U.S. President Ronald Reagan announced U.S. Marines would go to Lebanon to assist in the evacuation of PLO fighters.
In 1986, the World Health Organization announced a coordinated global effort against the disease AIDS.
In 1991, the United States provided $1.5 billion in food and technical assistance to the Soviet Union, about half of what was requested.
In 1992, fire erupted at Windsor Castle, Queen Elizabeth's official residence west of London, causing much damage. The queen and Prince Andrew pitched in to help save priceless artworks and other valuables housed in the castle.
In 1993, the U.S. Senate approved the North American Free Trade Agreement.
In 2002, on the eve of the NATO summit, U.S. President George W. Bush called for a "coalition of the willing," to help the United States disarm Iraq if necessary.
In 2003, 27 people were reported killed in Istanbul in two blasts that targeted a U.K. bank and the British consulate. Another 400 were wounded.
Also in 2003, Michael Jackson was released on bail after being booked on charges he molested a 12-year-old boy who had visited the pop superstar at his California ranch.
In 2004, Palestinians began a formal search for a successor to Yasser Arafat. The next president of the Palestinian Authority was to be chosen in a Jan. 9 election.
In 2005, U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld ruled out an immediate withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq, saying such a move would further endanger the United States.
Also in 2005, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez led a protest of thousands in Caracas against U.S. President George Bush's proposed Free Trade Area of the Americas.
In 2006, the News Corp. canceled publication of O.J. Simpson's book about the killing of his ex-wife and her friend, "If I Did It, Here's How It Happened," and a subsequent Fox TV special. Fox Chairman Rupert Murdoch called the project "ill-considered."
In 2007, Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf released 3,400 people jailed under emergency rule but gave no indication as to when martial law would be lifted.
Also in 2007, Ian Smith, the former Rhodesian prime minister who led his South African white-minority government through a violence-wracked era until the end of white rule in 1979, died at 88 after a long illness.
A thought for the day: Raymond Carver said, "Maybe I just don't understand poetry. I admit it's not the first thing I reach for when I pick up something to read."