Today is Friday, Dec. 12, the 347th day of 2008 with 19 to follow.
The moon is full. The morning stars are Saturn and Mars. The evening stars are Mercury, Venus, Jupiter, Uranus and Neptune.
Those born on this date are under the sign of Sagittarius. They include John Jay, first chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, in 1745; abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison in 1805; French novelist Gustave Flaubert in 1821; Norwegian painter Edvard Munch in 1863; actor Edward G. Robinson in 1893; singer/actor Frank Sinatra in 1915; TV game show host Bob Barker in 1923 (age 85); former New York Mayor Edward Koch in 1924 (age 84); singers Connie Francis in 1938 (age 70) and Dionne Warwick in 1940 (age 68); former Olympic gymnast Cathy Rigby in 1952 (age 56); musician Sheila E in 1957 (age 51), former tennis star Tracy Austin in 1962 (age 46); and actress Mayim Bialik in 1975 (age 33).
On this date in history:
In 1870, Joseph Hayne Rainey of South Carolina was sworn in as the first black to serve in the U.S. House of Representatives.
In 1901, Italian physicist and radio pioneer Guglielmo Marconi sent the first radio transmission across the Atlantic Ocean.
In 1913, two years after it was stolen from the Louvre Museum in Paris, Leonardo da Vinci's masterpiece "The Mona Lisa" was recovered in a Florence, Italy, hotel room.
In 1917, the Rev. Edward J. Flanagan, a 31-year-old Irish priest, opened the doors to Boys Town, a home for troubled and neglected children in Omaha. He lived by the adage, "There is no such thing as a bad boy."
In 1937, Japanese planes bombed and sank the U.S. gunboat Panay in the Yangtze River north of Nanking, China. Japan later said it was a mistake.
In 1968, stage and screen actress Tallulah Bankhead died at the age of 65.
In 1975, Sara Jane Moore said she willfully tried to kill U.S. President Gerald Ford. She was sentenced to life in prison.
In 1981, martial law was imposed in Poland.
In 1985, the crash of an Arrow Air DC-8 military charter on takeoff from Gander, Newfoundland, killed all 256 aboard, including 248 U.S. soldiers.
In 1989, five Central American presidents, including Nicaragua's Daniel Ortega, called for an end to the rebel offensive against El Salvador's U.S.-backed government.
In 1990, 15 people were killed and more than 260 injured in a pileup of vehicles on a foggy Tennessee highway.
In 1991, the Russian parliament ratified a commonwealth treaty linking the three strongest Soviet republics in the nation's most profound change since the 1917 revolution.
In 1992, Princess Anne, the only daughter of Queen Elizabeth II of Britain, became the first divorced royal in the inner circle to remarry when she wed Cmdr. Timothy Laurence.
In 2002, North Korea announced it would reactivate a nuclear reactor idle since 1994.
Also in 2002, the European Union invited 10 nations, including Poland and Hungary, to join its ranks in 2004.
In 2003, Paul Martin became Canada's 21st prime minister, succeeding Jean Chretien.
Also in 2003, armed men attacked military police near the Ivory Coast's national television station in Abidjan, leaving at least 19 people dead.
In 2004, the U.S. Defense Department reportedly held simulations to determine the effectiveness of an attack on Iran.
Also in 2004, seeking to head off a potential trade war with the United States and the European Union, China announced it would place tariffs on textile imports.
In 2005, Jibran Tueni, an anti-Syrian member of the Lebanese Parliament and head of a leading Lebanon newspaper, was assassinated when an explosion tore through his armored car outside Beirut.
In 2006, a Baghdad suicide bomber, luring the unemployed to his truck with promises of work, killed at least 60 people and injured 220 others.
Also in 2006, more than 1,000 federal agents raided Swift meatpacking plants in six states, arresting more than 1,200 undocumented workers in a 10-month probe into identity theft by illegal immigrants.
And, Elizabeth Bolden, reportedly the world's oldest person, died at a Memphis nursing home at the age of 116. She was born Aug. 15, 1890, to freed slaves.
In 2007, central banks in Europe and North America worked on plans to lend billions of dollars to the U.S. banking system in an effort to ease the credit crisis.
Also in 2007, nearly 30 people were killed and 150 wounded when three car bombs exploded in the southern Iraqi city of Amara.
And, Alberto Fujimori, the former president of Peru, was convicted of abuse of power and sentenced to six years in prison.
A thought for the day: Leon Blum wrote, "I have often thought morality may perhaps consist solely in the courage of making a choice."